Study needs volunteers who want to kick problem drinking
If excessive drinking is getting in the way of your life, QUT researchers invite you to take part in the next phase of a long-running study that has been successful in helping people to take control of their drinking.
Dr Esben Strodl from QUT's School of Psychology and Counselling said participants in the new study would have a chance to break free from damaging drinking habits.
"Our volunteer participants receive eight free face-to-face therapy sessions, and two phone sessions," Dr Strodl said.
"We have already found this therapy has had great results in a previous study and we want to build on it by studying how people react physiologically when presented with images of drinking after the therapy.
"To do this we will record two involuntary responses - changes in heart rate and changes in brainwave patterns - when people are shown pictures of alcohol-related situations before they start the therapy and again after they have completed the therapy.
"Any changes we might see in these two measures following the therapy will tell us whether the therapy's success has also brought about physiological changes related to the change in cravings."
Dr Strodl said the hour-long sessions consisted of motivational interviewing and metacognitive therapy.
"Motivational interviewing aims to develop your own reasons for controlling your drinking. Often people are ambivalent - part of them wants to stop but part of them doesn't, so this therapy helps them explore both sides and resolve that internal conflict," he said.
"We follow this with metacognitive therapy. Everyone has different triggers for drinking too much which then result in thoughts, feelings and images about needing to drink.
"This form of therapy identifies and challenges your thoughts about your thoughts. For example, you might think you have to act on your thoughts but this therapy teaches you to analyse thoughts and separate them from actions.
"Our recent research has shown that this type of therapy results in a significant reduction in drinking, with the average person going through the program reducing their drinking from around 55 standard drinks a week to around 25 standard drinks a week within 10 weeks.
"This means that those who go through the program are better off than 91% of those who have similar drinking problems and do not go through the program."
The researchers are looking for anyone aged 18 years to 65 years who drinks more than 28 standard drinks a week if male or 14 standard drinks a week if they are female and who feel that they have a problem with their drinking.
** To volunteer for the study contact the research team on 07 3138 0999 or 0414 463 089 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. **
Dr Esben Strodl, QUT researcher, 07 3138 8416 or email@example.com
Associate Professor Renata Meuter, QUT researcher, 07 3138 4641 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Niki Widdowson, QUT media officer, 07 3138 2999 or email@example.com