3. Effectiveness of a digital alcohol moderation intervention as an add-on to depression treatment for young adults: findings of a pragmatic randomized controlled trial
As problematic drinking often co-occurs with depression, we developed an add-on digital alcohol moderation intervention (Beating the Booze, BtB) to complement treatment as usual (TAU) for depressive disorders. Our study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of BtB+TAU compared to TAU among young adults (18-35 years) with co-occurring depressive disorders and problematic alcohol use.
In this RCT, participants were randomized to either TAU+BtB (n = 81) or TAU (n = 82). The primary outcome was treatment response at 6-months follow-up, operationalized as a composite score that combines alcohol use (7-day Timeline Followback (TLFB)) and depression measures (Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression, (CES-D)). Secondary outcomes included depression and alcohol use measures.
The sample included 163 participants with depressive disorders, with a mean age of 25 years (SD 4.5) and 80% was female. At baseline, the total sample had a mean CES-D score of 30.4 (SD 10.7), which is above the cut-off for severe depression (i.e. ≥21). The mean number of weekly drinks was 16.1 (SD 13.5) and mean AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test) score was 15.2 (SD 7.0), corresponding to the lowest cut-off for alcohol dependence ( ≥15). Concerning BtB adherence, mean number of logins was 18.8 (SD 27.8) and 25% of the users proceeded until the last module of the programme. Follow-up results regarding effectiveness of the intervention (TLFB and CES-D) are currently being analysed and will be presented during the conference.
Clinical outcome measures will be related to BtB use. If proven effective, the digital alcohol moderation intervention could be implemented in practice and may improve depression treatment.
Disclosure of interest statement: This study is funded by ZonMw (The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development, grant number 636310009). Ethical statement: The study was approved by the Medical Research Ethics Committees United (MEC-U) in the Netherlands (NL66899.100.18). The study was conducted in accordance with the Helsinki declaration and is pre-registered at the Netherlands Trial Register under registration number NL8122 (https://www.trialregister.nl/trial/8122).