Health

New Smartphone App Helps Recovering Alcoholics Stay Sober

| by Jonathan Wolfe

Alcoholism is one of the biggest public health concerns in America. In the United States alone, roughly 15 million people suffer from alcohol dependence or abuse. It’s an incredibly tough addiction to kick, too. An estimated 90% of alcoholics who attend rehab will experience at least one relapse in the four years following their treatment.

A team of researchers and web developers from the University of Wisconsin is trying to change that.

The researchers have developed a smartphone app call A-CHESS, an app that they say works as “a relapse prevention system.”

The app contains a host of features designed to prevent alcohol-dependant individuals from relapsing, including relaxation tracks, a social network of other recovering alcoholics, and an alert system that lets loved ones know when they are near an establshment serving alcohol. The app is linked with a patient care program used by rehab counselors that lets counselors track a patient’s progress, set up future goals, and talk to their patients in real time during critical times.

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In a recent study published in the JAMA Psychiatry Network, the app proved helpful to recovering addicts in a number of ways. Patients using the app had roughly half as many risky drinking days and were more likely to abstain from alcohol all together than people not using the app. Overall, the journal concluded that the app provided “significant benefit to patients in continuing care for alcohol use disorders.”

The University of Wisconsin plans to release the app to the public in early July.

Sources: JAMA Psychiatry, Alcoholism Statistics