June 5, 2014 (Toronto) – A new mobile app developed by the
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) offers those who want to reduce
or quit drinking alcohol the ability to track and manage their drinking habits.
Excessive alcohol consumption is a major public health concern, leading to over
200 diseases and injuries. In May 2014, the World Health Organization released
a report that showed Canadians drink more than the global average, with 23 per
cent of drinkers engaging in binge drinking.
The new app, called Saying When, is a mobile version of a self-monitoring
program pioneered by Dr. Martha Sanchez-Craig while a Senior Scientist at the former
Addiction Research Foundation (now CAMH). Previously a paper-based manual, the
program is clinically sound and has helped people cut back or quit drinking
successfully for over 25 years.
“We’ve been waiting for the technology to catch up to this program,” said Wayne
Skinner, Deputy Clinical Director at CAMH. “The ability to discreetly track and
monitor urges and consumption in real time will help people who are concerned
about their drinking be successful with their goal to reduce or abstain.”
Saying When is designed for people who are concerned about their drinking, but
who do not have a severe alcohol use disorder.
On launch, Saying When app users are presented with a tour
of the app’s features, including an introduction to Canada’s Low Risk Drinking
Guidelines developed by the National Alcohol Strategy Advisory Committee. Before
moving on to track urges and consumption, app users will complete a section
called “Taking Stock” to help determine current drinking patterns and set a
baseline for future success.
“Recent studies have shown that entertainment- based apps
including drinking recipes or drinking games are the most common type of
alcohol-related app,” said Tim Tripp, Director, Library Services &
Knowledge Mobilization at CAMH. “To our knowledge, Saying When is the only
mobile tool based on an established clinical program that helps people monitor
their drinking and efforts to cut back or quit.”
To make personal tracking easy and
precise, the Saying When app describes and defines standard drinks through
info-graphics. Each drink entered is measured when the app user fills the interactive
glass and determines how many standard drinks they have consumed.
Throughout the tracking process, the app is programmed to
offer tips for success as the user makes progress. The coping section of the
app also provides users with the opportunity to learn what strategies work best
for them as they rank the success of each one over time.
“Many people are motivated to change their drinking behaviour,”
said Skinner. “Saying When gives them a way to do so on their own or, if they
are getting help, to set goals and keep track of how they are doing, day by
day. Having a mobile version of this resource will allow us to reach and help
The Saying When app is now available for purchase in the iTunes
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The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest
mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's
leading research centres in its field. CAMH combines clinical care, research,
education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives
of people affected by mental health and addiction issues. CAMH is fully
affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health
Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For
more information, please visit www.camh.ca.
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
416 535 8501 x36015