Developing an Integrated Treatment for Substance Use and Depression Using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Published In: Journal of Substance Abuse treatment, v. 37, no. 4, Dec. 2009, p. 412-420

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2009

by Karen Chan Osilla, Kimberly A. Hepner, Stephanie Woo, Katherine E. Watkins

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Providing a unified treatment approach to meet the substance abuse and mental health needs of clients is the preferred model for addressing co-occurring disorders. The authors developed a group-based cognitive-behavioral (CBT) integrated treatment for depression and substance use disorders (SUD) that could be delivered by counselors in SUD treatment settings and evaluated its feasibility and acceptability. The authors conducted an in-depth case study examining one implementation of the treatment using 15 focus groups with clients (n = 7) and semistructured interviews with counselors (n = 2) and administrators (n = 3). Using CBT as a treatment approach to integrate the treatment was widely accepted by clients, counselors, and administrators. Clients stated the treatment was applicable to multiple aspects of their lives and allowed them to recognize their clinical improvements over time. Counselors and administrators discussed challenges for long-term feasibility. Key decisions used to develop the treatment and recommendations for implementing integrated care in SUD settings are discussed.

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