Home > Psychosocial interventions to reduce alcohol consumption in concurrent problem alcohol and illicit drug users.

Klimas, Jan and Tobin, Helen and Field, Catherine-Anne and O'Gorman, Clodagh SM and Glynn, Liam G and Keenan, Eamon and Saunders, Jean and Bury, Gerard and Dunne, Colum and Cullen, Walter [The Cochrane Library] . (2014) Psychosocial interventions to reduce alcohol consumption in concurrent problem alcohol and illicit drug users. London: Wiley. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 12 16 p. DOI 10.1002/14651858.CD009269.pub3

URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.100...


Which talking therapies (counselling) work for drug users with alcohol problems?

 

Review question

We wanted to determine whether talking therapies have an impact on alcohol problems in adult users of illicit drugs (mainly opiates and stimulants) and whether one type of therapy is more effective than another.

 

Background

Problematic use of alcohol (that is drinking above the recommended safe drinking limits) can lead to serious alcohol problems or dependence. Excessive drinking in people who also have problems with other drugs is common and often makes these problems worse as well as having serious health consequences for the person involved.

 

Psychosocial interventions are talking therapies that aim to identify an alcohol problem and motivate an individual to do something about it. They can be performed by trained staff (for example, doctors, nurses, counsellors, psychologists, etc.). Talking therapies may help people reduce their drinking but their impact in people who also have problems with other drugs is unknown.

 

Search date: The evidence is current to June 2014.

 

Study characteristics

We found four studies that examined 594 people with drug problems. One study focused on the way people think and act versus an approach based on Alcoholics Anonymous, aiming to motivate the person to develop a desire to stop using drugs or alcohol. One study looked at a practice that aimed to identify and alcohol problem and motivate the person to do something about it versus usual treatment. One study looked at a counselling style for helping people to explore and resolve doubts about changing their behaviour (group and individual format) versus hepatitis health promotion. The last study looked at the same style versus assessment-only.

 

Key results

Overall, there was low-quality evidence only for the comparisons reported in this review.

- The studies were so different that we could not combine their results to answer our question.

- It remains uncertain whether talking therapies affect drinking in people who have problems with both alcohol and other drugs because of the low quality of the evidence.

- It remains uncertain whether talking therapies for drinking affect illicit drug use in people who have problems with both alcohol and other drugs. There was not enough information to compare different types of talking therapies.

- Many of the studies did not account for possible sources of bias.

- More high-quality studies, such as randomised controlled trials, are needed to answer our question.

Item Type:Evidence resource
Publication Type:Review
Drug Type:Alcohol, Alcohol or other drugs in general
Intervention Type:Psychosocial treatment method
Source:The Cochrane Library
Date:August 2014
Pages:16 p.
Publisher:Wiley
Place of Publication:London
Volume:12
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Electronic Only)
Subjects:J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Health care administration > Health care quality control
A Drugs and alcohol use, abuse, and dependence > Prevalence of drugs and alcohol use > Problem drugs and alcohol use
HJ Treatment method > Psychosocial treatment method
G Health and disease > Drugs and alcohol disorder > Multiple drugs and alcohol use (Polydrug)

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