A study designed two programmes and examined their effectiveness in helping excessive drinkers reduce their drinking. The study was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
The AACTP and LEAP programmes address the challenges faced by excessive drinkers, including a preoccupation with drinking made worse by alcohol-related stimuli around them. . The study also addressed excessive drinkers' difficulties with motivation which prevent them focusing on and achieving goals which provide alternative healthy activities to drinking alcohol.
The principal researcher, Professor Miles Cox, said: "We are very encouraged by the results. They show that excessive drinkers can reduce their drinking with the aid of the simple training procedures that we developed."
The main findings from the two programmes were:
- the drinkers' weekly alcohol consumption decreased significantly;
- a reduction in alcohol-related problems greatly reduced, and there was an increase in the drinkers' confidence in their ability to resist a drink in situations previously thought of as high-risk;
- drinkers' motivation to reduce their consumption increased.
Findings from AACTP
- a reduction in overall alcohol consumption;
- increased confidence in the drinkers' ability to resist drinking in high-risk situations, such as when feeling socially uneasy or in physical discomfort.
Findings from LEAP
- increased motivation of participants to change their drinking habits and reduce alcohol intake.
- drinkers were helped to improve their lives and general functioning by breaking the chain of drink-related behaviours.
The impact of this research on how practitioners treat alcohol problems could be wide-ranging with tried-and-tested training programmes used to treat alcohol-related problems much more effectively.