If you want to develop healthier eating habits to improve your physical and mental well-being, you’re not alone. There’s no better time than now to think about making healthier lifestyle choices.
Maybe you’re ready to change your approach to drinking, but you don’t know where to start. You don’t need to worry about writing everything down or trying to keep private entries in a journal. VA has developed a free and confidential mobile application, VetChangethat can help you track your alcohol consumption more easily.
VetChange can help you set goals, whether it’s to cut down or stop drinking altogether. You can learn more effective and healthier ways to manage PTSD symptoms. This app is not just for tracking consumption habits. It is a holistic self-help tool that gives you the opportunity to explore your own motivations for wanting to change. You can upload photos of important people in your life as part of your “Reasons to Change”.
The app helps increase your motivation
The VetChange mobile app is based on the online VetChange program and was developed by VA’s National Center for PTSD and Boston University.
“Initially, we started by thinking about this intervention for returning veterans. However, it’s really for anyone who might use substances or alcohol to deal with the aftermath of any type of trauma,” said Dr. Monica Roy, program manager for the substance abuse treatment program in facility and the outpatient alcohol and drug addiction treatment program at the Jamaica Plain Campus of the VA Boston Healthcare System.
The latest version of the app was released in 2021 and features a new design, a module on how to deal with alcohol-related cravings, and videos on how to identify drinking cravings. It also includes new skills such as how to increase your motivation for change, how to deal with distressing memories, and how to deal with boredom.
“Just tracking a behavior, self-monitoring a behavior, can help raise awareness of risk factors and actually help reduce alcohol consumption,” Roy said.
The right support can make the difference
Although the interactive app is considered a self-help tool, the support of your loved ones while using VetChange can go a long way. The app includes a variety of educational materials that you can share with your friends or family so they can learn how to help you achieve your goals.
“I have heard family members mistakenly think that if they expose the veteran to situations where there is alcohol, it will help them get used to it,” said Dr. Marika Solhan, director from the Boston Vet Center. “The app can really help dispel a lot of these myths in a way that helps the family member become a better support system.”
The VetChange mobile app is available for download here on Apple or Android devices.