Study: Multidimensional approach better for recovering addicts

A multidimensional approach to treating addiction works better than programs that only help addicts wean themselves off drugs, a recent study found.

Multidimensional means addressing a person’s substance use while also tackling the biological, social, environmental, and mental health obstacles the addict must overcome.

“We analyzed 69 studies that measured outcomes from single- or multirecommendation approaches,” Dolores Albarracín, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who led the study, said. “Our aim was to determine the optimal number of interventions for intervention efficacy. We found that targeting multiple behaviors is necessary for changing drug-use outcomes, but less so for alcohol-use outcomes.”

Between 40 percent and 60 percent of patients undergoing medication-assisted treatment programs for substance use disorder will relapse, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Researchers found that previous studies on behavioral interventions aimed at reducing substance use produced no obvious improvements in the relapse rates. Instead, researchers discovered a positive association between the number of interventions a drug-treatment or prevention program included and its effectiveness in combatting nonmedical drug use.

The number of interventions worked with drug addicts but not alcoholics. Those individuals responded better when simple interventions were used that focused only on alcohol use.

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