A new smartphone app, made available to the public today, has been found to be successful in helping UK war veterans reduce alcohol consumption.
The abbreviated 28-day Alcohol Intervention Application was tested with more than 120 UK veterans as part of a trial funded by the Force in Mind Trust.
After using the Drinks: Ration app, the veterans consumed 28 less units of alcohol (about 9 pints of standard UK beer) over a week than they had previously, compared to a control group that received government advice only about drinking alcohol, which consumed 10.5 less. units of alcohol.
ApplicationAnd the It was developed by researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London, led by Dr Daniel Lightley, and supported by Lancaster University and the National Foundation for Veterans Mental Health. anti stressDesigned to help people keep track of their alcohol consumption.
Previous research has shown that alcohol use is higher in the British Armed Forces than in the general population, and that this persists after an individual leaves the service, particularly for those seeking help with a mental health condition. Currently, there is no app in the UK, and it is designed to support the British Armed Forces community to manage the amount of alcohol they drink.
The app targets individual users’ motivations for drinking and promotes positive changes in behavior using personalized messages and data-driven graphs. The app is also designed to target the short-term effects of alcohol, such as affecting relationships or finances, and to provide daily personalized messages. Most of the users participating in this study were recruited from Combat Stress and had a potential for depression, anxiety, or PTSD.
Following this successful trial, the UK Ministry of Defense, led by Commanding Surgeon Kate King, will test the Drinks: Ration app to assess its use and benefit to the community serving the community. The trial is scheduled to begin later this year.
Our experience showed that the Drinks: Ration app was effective in reducing alcohol abuse in veterans seeking help in the medium term. This can make it A valuable tool for the Armed Forces community while awaiting treatment and support. This digital intervention can provide a new, low-cost alternative to seeking traditional assistance and be as effective as face-to-face interventions.. I am pleased that the UK Ministry of Defense will be piloting the application with the community it serves.
Dr Daniel Lightley, Principal Investigator at IoPPN, King’s College London
Professor Dominic Murphy, Head of Research at Combat Stress, commented, “Our research shows that the Drinks: Ration app has supported veterans to make positive changes to their drinking patterns. We look forward to rolling out this app more broadly to support the veteran community.”
Dr Laura Goodwin, Senior Lecturer in Mental Health at Lancaster University, said: ‘We know from our research that veterans with a mental health problem often struggle with concurrent heavy drinking, however this group may find it difficult to get the support they need. This study highlights the positive benefits of providing digital support and how this can help reduce alcohol use in veterans with concurrent problems.”
“The team at King’s IoPPN has developed an effective short-term tool for reducing harmful alcohol use in the armed forces community, and supporting combatants’ positive mental abilities in the long-term health of our veterans,” said Tom McParnett, Chief Executive Officer (Acting) at Force in Mind Trust.
“It is important to note that not all veterans with drinking or mental health issues will seek help, and it is equally important to continue to find ways to reach those who could benefit from these types of interventions. The evidence is clear that this is an effective, low-cost tool. The cost is to support veterans, and we look forward to seeing more of its potential developed.”