Effective interventions in the problematic use of alcohol and other drugs


Synthesize and assess the available scientific evidence from the period 2008-2012 on interventions of demonstrated efficacy in the treatment and rehabilitation of adolescents and adults engaged in the problematic use of alcohol and other substances.

A systematic review was undertaken with search and analysis of national and international literature on the subject in Spanish and English in the main international databases: PubMed/MEDLINE, LILACS, Embase, PsycINFO, SciELO, the databases of the York University Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (DARE, ETS Database), the Cochrane Library, and other sources of gray literature. The search criteria included randomized clinical trials and systematic reviews but excluded observational studies, qualitative studies, and articles of poor methodological quality.

The final sample consisted of 69 studies. The psychosocial interventions shown to be effective were cognitive behavioral therapy, family interventions, self-help interventions using the Internet, couples behavioral therapy, community strengthening and family training, telephone monitoring and support, and integrated therapy for substance abuse disorder with anxiety and depression comorbidity. Pharmacological interventions of demonstrated effectiveness were acamprosate, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and benzodiazepines in problematic alcohol use, as well as maintenance therapy with high-dose opioids.

The demonstrated effectiveness of psychosocial and pharmacological interventions is slight but significant. However, strongly multidisciplinary interventions that use a cognitive behavioral approach and the involvement of people close to the consumer, as well as some of the specific pharmacological interventions, have been shown to yield the best results in terms of indicators of abstinence and prevention of relapses.

Lefio L. Á., Villarroel S.R., Rebolledo C., Zamorano P., & Rivas K. (2013). Effective interventions in the problematic use of alcohol and other drugs. Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública, 34(4), 257-266.
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