Cognitive behavioural interventions in addictive disorders PMC

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While multiple harm reduction-focused treatments for AUD have strong empirical support, there is very little research testing models of nonabstinence treatment for drug use. Despite compatibility with harm reduction in established SUD treatment models such as MI and RP, there is a dearth of evidence testing these as standalone treatments for helping patients achieve nonabstinence goals; this is especially true regarding DUD (vs. AUD). In sum, the current body of literature reflects multiple well-studied nonabstinence approaches for treating AUD and exceedingly little research testing nonabstinence treatments for drug use problems, representing a notable gap in the literature. Individuals with fewer years of addiction and lower severity SUDs generally have the highest likelihood of achieving moderate, low-consequence substance use after treatment (Ă–jehagen & Berglund, 1989; Witkiewitz, 2008). Notably, these individuals are also most likely to endorse nonabstinence goals (Berglund et al., 2019; Dunn & Strain, 2013; Lozano et al., 2006; Lozano et al., 2015; Mowbray et al., 2013).

And our clients thank us with an average 97 percent rating for their overall experience with us. Ark Behavioral Health offers 100% confidential substance abuse assessment and treatment placement tailored to your individual needs. This can include abstinence from substance abuse, overeating, gambling, smoking, or other behaviors a person has been working to avoid. Specific approaches to skills training and education can help clinicians provide the best possible options for those recovering from alcohol use disorder. The analytical strategy for the present study was consistent with the primary COMBINE report (Anton et al., 2006). Thus, PDA was tested using a mixed effects general linear model (PROC MIXED), relapse and DPDD were tested using a proportional hazards model (PROC PHREG), and GCO was analyzed using a logistic regression model (PROC LOGISTIC)1.

Abstinence Violation Effect (AVE)

Importantly, clinical assessment of drinking goal is a readily accessible clinical variable which, given the results presented herein, is potentially critical to treatment planning and prognosis. The harm reduction movement, and the wider shift toward addressing public health impacts of drug use, had both specific and diffuse effects on SUD treatment research. In 1990, Marlatt was introduced to the philosophy of harm reduction during a trip to the Netherlands (Marlatt, 1998). He adopted the language and framework of harm reduction in his own research, and in 1998 published a seminal book on harm reduction strategies for a range of substances and behaviors (Marlatt, 1998). Marlatt’s work inspired the development of multiple nonabstinence treatment models, including harm reduction psychotherapy (Blume, 2012; Denning, 2000; Tatarsky, 2002). Additionally, while early studies of SUD treatment used abstinence as the single measure of treatment effectiveness, by the late 1980s and early 1990s researchers were increasingly incorporating psychosocial, health, and quality of life measures (Miller, 1994).

It is important to highlight that most of the studies cited above did not provide goal-matched treatment; thus, these outcomes generally reflect differences between individuals with abstinence vs. non-abstinence goals who participated in abstinence-based AUD treatment. There are many relapse prevention models used in substance abuse treatment to counter AVE and give those in recovery important tools and coping skills. While there are many obstacles to the widespread acceptance of CD as a treatment approach (Sobell & Sobell 2006), it is important to note that not all individuals entering treatment do so with the goal of achieving abstinence. To that end, the use of abstinence as the dominant drinking goal across alcoholism treatment programs in the United States may in fact deter individuals who would otherwise seek treatment for alcohol problems should CD be proposed as an acceptable goal.

Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention programmes addressing not just the addictive behaviour, but also factors that contribute to it, thereby decreasing the probability of relapse. Addictive behaviours are characterized by a high degree of co-morbidity and these may interfere with treatment response. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is a structured, time limited, evidence based psychological therapy for a wide range of emotional and behavioural disorders, including addictive behaviours1,2.

