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Home > The promises and pitfalls of digital technology in its application to alcohol treatment.

Muench, Frederick (2014) The promises and pitfalls of digital technology in its application to alcohol treatment. Alcohol Research: Current Reviews , 36 , (1) , pp. 131-42.

URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC44328...

Individuals seeking to change their alcohol use form a heterogeneous group with varied treatment goals-including moderation and abstinence-that therefore requires flexible treatment options. The availability of alcohol in the United States, and the pervasive social pressure to drink, warrant treatments that support individuals outside the treatment environment and that foster coping and self-regulation in the face of these demands. Emerging digital technologies show promise for helping both to hone therapies to clients' individual needs and to support clients in settings beyond the clinic. In the broader health care arena, digital health technologies (DHTs) are transforming how health professionals assess, prevent, and treat both physical and mental health problems. DHTs include assessments and interventions delivered via computer, Internet, mobile phone, and wireless or wearable device technologies.

The emerging literature examining within-treatment and mobile DHTs highlights an opportunity to create personalized alcohol treatments for every person seeking care. Despite the promises DHTs may hold, however, there still are many potential risks to using them and a number of challenges regarding how to integrate them into treatment successfully. This article will review the current and potential advantages of DHTs in alcohol treatment and the technological, personal, organizational, and systemic limitations of integrating various technology-based assessment and intervention programs into care.


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