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National Correspondence Program to reduce alcohol consumption and co-occurring disorders (depression/anxiety)

Researcher

Professor Thiagarajan Sitharthan, University of Sydney.

Summary

This project aims to facilitate the participation of a large group of consumers from all over Australia (including remote and rural areas) to learn to self-regulate their alcohol consumption and manage their co-occurring depression/anxiety. The program attracted participants from all over Australia as they could register online via the Australian Centre for Addiction Research website or by free phone call.

The majority (about 60%) of participants were female and the mean age in years was 44. While males tended to drink more than females, the mean distress scores (measuring depression and/or anxiety) were higher for females.

Outcomes

There was a clear demand from the consumers to engage in self-change programs, and providing programs like this allows professionals to take treatment to people’s homes, rather than waiting for them to come to the clinic. This approach fits well within a public health care model and reduces the need for travelling time, waiting for an appointment, and also avoids the needless stigma that is often associated with alcohol use and depression/anxiety.

Satisfaction rates were high from consumers regarding the program material, contents and relevance; and over 75% of the 474 participants were available for the follow-up.

FARE continues to fund and undertake research that contributes to the knowledge-base about alcohol harms and strategies to reduce them.

This research is used to inform our approach to evidence-based alcohol policy development, ensuring that the solutions we are advocating for are informed by research. FARE’s research is also often quoted by governments, other not-for-profit organisations and researchers in public discussions about alcohol, demonstrating that FARE is seen as a leading source of information.

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