Smartphone App Can Keep You Sober

May 10, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. spearhead /ˈspɪərˌhɛd/ (v.) – to start and lead something
Example: The scientists spearheaded the new experiment.

2. sobriety /səˈbraɪɪ, soʊ-/ (n.) – a condition in which one is clear-headed and not drunk
Example: The police arrested the man for his lack of sobriety. 

3. relapse /rɪˈlæps/ (n.) – a point in which one goes back to a former condition after partially recovering from it
Example: We thought she has already recovered, but she still experienced many relapses.

4. quantitative /ˈkwɒnɪˌteɪɪv/ (adj.) – referring to a type of methodological study or research that solely focuses on statistical data
Example: The quantitative research involved a series of surveys.

5. abstinence /ˈæbəəns/ (n.) – the act of not indulging on or doing something
Example: The first step to defeating an addiction is abstinence.


Read the text below.
A university research center has currently developed a smartphone application that helps former alcoholic patients to maintain their recovery on their own.

Nowadays, there is a growing interest to use electronic devices as supportive tools for drug rehabilitation. One of which is the ongoing app project spearheaded by the Center for Health Enhancement System Studies (C.H.E.S.S.) research center of the University of Wisconsin [wis-KON-suh n].  It is one of the many projects of C.H.E.S.S. that aims to use technology to provide solutions for mental and emotional health problems.

Aptly named “A-CHESS” (acronym for Application-C.H.E.S.S.), the app is especially designed to provide both supporting and self-maintaining options to sustain sobriety.

One feature of the app that provides supporting aid is a panic button, which alerts peers who are near the user in the event of a relapse. Another is a survey data that regularly monitors the user’s condition through simple questions, which counselors can easily access.

Users can also regulate themselves through the app’s automated and easily accessible features. For instance, the application automatically alerts the user when they are close to or approaching restricted areas like bars. The application also provides links to preventive ways such as relaxation methods and breathing exercises.

Through a quantitative study, C.H.E.S.S. discovered that the app is more effective compared to the follow-up routine that patients usually receive after monitored treatment. It included 271 patients, half of whom were tested with the smartphone application while the other half with the follow-up routine.

Results of the study showed that a higher percentage of the former group reported well-maintained abstinence compared with the latter group.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would you recommend this app to people who wish to sustain sobriety? Why or why not?
·         For what other addictions do you think this kind of application can be useful? Kindly discuss.

Discussion B

·         Why do you think it is difficult for some people to recover from an addiction?
·         What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of relying on technology to recover from an addiction?


May 10, 2014