| Published: December 31, 2020

The effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy for substance use disorders and the challenges in treating this client group: a review

Stuti Viren Kapadia

MSc in Mental Health Studies, King’s College London Google Scholar More about the auther

DIP: 18.01.112/20200804

DOI: 10.25215/0804.112


ObjectiveThe review article presents a critical evaluation of the effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) and the challenges faced in treating this client group. The review discusses the results of various systematic reviews and randomized control trials which will further help to formulate an intervention model, leading to improved health care services for people with substance use disorders. Method – The study aims to review the policy and guideline documents as well as the academic literature on effectiveness of CBT and the challenges faced. Literature searches of key health science databases such as PubMed, PsycINFO, Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Journal of Substance and Alcoholism were conducted using various search terms in combinations. Results – The policy and guideline documents as well as the academic literature highlight the effectiveness of CBT for substance use disorders along with other treatment models such as Mindfulness Based Therapy (MBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Relapse Prevention (RP). Conclusions – The CBT based intervention involves various intervention components such as functional analysis of substance use, identification of triggers for relapse, coping-skills training, behavioral skills training for drug-refusal, and increased activities not related to substance use. Although CBT proves to be effective and presents long-lasting effects, further developments on the mechanism of the application of the effects as well as treating the challenges faced are important to provide the best possible care.

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ISSN 2348-5396

ISSN 2349-3429



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Published in   Volume 08, Issue 4, October-December, 2020