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Smart app trial will help manage addiction recovery

Australia’s University of Wollongong (UOW) is leading a trial with an organisation, which provides free group program assisting any problematic behaviour, for a phone app that helps people manage these behaviours.

According to a recent press release, the SMART Track app is being launched to accompany weekly group meetings of SMART Recovery.

Most Australians own a smart phone. The app was designed to complement the SMART Recovery groups by providing people with a way to keep track of their cravings and impulses.

It provides real-time feedback that will hopefully be helpful for people looking to manage their addictive behaviours.

The study will examine use of an online Routine Outcome Monitoring (ROM) tool that involves real-time feedback being provided to participants while attending SMART Recovery groups.

The NSW Ministry of Health under the NSW Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Early Intervention Innovation Grant Scheme provided funding for this research.

Who are involved?

There are over 300 SMART Recovery groups delivered throughout Australia, reaching more than 2,000 people each week.

The organisation supports people with problematic behaviours like drug and alcohol misuse, smoking, gambling and shopping.

SMART Track forms part of a research project conducted by the organisation and the University of Wollongong, along with several universities. These are:

  1. University of Newcastle
  2. University of New South Wales (UNSW)
  3. University of Queensland
  4. Monash University
  5. Harvard University
  6. King’s College London

Professor Peter Kelly, one of the project leads, explained that addiction is something that affects millions of Australians, including family and friends of those with dependency, every single year.

Their team is pleased to be working with the organisation to help develop a smart phone app to address this.

A digital and customer experience agency designed the SMART Track app. The agency’s Executive Creative Director described the project as really rewarding.

Working closely with the organisation and the research team, they applied a design thinking approach to get feedback directly from people accessing the SMART Recovery groups.

About SMART Recovery

Self Management and Recovery Training (SMART) Recovery is a practical and solution-focused program designed to give those struggling with addictive behaviours a toolbox of coping strategies they can use daily to achieve their goals.

A core aspect of this program is to empower people to take back control of their problematic behaviour.

Guided by trained peers and professionals, participants come to help themselves and help each other using a variety of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and motivational tools and techniques.

Group members are being recruited for the non-randomised trial of the SMART Track app.

Following completion of the study, the research team is hoping to integrate the SMART Track app with all SMART Recovery groups across Australia.

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