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Researchers Say Web Based Continuing Care Programs Are Effective

posted 03:40 AM EST, Sun September 11, 2011

After following a group of rehab graduates who used an online continuing care program for 18 months, researchers say that web-based aftercare works well.

Scientists at the Butler Center for Research say web based continuing care is an effective treatment for relapse prevention and improved treatment outcomes.

The researchers provided a tailored web based continuing care recovery program and access to an online recovery coach to a group of patients who had completed a period of inpatient addiction treatment.

The researchers then followed this group for 18 months to record how frequently each study subject accessed the online program and to also measure for occurrences and severity of relapses over that 18 month period.

The results:

  • People who accessed the online program most frequently and completed the most online learning modules had significantly lower relapse rates and consumed significantly less alcohol overall  than those who completed few or no modules and accessed the program less frequently.
  • All study participants accessed the online program less frequently over the course of time, which is consistent with participation in other types of continuing care programs (people need less support as time goes by).

Commenting on the results, lead researcher Audrey A. Klein, Ph.D said, These preliminary results suggest that computerized addiction recovery support programs can make a real difference for people in early recovery. 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."

The full study results can be found in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.

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  • Improved Abstinence: People who used the web-based aftercare program most relapsed least.
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