Research shows that digital social network sites (SNSs) may be valuable platforms to effect health behavior change. Little is known specifically about their ability to help address alcohol and other drug problems. This gap is noteworthy, given that individuals are already participating in existing, recovery-specific SNSs (hereafter referred to as recovery SNSs): online communities with the functionality of conventional SNSs (e.g., Facebook) that focus on substance use disorder (SUD) recovery. For example, InTheRooms.com (ITR) is a large, well-known recovery SNS that is available for free 24 hr/day via website and mobile smartphone applications. It offers recovery tools within a digital social milieu for over 430,000 registered users. To augment the knowledge base on recovery SNS platforms, we conducted an online survey of 123 ITR participants (M = 50.8 years old; 56.9% female; 93.5% White; M = 7.3 years of abstinence, range of 0-30 years; 65% cited alcohol as their primary substance). Respondents engaged with ITR, on average, for about 30 min/day several times each week. Daily meditation prompts and live online video meetings were the most commonly utilized resources. Participants generally endorsed ITR as a helpful platform, particularly with respect to increased abstinence/recovery motivation and self-efficacy. Compared to individuals abstinent for 1 or more years, those abstinent less than 1 year (including nonabstinent individuals) showed similar rates of engagement with ITR activities and similar levels of perceived benefit. Our findings suggest that longitudinal studies are warranted to examine the clinical utility of ITR and other recovery SNSs as SUD treatment adjuncts and/or recovery self-management tools. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved).
BACKGROUND: Only 10% of people with substance use disorder (SUD) receive treatment, partially due to inadequate access to specialty SUD care and limited management within primary care. "Recovery coaches" (RCs), peers sharing the lived experience of addiction and recovery, are increasingly being integrated into primary care to help reach and treat people experiencing SUD, yet little is known about how their role should be defined or about their clinical integration and impact.
METHODS: Semistructured interviews with RCs (n = 5) and their patients (n = 16) were used to explore patient and RC perspectives on the RC role. Maximum variation sampling was employed to select patients who displayed diversity across gender, RC, housing status, and number of contacts with an RC. Patients were sampled until no new concepts emerged from additional interviews, and a semistructured interview guide was used for data collection. To analyze interview transcripts, the constant comparative method was used to develop and assign inductively developed codes. Two coders separately coded all transcripts and reconciled code assignments.
RESULTS: Four core RC activities were identified: system navigation, supporting behavior change, harm reduction, and relationship building. Across these activities, benefits of the RC role emerged, including accessibility, shared experiences, motivation of behavior change, and links to social services. Challenges of the RC model were also evident: patient discomfort with asking for help, lack of clarity in RC role, and tension within the care team.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings shed light on RCs in primary care. Many patients and coaches perceived that RCs play a valuable role within primary care, providing both tangible system navigation and intangible, social support that promote recovery and might not otherwise be available. Enhanced communication between RCs and health center leadership in defining the RC role may help resolve ambiguity and related tensions between RCs and care team members.
Objective: Compared with older adults, emerging adults (18-29 years old) entering treatment typically have less severe alcohol use consequences. Also, their unique clinical presentations (e.g., modest initial abstinence motivation) and developmental contexts (e.g., drinking-rich social networks) may make a straightforward implementation of treatments developed for adults less effective. Yet, this has seldom been examined empirically. This study was a secondary analysis of Project MATCH (Matching Alcoholism Treatments to Client Heterogeneity) data examining (a) overall differences between emerging adults and older adults (≥30 years old) on outcomes during treatment and at 1-year follow-up, and (b) whether emerging adults had poorer outcomes on any of the three Project MATCH treatments in particular.
Method: Participants were 267 emerging adults and 1,459 older adults randomly assigned to individually delivered cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational enhancement therapy (MET), or 12-step facilitation (TSF). Multilevel growth curve models tested differences on percentage of days abstinent (PDA) and drinks per drinking day (DDD) by age group and treatment assignment.
Results: During treatment, compared with older adults, emerging adults reported more DDD but similar PDA. Further, emerging adults assigned to TSF had less PDA and more DDD than emerging adults and older adults assigned to CBT or MET during treatment (i.e., emerging adults in TSF has poorer outcomes initially), but this matching effect was not evident at 1-year follow-up.
Conclusions: This study is among the first to test age group differences across three psychosocial interventions shown to be efficacious treatments for alcohol use disorder. Although emerging adults generally did as well as their older counterparts, they may require a more developmentally sensitive approach to bolster TSF effects during treatment.
BACKGROUND: Having high-risk, substance-using friends is associated with young adult substance use disorder (SUD) relapse. It is unclear, however, whether it is the total number of high-risk friends, or the amount of time spent with high-risk friends that leads to relapse. Unclear also, is to what extent low-risk friends buffer risk. This study examined the influence of number of high-risk and low-risk friends, and the amount time spent with these friends on post-treatment percent days abstinent (PDA).
