A team of University of Wisconsin researchers have developed a mobile smartphone app proven to help individuals overcome drug and alcohol addictions. A-CHESS acts as self-assessment tool, support system for individuals struggling with addiction

Andrew Quanbeck, assistant professor of family medicine and a member of the Addiction-CHESS research team, describes the mobile application as a recovery support system for people with alcohol and drug use disorders.

Quanbeck described the app as a self-assessment tool and support system all in one.

“A-CHESS consists of tools and services, strategies for coping with cravings, lists of healthy activities, a GPS-based tool to warn users when they approach high-risk locations, such as a bar they used to frequent and methods for communicating with supportive others,” Quanbeck said.

A-CHESS was based on the theory of self-determination, Quanbeck said.

The app helps people achieve three basic needs designed to improve their adaptive functioning. Those needs are being perceived as competent, feeling related to others and feeling internally motivated and not coerced in one’s actions, Quanbeck said.

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It has proven to be a versatile and effective mobile health platform, Quanbeck said. It differs from other applications because of the extent to which the impact of its use has been studied.

The results of the app’s initial clinical trial were first reported in 2014 in the JAMA Psychiatry journal.

“Compared to patients in the control group, patients using A-CHESS showed a 57 percent reduction in risky drinking days,” Quanbeck said.