Updated: Wednesday, 22nd November 2017 @ 5:07am

Online app new tool to help Manchester alcoholics battle addiction and relapse

Online app new tool to help Manchester alcoholics battle addiction and relapse

| By Samar Maguire

An online alcohol demotivator app is giving alcoholics across Manchester and the country another tool to add to their sobriety tool kit in their battle against addiction.

The app, developed by the Abbycare Foundation in Scotland, is a tool powered by 'negative motivation' as it points out the serious ramifications of excessive alcohol consumption to encourage people to consider their intake more carefully.

This includes information on daily unit intake, risk level, approximate monthly/annual spend, and odds on catching a disease or having a car crash.

And Alison Rodriguez, Head of the Manchester Community Alcohol Team, believes that a similar tool could be used on the Manchester NHS webpage in the future.

Ms. Alison was particularly impressed with the speed in which the app processed the users' alcohol dosage into clear and visual information.

"It's certainly very quick, and I can imagine with the way online is advancing the Manchester NHS could potentially have one of these on their website in the future," she said.

"There's always the risk of having people diagnose themselves and then think that they need assistance when they might not, but I'm sure it could be worked on."


NEGATIVE MOTIVATION: The consequences of drinking four glasses of wine, two pints of beer and three shots of spirits a day

Manchester has been notorious for drinking problems, as the city have in the past been named the drink death capital of the UK and recently binge-drinking capital of the North West.

Stewart Robertson of Abbeycare Foundation explained that highlighting the negative repercussions surrounding alcohol addiction is important for addicts.

"Lots of people who are addicts are negatively motivated. This means that they won’t be swayed out of the addiction if we give them some sort of positive incentive," he told MM.

"For example, if we tell them how good treatment is going to be or how good a sober life will be, I think at that stage of the addiction they’re not really open to that sort of positive motivational style. It’s not something that’s expected to help them take action.

"I think people that are in that state of addiction are quite negatively motivated, so that’s why we created a tool to reinforce the negative aspects of drinking too much and addictive patterns that tell you in detail what it could mean on your life, on your finances in a black and white way. And also delivering that in a style they’d be open to in their journey."

Mr Robertson added that even his recovered clients are using the Alcohol Demotivator on occasions to prevent a potential relapse.

But he did emphasise that the app is a small tool in a large tool kit.

"It’s used by former clients as one tool as part of a much bigger tool kit in terms of their recovery journey," he said. "So it’s not something that we are pretending is the answer.

"We're very aware that there are much bigger recipes and supports someone needs if they are to look at long term sobriety and recovery, but it’s intended to be part of that tool kit if a person feels triggered or tempted to drink in a situation.

"For a lot of people it will be associations, memories, sounds, families, working relationships that will be those triggers, so in those situations it’s one of those tools that they can call upon to help them."

If you want to calculate how your drinking is impacting your life click here.

Image courtesy of Rafael Castillo, with thanks.