Background Relapse prevention in patients with alcohol dependence (AD) has long been a clinical challenge. It is vital to provide services with minial restrictions for patients to have access to continuous after-treatment care. The study was aimed to examine the benefits of a smartphone application (SoberDiary) coupled to a Bluetooth breathalyser to assist patients recovering from alcohol dependence (AD). Methods This study recruited 38 patients that fulfilled the DSM-IV-TR criteria for AD and who were undergoing an outpatient maintenance program for abstinence. The participants were provided a breathalyser and smartphone-equipped SoberDiary and followed for 12 weeks. The participants were divided into highly adherent (HA) and less adherent (LA) groups according to the medium number of reward points they were awarded for using the SoberDiary system throughout the follow-up period based on the average amount of time spent on using the application, the number of function modules they accessed, and the number of BrAC tests they completed each day. Results 19 of the patients were classified as HA and 19 patients were classified as LA group. Members of the HA group recorded fewer drinking days and drinks consumed per week, a higher cumulative number of abstinence days, a higher abstinence rate, less pronounced anxiety, and superior quality of life. Conclusions The proposed smartphone-assisted support system coupled with a Bluetooth breathalyser might be a feasible supplement to conventional treatment for AD. Higher SoberDiary compliance appears to be associated with better clinical outcomes.
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