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Hazelden study shows promise of web-based recovery support

September 6, 2011
by News release
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Center City, Minn. —Web-based recovery support programming holds great promise for patients discharged from residential alcohol and other drug addiction treatment, according to a data analysis study reported in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. The study, announced in recognition of September as Recovery Month, was conducted by Hazelden's Butler Center for Research in collaboration with Treatment Research Institute and the University of Pennsylvania Department of Psychiatry.

Analysis focused on patients discharged from a residential addiction treatment center who were provided web access to tailored, clinical information and support, delivered in a multi-media format over 18 months post-treatment. Access to an addiction recovery coach was also provided.

Patients who engaged most fully in the web-based program during the year following addiction treatment had significantly higher abstinence rates for alcohol/other drug use and consumed less alcohol than patients who were less engaged or not engaged in the program, reports Audrey A. Klein, PhD, who authored the study with Butler Center for Research colleague, Valerie J. Slaymaker, PhD, Karen L. Dugosh, PhD, Treatment Research Institute, and James R. McKay, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

"These preliminary results suggest that computerized addiction recovery support programs can make a real difference for people in early recovery," reports Klein. "Like diabetes or cardiovascular disease, addiction is recognized as a chronic disease, so it must be treated, managed, and monitored over a person's lifetime. While we have much yet to learn and discover about addiction recovery, this study informs and advances the development of much-needed disease management tools and services," Klein adds.

The Butler Center for Research, research arm of the national nonprofit Hazelden foundation, is dedicated to improving recovery from alcohol and drug addiction by conducting clinical and institutional research, collaborating with other research centers, and communicating scientific findings. The study on web-based recovery support, titled "Computerized Continuing Care Support for Alcohol and Drug Dependence: A Preliminary Analysis of Usage and Outcomes," is published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.