Last updated on February 2018

The Effectiveness of a Smartphone Application in the Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder


Brief description of study

Alcohol dependence poses a major problem for Irish and UK society, placing a huge burden on the health system. It is difficult to treat and relapse is common. There is an urgent need to develop novel treatment methods. One growing area of intervention is the use of mobile phone technology to develop personalised, patient-centred treatments. These can be used in outpatient settings, allowing patients to manage their own illness and take control of their recovery. In this study the investigators will investigate how a smartphone application, UControlDrink, can help alcoholics stay abstinent from alcohol. The application consists of a number of features known to aid recovery such as supportive messages and online therapy.

Detailed Study Description

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a common and difficult disorder to treat. Only a fraction of sufferers seek treatment and the rate of relapse is high. There is therefore an urgent need for improved methods of promoting long term abstinence and recovery in AUD. This study will explore the effectiveness of a smartphone application, UControlDrink, in aiding recovery from AUD in patients who have been discharged from an inpatient alcohol treatment programme. The application comprises five recovery focused features:

supportive messages, Computerised-Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, a drinking log, activities and trigger avoidance log, craving management and gamification. Patients will use the application for 3 months. A control group of patients will also be followed over the same time period. Cumulative abstinence duration as well as changes in questionnaire measures to baseline, time to first drink, proportion of patients continuously abstinent from alcohol, levels of activity within the app and patient satisfaction with their overall treatment will be measured at 3 months. If successful, this application may offer a unique, patient-centred, technology-driven, cost effective method of improving outcomes in AUD.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03396887

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Recruitment Status: Open


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