How Text Reminders Enhance Treatment Program Attendance

Can Texting Help Increase Compliance and Attendance at Treatment Programs?

Enhance Treatment Program Attendance

Texting has become a preferred means of communication for people all over the world. A text can help quickly and concisely convey important information, keep personal conversations private and remind us about the important things in our lives that we have to do. Findings from a recent study underscore the value of text reminders and suggest that the further integration of mobile technology may be a game-changer for the addiction recovery community. Researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia recently revealed that SMS text reminders sent to patients booked in to addiction treatment sessions significantly increase attendance rates.

One of the key takeaways from the study was the comparative attendance rates for those who received SMS reminders versus those who did not. While the Queensland study found lower efficacy among patients identified as manifesting impulsive traits, other studies have pointed out that patients with impulsive traits respond better to SMS messages with motivational content. Researchers measured six months of data from over 1000 participants and the study was published in Australia’s Journal Addictive Behaviours.

What does this mean for patients in the United States? A similar, but smaller-scale, study from UCLA researchers that was published last year in the American Journal of Addiction found that adolescents in six- and nine-month addiction treatment aftercare were less likely to use drugs again if they participated in a mobile texting recovery support intervention for a 12-week period. The addiction treatment landscape has already started to integrate location-tracking and social media into the long-term recovery process. Individuals in recovery have access to everything from sober social apps to GPS-triggered warnings if they find themselves in a potentially problematic area where they may be vulnerable to relapse.


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