  • While AUD treatment studies commonly rely on guidelines set by government agencies regarding a “low-risk” or “nonhazardous” level of alcohol consumption (e.g., Enggasser et al., 2015), no such guidelines exist for illicit drug use.
  • Moderation analyses suggested that RP was consistently efficacious across treatment modalities (individual vs. group) and settings (inpatient vs. outpatient)22.
  • In sum, research suggests that achieving and sustaining moderate substance use after treatment is feasible for between one-quarter to one-half of individuals with AUD when defining moderation as nonhazardous drinking.
  • In particular, medically oriented treatments emphasizing abstinence appear to be an effective and cost efficient treatment modality for patients whose goals are oriented toward complete abstinence.
  • Early learning theories and later social cognitive and cognitive theories have had a significant influence on the formulation CBT for addictive behaviours.

This literature – most of which has been conducted in the U.S. – suggests a strong link between abstinence goals and treatment entry. For example, in one study testing the predictive validity of a measure of treatment readiness among non-treatment-seeking people who use drugs, the authors found that the only item in their measure that significantly predicted future treatment entry was motivation to quit using (Neff & Zule, 2002). The study was especially notable because most other treatment readiness measures have been validated on treatment-seeking samples (see Freyer et al., 2004). This finding supplements the numerous studies that identify lack of readiness for abstinence as the top reason for non-engagement in SUD treatment, even among those who recognize a need for treatment (e.g., Chen, Strain, Crum, & Mojtabai, 2013; SAMHSA, 2019a).

Percent Days Abstinent

There are several approaches to education and skills training, and a person recovering from alcohol abuse may engage in multiple types of training, depending on their needs. As medical researchers develop a better understanding of addiction, and how it affects the brain and behavior on a long-term basis, more robust aftercare options are being developed and used. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) lists 13 Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment, which are based on research and studies into the best treatment options. Among those principles, NIDA notes that no single specific course of treatment is appropriate for everyone, and that a person’s treatment plan must be continually assessed and modified when necessary. These principles apply to the entire course of addiction recovery, from detox to recovery support years down the road.

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Further, the more non-drinking friends a person with an AUD has, the better outcomes tend to be. Negative social support in the form of interpersonal conflict and social pressure to use substances has been related to an increased risk for relapse. Social pressure may be experienced directly, such as peers trying to convince a person to use, or indirectly through modelling (e.g. a friend ordering a drink at dinner) and/or cue exposure. Harm reduction therapy has also been applied in group format, mirroring the approach and components of individual harm reduction psychotherapy but with added focus on building social support and receiving feedback and advice from peers (Little, 2006; Little & Franskoviak, 2010).

AVE and the 12-Step Approach

The dynamic model of relapse has generated enthusiasm among researchers and clinicians who have observed these processes in their data and their clients. There has been little research on the goals of non-treatment-seeking individuals; however, research suggests that nonabstinence goals are common even among individuals presenting to SUD treatment. Among those seeking treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), studies with large samples have cited rates of nonabstinence goals ranging from 17% (Berglund et al., 2019) to 87% (Enggasser et al., 2015). In Europe, about half (44–46%) of individuals seeking treatment for AUD have non-abstinence goals (Haug abstinence violation effect definition & Schaub, 2016; Heather, Adamson, Raistrick, & Slegg, 2010). In the U.S., about 25% of patients seeking treatment for AUD endorsed nonabstinence goals in the early 2010s (Dunn & Strain, 2013), while more recent clinical trials have found between 82 and 91% of those seeking treatment for AUD prefer nonabstinence goals (Falk et al., 2019; Witkiewitz et al., 2019). The results of the Sobell’s studies challenged the prevailing understanding of abstinence as the only acceptable outcome for SUD treatment and raised a number of conceptual and methodological issues (e.g., the Sobell’s liberal definition of controlled drinking; see McCrady, 1985).

Ecological momentary assessment, either via electronic device or interactive voice response methodology, could provide the data necessary to fully test the dynamic model of relapse19. Helping clients develop positive addictions or substitute indulgences (e.g. jogging, meditation, relaxation, exercise, hobbies, or creative tasks) also help to balance their lifestyle6. Shows a session by session cognitive-behavioural program for the treatment of pathological gamblers. However, there are some common early psychological signs that a relapse may be on the way. If you are worried that you might be headed for a relapse, you don’t have to wait until it happens to reach out for help.