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TakeControl: A Smartphone App for Binge Eating Disorder

TakeControl LogoTakeControl is a therapeutic smartphone app for binge eating that allows users to track behavior, access empirically supported interventions, and receive customized assistance in moments of need. The app is designed to analyze relationships between binge triggers and binge episodes, and predict when an individual might be at risk for binging. We are currently in the process of developing and evaluating the app, and the planned functions below are in varying stages of completion.  If you would you like to participate as a beta (test) user, please see information below.

 

TakeControl: At A Glance

TakeControl App

Self-monitoring

Self-monitoring refers to tracking symptoms, behaviors and other factors, and has been identified as an important component of treatment for binge eating. TakeControl is designed to enable self-monitoring through easy tagging of triggers of binge eating (e.g., moods, food intake, urges), as well as reminders to record these behaviors. The app also has the ability to automatically collect information related to time and location. 

Just-in-time Interventions

Research has revealed that many individuals with binge eating have difficulty applying strategies learned in treatment, or through a book, during times of high distress, which is when such skills would be the most helpful. TakeControl proposes to close this gap by delivering customized interventions to the user in moments of need. A “machine language” algorithm built into TakeControl will allow the app to build increasingly accurate associations between triggers and binge episodes, thus allowing for preventative risk alerts to be automatically delivered to a user in response to the presence of triggers that the system has established predict binges for that particular user. 

Guided Self-help

We have adapted and incorporated treatments for binge eating that have been scientifically supported. Interactive modules contain text, worksheets and videos. Users can also access quick “Coping Strategies” for help in the moment. 

Data-based Feedback

TakeControl illustrates, using graphs, the relationships between a user’s triggers and binge behaviors. The graphical representation of behavior over time allows users to track their individual progress and identify patterns of behaviors that contribute to recovery.

Social Support

Binge eating tends to be an isolating condition, with many individuals feeling that they cannot open up to others about their problems. TakeControl provides users with a resource to interact with others who are struggling with similar issues. Within the TakeControl community, users can anonymously communicate through posts in user forums and direct messaging.

Badges

TakeControl contains a badge system in which individuals are rewarded for using the app and also for meeting certain goals that will assist them in recovering from binge eating. For example, users can earn badges for recording their moods and meals each day. Users can also earn badges for reading through the learning modules and providing support to others on the social forums. Each badge has several levels that can be attained through increasing use of the app and attainment of goals.

TakeControl in the News

Opportunities to Get Involved

We are looking for individuals willing to volunteer as beta users, which involves using an early version of TakeControl for approximately 6 weeks, and completing questionnaires about yourself and your experience of the app. Note that you do not have to live in the Philadelphia area to participate; individuals from all locations are welcome!

If you experience binge eating, and are interested in participating, please contact Stephanie Goldstein at 215-553-7111 or takecontrol@drexel.edu.