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Psychosocial Treatment Approaches for Substance Use 

Psychosocial Treatment Approaches for Substance Use
Psychosocial Treatment Approaches for Substance Use

Lynn McFarr

, Julie Snyder

, Lisa Benson

, and Rachel Higier

Page of

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date: 25 July 2021

Multiple psychosocial treatments for substance-use disorders have been studied for efficacy. A recent meta-analysis indicates that psychosocial interventions are effective across multiple types of substances used. In the case of opiates, psychosocial interventions combined with medication appear to be the most effective. Many studies further agree that psychosocial interventions are an integral and necessary part of treating substance-use disorders. Although theoretical orientations may differ across psychosocial treatments, they have several principles and practices in common. All involve talk therapy or talk in communities as a way to clarify triggers, build commitment, and improve accountability. Many also target addiction behaviors and work to develop alternative contingencies to reduce or eliminate use. Finally, targeting repeated performance (or building “chains of committed behavior”) decreases the likelihood of relapse. This chapter discusses the most frequently studied and employed psychosocial treatments for substance use including CBT, motivational interviewing, contingency management, mindfulness, and community-based programs.

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