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Text message interventions reduce problematic alcohol use

Posted byWritten by David

Automated text messages reduce binge drinking episodes AND negative drinking consequences when focused on a particular use management strategy for 18-25 year olds.

This outcome from a recent study is important because it leverages an ubiquitous technology with simple behavior nudges for meaningful impact. Some trends indicate problematic alcohol use decreasing among younger populations, but according to the latest NSDUH survey, problematic use is still immense.

  • Over 5 million young adults can be classified as having an Alcohol Use Disorder.

  • 2.5 million received treatment in the last year.

The text messaging study devised 5 text-based interventions for people aged 18-25:

📝 TRACK: Promoted self-monitoring (control group)
📝 PLAN: Sought feedback the participants plans for drinking episodes (planned to get drunk, etc.)
📝 USE: Challenged post-use understanding with statistics
📝 GOAL: Promoted setting specific episode use targets
📝 COMBO: A mix of all the interventions

The people in the USE, GOAL, and COMBO all saw their binge use episodes decrease; whereas PLAN and TRACK and negative outcomes.

ALL interventions saw a reduction of negative consequences after 3 months.

Text messaging is the most used and ubiquitous communication method amongst most age groups. Like a phone call, text messaging is an intimate and a highly trusted channel.

The big gap between those with serious alcohol use problems and those getting treatment presents an opportunity for recovery support organizations and treatment providers.

  • Text messaging is relatively inexpensive and can be used across the full continuum of care.

  • Messages can range from automated appointment reminders to full on therapy.

  • Text messages can deliver rich media, like video and audio, which doesn’t require leaving the default messaging app on the phone.

  • Asynchronous communication is flexible, while being timely.

  • Your desired audience or patient population can opt-in to a variety of automated messages depending on need an interest.

  • Text messaging can also be secure, private, and encrypted.

Simple text-based Interventions like this latest study to reduce negative drinking episodes can be strategically added to your programming through Commonly Well’s Recovery Intelligence Platform. We use SMS to compliment treatment and recovery programing and deliver both clinical and quality of life assessments.

Commonly Well uses a text messaging platform to design custom automated and
personalized engagement strategies for data capture, performance monitoring, and
outcomes measurement.

Got questions or want to learn more about our Recovery Intelligence Model?

Text: OUTCOMES to 833.280.3781

Call: 917.672.6665