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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Electronic Alcohol Interventions May Not Work In The Long Run

An analysis of several studies found that electronic programs designed to reduce the use of alcohol may not be that effective in the long run, but may have more promise with problematic drinkers, HealthDay reports. The findings come from a review of 28 different studies concerning electronic alcohol intervention programs.

 The forms of electronic programs studied included:
  • CD-ROM
  • Desktop Computers
  • Online
  • Mobile Apps
  • Phone/Computer Based Interactive Voice Response
“At this point, the effects of the available brief electronic interventions are small, and evidence that they help people to drink within recommended limits is lacking,” said lead researcher Eric Dedert of Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C. “However, electronic interventions for alcohol misuse hold significant promise, and there is a need to develop more intensive interventions.” 

The most common programs used involved a single intervention, participants answer alcohol use related questions and then get info on how their drinking compares to their peers, according to the article. Overall, there were limited reports of alcohol use reductions from electronic interventions.

Dr. James Garbutt, a professor of psychiatry from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, told HealthDay:

"The underlying idea is of interest -- can we use brief and inexpensive electronic interventions to help individuals reduce their harmful drinking?" He adds, "These data suggest that stronger electronic interventions, possibly including interventions from a live human being, may be necessary to attain more meaningful improvements in drinking behavior." 

The findings were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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