App works to reduce drinking following nationwide increase during pandemic

Health News

NEW YORK, NY (CBS Newspath) – Americans reported drinking more during the pandemic, and now more people are trying to cut back on their alcohol use. Changing behavior isn’t easy but new apps are trying to help with a focus on mindful drinking.

A study from the RAND Corporation found that women have seen the highest spikes in pandemic drinking, reporting a 41% increase in heavy drinking episodes.

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“We’re seeing a lot of stress drinking,” says Nick Allen, the CEO and founder of Sunnyside. The app is geared toward helping people take a “mindful approach to drinking,” which includes helping them cut back and increase their overall health and wellness. He says women make up 70% of the app’s users. “Mothers, especially around the challenges of dealing with kids, and work, and household.”

Kathy from Utah found she was drinking more during the pandemic. So earlier this year, the wife and mother of two decided to make a change. “I would notice it and not feel good the next day, and just, I take care of so many other parts of my life and my body that I’m like, why am I not doing this too?” Kathy says.

In January, she started using the Sunnyside app to log and reflect on how she uses alcohol. “I still want to be able to enjoy my limit of wine, and I’m kind of learning what that is.” Kathy says it’s working for her: “You feel better just from the moment that you know you’re gonna take control of your life.” She says she’s living fully while drinking less.

The Sunnyside app is one of several alcohol-reduction apps aimed at women’s wellness.

The goal is not necessarily sobriety but mindful drinking, something doctors say can be beneficial. “You’re putting in time and energy every time you open the application, and you log the data from the day,” says Dr. Collin Reiff, an addiction psychiatrist with NYU Langone Health. He says cutting back can have real health benefits like improving sleep and heart health, and apps can be a good first step. “And the important thing is if it’s not working, be honest with yourself, and you know, enter a higher level of care,” Dr. Reiff says.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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