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Have you been drinking more during lockdown? Find out if new digital tools could help

Have you been drinking more during lockdown? Find out if new digital tools could help
How many times have you heard friends and family guiltily confess to drinking more during lockdown?
Whilst some turned to Joe Wicks for comfort, many admit to upping their alcohol intake in the last few months and drinking more than usual.
With life slowly returning to normal (or the ‘new normal’ at least), several of us are feeling it’s time to take charge and reduce the amount we consume.
Researchers at UCL have aptly launched their latest study. The “iDEAS” trial opens this month and is looking for volunteers to help test digital tools designed to support those who’d like to cut down.
The trial, funded by NIHR, is seeking over 5,000 participants nationally and is offering up to £36 in Amazon vouchers to those who take part, as well as the opportunity to take part in potentially health-changing research.
Since January 2016, Government guidelines have recommended both men and women should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week.
The effects of regularly drinking in excess of the guidelines are wide-ranging and can impact on both short and long-term health.  There are potentially serious health conditions resulting from drinking too much, including heart and liver disease and some types of cancer; as well as impacts on weight, erectile function and mental health.
Digital apps and support for reducing alcohol intake are thought to overcome some of the barriers to receiving traditional face-to-face support and some are looking effective at decreasing alcohol consumption.
Senior Investigator Dr Claire Garnett, of UCL’s Behavioural Science and Research department, part of UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care, said: "There is currently little research comparing the effectiveness of different types of digital technologies.  With the design of this randomised controlled trial, participants will be recommended one of two types of digital support for the reduction of alcohol consumption so we can determine which is more effective.”
Lead Investigator Dr Melissa Oldham, of the same UCL department, added: “These findings will provide evidence on the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of different types of digital support and will inform the recommendations we can make for alcohol reduction.”
Those who sign up for the study will be asked to complete four online questionnaires over six months, and to use one of two types of digital support. Responses are kept anonymous and volunteers are offered Amazon vouchers in return for completing the questionnaires.
If you would like support with drinking less alcohol or know someone who might. You can go here for more information and to check if you’re eligible to take part.
Further support and advice on drinking are available at: