Re-Train Your Brain is a new online brain training program for people who drink to cope with anxiety. It involves targeting unconscious mental habits associated with drinking and anxiety through cognitive bias modification. The program is designed as an adjunct for people currently receiving in-clinic treatment.
Background: Anxiety and alcohol use disorders commonly co-occur, resulting in a more severe clinical presentation and poorer response to treatment. Most treatments that currently exist for anxiety and alcohol use problems seek to change unhealthy mental habits at a conscious or explicit level (e.g. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). However, there is accumulating evidence that anxiety and drinking are affected by processes operating at a subconscious, implicit level.
Thankfully, scientific research has shown that these subconscious mental habits can be improved via “brain training” programs (known as Cognitive Bias Modification [CBM]). CBM is a complementary and effective treatment approach that have been shown to enhance standard treatments such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Despite encouraging findings for anxiety or alcohol use individually, the clinical utility of using CBM to optimise standard treatments among comorbid samples (e.g. people with anxiety and problematic alcohol use) has not been explored. It is also unknown whether provision of a comorbidity focused CBM training program at an earlier age (and earlier in the course of their disorder) represents a promising opportunity to intervene before problems become chronic and entrenched in adulthood.
Study aims: This study aims to investigate the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of the ‘Re-Train Your Brain’ intervention – an adjunct internet-delivered CBM program – among a clinical sample of young adults with problematic alcohol use and social anxiety.
Eligibility: Participants aged 18-30 years who are currently receiving psychological treatment for anxiety or alcohol use are invited to participate in the trial. Eligible participants will be randomly allocated to receive either:
1. the online Re-Train Your Brain program (delivered in one of two formats) in addition to treatment as usual, or
2. treatment as usual only.
Participants will be asked to complete 3 surveys and cognitive assessments over 3-months, and will be reimbursed with a $30 gift voucher at each time point.
What can you do? If you or a young person you know might find this program beneficial, please visit the Re-Train Your Brain website. For further information about the Re-Train Your Brain project, please email Dr Katrina Prior (Chief Investigator) at firstname.lastname@example.org.