Swipe away your drinking problem

November 10, 2016 by Joost Bruysters, University of Twente
Credit: University of Twente

An app has been developed that helps people struggling with alcohol addiction to reduce their alcohol intake, or to quit drinking completely.

A study into the effectiveness of the app, called 'Breindebaas', will commence on 10 November. The researchers involved are now looking for people who want to try the app for a period of several weeks.

The app was developed by the University of Twente, Tactus addiction treatment, Saxion University of Applied Sciences and the University of Amsterdam. Researchers from this consortium will also jointly conduct the study. The aim of the app is to disrupt the subconscious processes that feed . The app shows of all kinds of beverages along with the simple instruction to pull non-alcoholic beverages towards them using a swiping motion, and to push away. Ideally, participants do this as quickly as possible in order to unlearn unconscious associations. The app must be used twice a week for a period of three weeks, with each training session lasting ten minutes. The hypothesis is that repeated training will alter the brain's reaction and thought patterns.

Fewer relapses

The app is based on an existing training programme which was developed at the University of Amsterdam and which has proven its effectiveness. According to Marloes Postel, who is leading the study, addicts who receive this training at a rehabilitation centre are ten percent less likely to relapse within a year (with relapse rates decreasing from 50% to 40%). "That's a very good result in addiction care." Postel hopes the app will help make this accessible to a wide audience. "Many addicts are reluctant to seek help through standard addiction care." However, Postel does not think that the app alone will suffice in the battle against alcohol addiction. "The app can be used as part of regular addiction care programmes, or it can serve as a first step to regular addiction care."


A study into the app's effectiveness will commence on 10 November. Key questions will be whether the app does in fact lead to a reduction in alcohol consumption, and if users are satisfied with it. Anyone over the age of 18, in possession of a smartphone or tablet and who would like to reduce their can participate. Participation in the study is simple. Participants will be asked to complete a short questionnaire three times over the course of the study, and to use the app twice a week for a period of three weeks. In total, participants will spend approximately 1.5 hours on the study. The deadline for participation is 22 November, and you can sign up at www.breindebaasapp.nl. Five gift vouchers of 100 euros will be raffled off among the participants.

Explore further: Overcoming addiction with an app

Related Stories

Overcoming addiction with an app

February 24, 2015
Can a game installed on your smartphone help you to overcome an addiction? Soon this will be a possibility. Marloes Postel, a lecturer at the University of Twente, observed the need for easily accessible care for people with ...

Mindfulness training helpful in the recovery of adults addicted to stimulants

August 5, 2016
Meditation and other mindfulness strategies may reduce the likelihood of relapse for certain people struggling to break their addiction to stimulants including cocaine and methamphetamine, a UCLA study suggests.

Meds can help recovering meth addicts stay sober

June 14, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- A drug shown to help break alcohol addiction can also help recovering methamphetamine addicts stay clean, a study led by University of Virginia School of Medicine researcher Dr. Bankole A. Johnson has ...

Empowering addiction treatment patients to engage in care may improve overall health

June 22, 2016
In the first trial of an intervention focused on increasing alcohol and drug treatment patients' engagement in their own health care, researchers found that patients who received 6 intervention sessions had greater involvement ...

Can believing you are a food addict affect your eating behavior?

May 5, 2016
Researchers from the University of Liverpool have published a paper regarding their work on how beliefs about food addiction can affect eating behaviour.

Recommended for you

Marijuana use may not aid patients in opioid addiction treatment

December 4, 2017
Many patients who are being treated for opioid addiction in a medication-assisted treatment clinic use marijuana to help manage their pain and mood symptoms.

For opiate addiction, study finds drug-assisted treatment is more effective than detox

November 23, 2017
Say you're a publicly insured Californian with an addiction to heroin, fentanyl or prescription narcotics, and you want to quit.

Study finds medical cannabis is effective at reducing opioid addiction

November 17, 2017
A new study conducted by researchers at The University of New Mexico, involving medical cannabis and prescription opioid use among chronic pain patients, found a distinct connection between having the legal ability to use ...

Insomnia linked to alcohol-use frequency among early adolescents, says new psychology study

November 8, 2017
Insomnia is linked to frequency of alcohol use among early adolescents, according to new Rutgers University–Camden research.

Large declines seen in teen substance abuse, delinquency

October 25, 2017
More than a decade of data indicates teens have become far less likely to abuse alcohol, nicotine and illicit drugs, and they also are less likely to engage in delinquent behaviors, such as fighting and stealing, according ...

Trying to get sober? NIH offers tool to help find good care

October 3, 2017
The phone calls come—from fellow scientists and desperate strangers—with a single question for the alcohol chief at the National Institutes of Health: Where can my loved one find good care to get sober?


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.