Researchers from the University of Sydney developed the Inroads program for young adults with concerns about their anxiety and drinking.
Over five online modules, the program helps users develop new skills to reduce their alcohol use and better manage their anxiety and life stresses. It encourages users to think about what’s important to them, set goals and plan out the steps needed to work towards those goals.
The modules are completed weekly, and users also receive weekly email support providing feedback on their progress and motivation to continue with the modules.
Who Inroads for?
Inroads is for people aged 17 to 30 who experience both anxiety and are drinking above Australian health guidelines (Note: current guidelines recommend healthy adults consume no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day).
Is there a cost to use Inroads?
There is no payment required for accessing the treatment program.
Note: Inroads is currently in an open trial phase, and users must consent to participate in the research trial to gain access. Read more about the trial here.
How to access Inroads
Head to https://inroads.org.au/register to register an account to gain access to the program.
If users provide their consent to participate in the trial after reading the Participation Information Statement, they will first complete a brief 15-minute survey which contains questions that will be used to determine whether the study is suitable for them.
If the Inroads study is not suitable, users will be provided with a list of alternative options for seeking assistance and support.
If the study is suitable, users will be asked to complete an additional survey (~45 minutes long) before being given access to the program. Users will be asked to complete two follow-up surveys which are used to track any progress in reducing anxiety and alcohol use after commencing the program.
Inroads Research and Evaluation
The Inroads program is based on the Combined Alcohol and Social Phobia “CASP” program, a treatment program developed at Macquarie University to help adults with significant anxiety and drinking concerns. The CASP program has been shown to be an effective treatment, because it was tested in a clinical trial and compared to standard treatment. People who received the CASP program were able to reduce their drinking, and also experienced a reduction in anxiety and depression symptoms, and improved quality of life compared to the standard treatment. You can read more about the CASP program and this research here.
The Inroads program is an adaptation for young adults of the effective CASP program. It is for young people who need some assistance managing anxiety symptoms and setting limits around drinking. In a previous clinical trial, participants who received the Inroads program in combination with low-intensity psychologist support, had greater reductions in hazardous drinking, general anxiety, and social anxiety compared to a control group. You can read more about the Inroads program and this trial here.
The Inroads online treatment program uses two types of therapy called Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). These types of therapy have been shown in many research studies to be effective at reducing symptoms of anxiety and in helping people to better control their alcohol use. These therapies are recommended in Australian clinical practice guidelines for anxiety and alcohol management.