A study published in Addiction found that if problem drinkers were given access to an online screener, their alcohol consumption was reduced by 30%. According the the authors, this is comparable to face-to-face interventions. This is a first of its kind study and it is reported that the results were sustained in both the three and six month follow-up.
The Canadian study headed by Dr. John Cunningham Senior Scientist with the Social and Community Factors in Prevention Research Section, CAMH points out that problem drinking is a major cause of preventable deaths as well as morbidity, trauma and violence, yet many of those who struggle with problem alcohol use will never seek treatment. A recent general population survey indicated that 81% of problem drinkers in Canada have Internet access, and about a third indicated that they would be willing to seek intervention via the web.
According to Cunningham, "while getting help from a health care professional is ideal, there are barriers to access such as concerns about stigma, a desire to handle problems on one's own, or simply because treatment is not readily available -- online interventions can help reduce these barriers by allowing people to seek help in their own homes."
The website www.CheckYourDrinking.net analyzes self-report data and provides provides problem drinkers with a report that compares their alcohol intake to the national average and informs them of the physical and health risks associated with their drinking patterns. The report also calculates the amount of money spent on alcohol annually and how much of their time is spent under the influence each year. Safer drinking guidelines are also provided to website users. "When presented these facts in a non-judgmental manner, participants are able to re-evaluate their drinking and may be motivated to reduce their alcohol consumption."Posted by rsk at January 6, 2010 09:00 AM