There are several apps available for iOS and Android devices that provide users with a way of keeping a close eye on what they drink on a night out. Many of them are created by health organisations and have been designed to stop you having too many units, others are a bit more silly and tell you how much of a bar bill you’re racking up and there are many out there that attempt to warn you when you’re too drunk to drive (although we wouldn’t trust those too much).
But how effective are these health apps really going to be at monitoring your alcohol intake on a night out?
The NHS Drinks Tracker is probably one of the most easy-to-use and popular options because it’s free in the app store. You start by tapping on the drink that you’re having and then the units are added up the more that you drink throughout the night. You can then review and edit the drinks as you go along or even save everything to a calendar, as a way of keeping a close eye on what you’ve been drinking over a longer period of time. The simple process of adding a drink and just tapping the app when you’ve had more suggests it’d be pretty easy to keep up with well into the night, but we imagine that’d totally depend on the individual.
Another app that’s received a lot of good press recently is Drink Tracker, similar to the NHS offering but a little more advanced with the ability to add different profiles and fill in details about your height and weight to figure how much alcohol you can handle on any given night. We presume this would lead to much more accurate results, but the more details you need to add in the less likely you’re going to think you need use it if you’re just going out for a few quick drinks.
Although these apps seem fairly simple, can they really keep wild drinkers on the straight and narrow, or help those that are dealing with more serious alcohol addictions?
Like most health apps on the market at the moment, all of them have to be used with caution. Although technology is advancing rapidly people without qualifications, experience and knowledge can create apps and until there’s some kind of approval or certification process in place there’s really no sure-fire way of knowing whether the advice they give is 100% accurate.
When it comes to alcohol consumption, most people drink too much because they don’t really know how much they’re consuming. So will someone prone to lose control now and again really remember to check-in to every drink they’re having? Maybe not. Although the app could be a great way of keeping people much more aware of what they’re doing. After all, if you knew you had to track everything and didn’t get too clouded by the alcohol, the act of mindfully tracking and visualising what you’re drinking could have a really positive impact on those that usually overdo it.
There’s no way of saying that an app will help one person control their drinking and not another, but these kinds of tracking tools certainly seem like a good idea if you want to stay healthy and monitor what you’re drinking so you can start to change your habits over time. However, for someone with a more serious problem, an app probably isn’t going to be a quick fix solution, but may work as a valuable tool alongside other kinds of programmes.