Mobile app to support those who want to reduce their alcohol consumption – Medical Xpress | Hot Mobile Press

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Examples of screenshots extracted from the Drinks:Ration app. Recognition: JMIR mHealth and uHealth (2022). DOI: 10.2196/38991

A new smartphone app, released to the public today, has proven successful in helping British veterans cut down on alcohol consumption.

The 28-day short-term alcohol intervention app was tested on more than 120 UK veterans in a study funded by Forces in Mind Trust.

After using the Drinks:Ration app, veterans consumed 28 units less alcohol (about 9 pints of standard British beer) over a week than before, compared to a control group who only received government advice on alcohol consumption, who consumed 10.5 less units of alcohol.

The app, developed by researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London, led by Dr. Developed by Daniel Leightley and supported by Lancaster University and the national mental health charity Combat Stress, it aims to help people track their alcohol use.

Previous research has shown that alcohol abuse is higher in the UK armed forces than in the general population and that this persists after an individual has left the service, particularly for those seeking help with a mental illness. There is currently no app in the UK designed to help the UK Armed Forces community manage the amount of alcohol they drink.

The app aims to motivate individual users to drink and encourage positive behavioral change using personalized messaging and data-driven infographics. The app is also designed to target more short-term effects of alcohol, such as: B. the impact on relationships or finances, and to provide daily personalized messages. Most of the users participating in this study were recruited by Combat Stress and likely had depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Following this successful test, the UK MoD, led by Surgeon Commander Kate King, will test the Drinks:Ration app to assess its use and benefit to the serving community. The process is scheduled to begin later this year.

“Our study showed that the Drinks:Ration app was effective in reducing alcohol abuse among veterans seeking help over the medium term. This could make them a valuable tool for the armed forces community while they await treatment and support. This digital intervention could offer a novel, low-cost alternative to traditional help-seeking and be just as effective as in-person interventions. I am delighted that the UK MoD will be conducting a trial of the app with the serving community,” says Dr Daniel Leightley, Principal Researcher at IoPPN, King’s College London.

“Our research shows that the Drinks:Ration app helped veterans make positive changes in their drinking habits. We look forward to this app being rolled out more broadly to support the veteran community,” said Prof. Dominic Murphy, Research Director at Combat Betonen.

“We know from our research that veterans with a mental health problem often drink heavily at the same time, but this group can find it difficult to access the support they need. This study has highlighted the positive benefits of providing digital support and how it could help reduce alcohol consumption among veterans with co-occurring problems,” says Dr Laura Goodwin, Associate Professor of Mental Health at Lancaster University.

“The King’s IoPPN team has developed an effective short-term tool to reduce harmful alcohol consumption in the armed forces community and to support longer-term positive mental health in veterans. It’s important to note that not all veterans who experience problems with the drinking or mental health issues will seek help, and it’s just as important to continue to find ways to reach those who might benefit from these types of interventions, and we look forward to developing his other capabilities,” said Tom McBarnet, Chief Executive (acting) of Forces in Mind Trust.

About the research

A “light” version of the Drinks:Ration app was made available to the public today for Apple iOS and Google Android.

From a sample of 123 candidates, 62 received the intervention app and 61 the control app. Both groups were administered a 28-day brief alcohol intervention, delivered through their assigned smartphone app, with the aim of reducing self-reported alcohol use among British veterans seeking help with mental health issues.

The full report is available on the Forces in Mind Trust website.

Two-thirds of current or former staff with a current or past drinking problem do not seek help

More information:
Daniel Leightley et al, Assessing the Effectiveness of the Drinks:Ration Mobile App in Reducing Alcohol Consumption in a Help-Seeking Military Veteran Population: Randomized Controlled Trial, JMIR mHealth and uHealth (2022). DOI: 10.2196/38991

Provided by JMIR Publications

Citation: Mobile app to support those trying to reduce their alcohol consumption (2022 August 3) Retrieved August 4, 2022 from

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