METHOD: Young adult inpatients (N=302) were assessed at intake, and 3, 6, and 12 months on social network measures and PDA. Mixed models tested for effects of number of high- and low-risk friends, and time spent with these friends on PDA, and for net-risk friend effects to test whether low-risk friends offset risk.
RESULTS: Within and across assessments, number of, and time spent with high-risk friends was negatively associated with PDA, while the inverse was true for low-risk friends. Early post-treatment, time spent with friends more strongly predicted PDA than number of friends. Participants were more deleteriously affected by time with high-risk friends the longer they were out of treatment, while contemporaneously protection conferred by low-risk friends increased. This interaction effect, however, was not observed with number of high- or low-risk friends, or number of friends net-risk.
CONCLUSIONS: Young adult SUD patients struggling to break ties with high-risk friends should be encouraged to minimize time with them. Clinicians should also encourage patients to grow their social network of low-risk friends.
PURPOSE: The usefulness of mobile technology in supporting smoking cessation has been demonstrated, but little is known about how smartphone apps could best be leveraged. The purpose of this paper is to describe the program of research that led to the creation of a smoking cessation app for non-daily smokers, so as to stimulate further ideas to create "smart" smartphone apps to support health behavior change.
METHOD: Literature reviews to evaluate the appropriateness of the proposed app, content analyses of existing apps, and smoking cessation sessions with non-daily smokers (n = 38) to inform the design of the app.
RESULTS: The literature reviews showed that (1) smoking cessation apps are sought after by smokers, (2) positive affect plays an important role in smoking cessation, (3) short, self-administered exercises consistently bring about enduring positive affect enhancements, and (4) low treatment-seeking rates of non-daily smokers despite high motivation to quit indicate a need for novel smoking cessation support. Directed content analyses of existing apps indicated that tailoring, two-way interactions, and proactive features are under-utilized in existing apps, despite the popularity of such features. Conventional content analyses of audio-recorded session tapes suggested that difficulty in quitting was generally linked to specific, readily identifiable occasions, and that social support was considered important but not consistently sought out.
CONCLUSION: The "Smiling Instead of Smoking" (SIS) app is an Android app that is designed to act as a behavioral, in-the-pocket coach to enhance quitting success in non-daily smokers. It provides proactive, tailored behavioral coaching, interactive tools (e.g., enlisting social support), daily positive psychology exercises, and smoking self-monitoring.
Clinical guidelines recommend Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART Recovery) and 12-step models of mutual aid as important sources of long-term support for addiction recovery. Methodologically rigorous reviews of the efficacy and potential mechanisms of change are available for the predominant 12-step approach. A similarly rigorous exploration of SMART Recovery has yet to be undertaken. We aim to address this gap by providing a systematic overview of the evidence for SMART Recovery in adults with problematic alcohol, substance, and/or behavioral addiction, including (i) a commentary on outcomes assessed, process variables, feasibility, current understanding of mental health outcomes, and (ii) a critical evaluation of the methodology. We searched six electronic peer-reviewed and four gray literature databases for English-language SMART Recovery literature. Articles were classified, assessed against standardized criteria, and checked by an independent assessor. Twelve studies (including three evaluations of effectiveness) were identified. Alcohol-related outcomes were the primary focus. Standardized assessment of nonalcohol substance use was infrequent. Information about behavioral addiction was restricted to limited prevalence data. Functional outcomes were rarely reported. Feasibility was largely indexed by attendance. Economic analysis has not been undertaken. Little is known about the variables that may influence treatment outcome, but attendance represents a potential candidate. Assessment and reporting of mental health status was poor. Although positive effects were found, the modest sample and diversity of methods prevent us from making conclusive remarks about efficacy. Further research is needed to understand the clinical and public health utility of SMART as a viable recovery support option.
(PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved).
BACKGROUND: Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a world-wide recovery mutual-help organization that continues to arouse controversy. In large part, concerns persist because of AA's ostensibly quasi-religious/spiritual orientation and emphasis. In 1990 the United States' Institute of Medicine called for more studies on AA's effectiveness and its mechanisms of behavior change (MOBC) stimulating a flurry of federally funded research. This paper reviews the religious/spiritual origins of AA and its program and contrasts its theory with findings from this latest research.
METHOD: Literature review, summary and synthesis of studies examining AA's MOBC.
RESULTS: While AA's original main text ('the Big Book', 1939) purports that recovery is achieved through quasi-religious/spiritual means ('spiritual awakening'), findings from studies on MOBC suggest this may be true only for a minority of participants with high addiction severity. AA's beneficial effects seem to be carried predominantly by social, cognitive and affective mechanisms. These mechanisms are more aligned with the experiences reported by AA's own larger and more diverse membership as detailed in its later social, cognitive and behaviorally oriented publications (e.g. Living Sober, 1975) written when AA membership numbered more than a million men and women.
