Imagine a world without the Internet, texting, or smartphones – although these tech innovations haven’t been around for that long, most people can’t fathom what life would be like without them. Because millennials between the ages of 18 to 24 are among the groups most addicted to their smartphones and texting, it makes sense that this type of technology is used to get important messages across. That’s why medical professionals decided to try out text messaging as a way to stop young adults from binge drinking.
Binge drinking is the 4th leading cause of preventable death in the United States right now, coming in only behind smoking and poor diet, and binge drinking is one of the main reasons behind young adult ER visits. Excessive alcohol consumption is defined as having 5 or more drinks per day for men or four or more drinks per day for women.
To study binge drinking in young adults, medical professionals tracked young adults who visited the ER for excessive alcohol consumption and sampled 765 patients who expressed an interest in the study. More than 1/3 of these young adults reported that they abused alcohol or said they were dependent on alcohol. For 12 weeks 1/3 of this group received text messages from the ER regarding their drinking plans and asking them to offer feedback in return. Another group received text messages with no feedback required, and the third group received no text messages.
The findings of the study were published in Annals of Emergency Medicine. Out of the three groups, the group receiving text messages and asking for feedback stated they cut their binge drinking by 51 percent. The other two groups reported increasing their number of binge drinking days.
The moral of the study? Binge drinking is dangerous, and any avenue that can cut down on excessive alcohol consumption should be pursued. With alcohol related deaths on the rise, maybe it’s time to talk to young adults in a way they relate to by picking up the phone and hitting send on a text message.