CONCLUSIONS: Alcoholics Anonymous appears to be an effective clinical and public health ally that aids addiction recovery through its ability to mobilize therapeutic mechanisms similar to those mobilized in formal treatment, but is able to do this for free over the long term in the communities in which people live.
BACKGROUND: Substance use disorders (SUDs) are highly prevalent among primary care patients. One evidence-based, cost-effective referral option is ubiquitous mutual help organizations (MHOs) such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and SMART Recovery; however, little is known about how to effectively increase trainee knowledge and confidence with these referrals. The primary aim of this study was to evaluate whether a single 45-minute combined lecture and role play-based didactic for primary care residents could enhance knowledge, improve attitudes, and bolster confidence in referring patients with addictions to community MHOs.
METHODS: The authors developed a 45-minute lecture and role play addressing the evidence for MHOs, their respective background/content, and how to make effective referrals. Participants were administered a brief survey of their MHO-related knowledge, attitudes, and confidence before and after the session to evaluate the didactic impact.
RESULTS: Participants were 55 primary care and categorical internal medicine residents divided among postgraduate year 1 (PGY1; 27.3%), PGY2 (38.2%), and PGY3 (34.5%). They had a mean age of 29 (SD = 2.62); 49% were female, 69% were Caucasian, and 78% reported some religious affiliation. Participants' subjective knowledge about MHOs increased significantly (P < .001), as did their confidence in making referrals (P < .001). Changes in participants' attitudes about the importance of MHOs in aiding successful addiction recovery approached significance (P = .058). The proportion of participants with correct responses to each of 4 knowledge-based questions increased substantially.
CONCLUSIONS: Primary care and internal medicine residents reported variable baseline knowledge of MHOs and confidence in making referrals, both of which were improved in response to a 45-minute didactic. Role play may be a useful supplementary tool in enhancing residents' knowledge and skill in treating patients with SUD.
KEYWORDS:Alcoholics Anonymous; Substance use disorder; medical education; mutual help; self-help groups; substance addiction
Kelly, J. F., & Renner, J. (2016). Alcohol related disorders. In T. A. Stern, M. Fava, T. Wilens, & J. F. Rosenbaum (Ed.), Massachusetts General Hospital comprehensive clinical psychiatry (2nd ed. pp. 270-290) . Philadelphia: Elsevier.
Kelly, J. F., & Humphreys, K. (2016). Recovery: The many paths to wellness. . In: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Surgeon General: Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. Washington, DC: HHS.
AIMS: Within 12-step mutual-help organizations (MHOs), a sponsor plays a key recovery-specific role analogous to a 'lay therapist', serving as a role model, support and mentor. Research shows that attendees who have a sponsor have higher rates of abstinence and remission from substance use disorder (SUD), yet, while myriad formal psychotherapy studies demonstrate the therapeutic significance of the alliance between patients and professional clinicians on treatment outcomes, very little is known about the influence of the 'therapeutic alliance' between 12-step members and their sponsor. Greater knowledge about this key 12-step relationship could help explain greater degrees of 12-step effects. To bridge this gap, this study sought to develop and test a measure assessing the 12-step sponsee-sponsor therapeutic alliance--the Sponsor Alliance Inventory (SAI).
METHOD: Young adults (N = 302) enrolled in a prospective effectiveness study who reported having a 12-step sponsor during the study (N = 157) were assessed at treatment entry, and 3, 6 and 12 months later on the SAI, their 12-step MHO attendance, involvement and percent days abstinent (PDA).
RESULTS: Principal axis extraction revealed a single, 10-item, internally consistent (α's ≥ 0.95) scale that explained the majority of variance and was largely invariant to primary substance, gender and time. Criterion validity was also supported with higher SAI scores predicting greater proximal 12-step attendance, involvement and PDA.
CONCLUSION: The SAI may serve as a brief, valid measure to assess the degree of sponsee-sponsor 'therapeutic alliance' within 12-step communities and may help augment explanatory models estimating the effects of MHOs on recovery outcomes.
Increased opioid-related morbidity and mortality in the United States has triggered considerable professional, public, and political alarm and a wide array of community and clinical responses. The potential role of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) as a recovery support resource is rarely noted within recent media and professional reports addressing opioid addiction. In this brief review and commentary, the authors compare public and professional misconceptions about NA with the findings of available scientific studies of NA. The authors conclude that NA is an underutilized resource in contemporary responses to opioid addiction.
The language used to describe health conditions reflects and influences our attitudes and approaches to addressing them, even to the extent of suggesting that a health condition is a moral, social, or criminal issue. The language and terminology we use is particularly important when it comes to highly stigmatized and life-threatening conditions, such as those relating to alcohol and other drugs. Scientific research has demonstrated that, whether we are aware of it, the use of certain terms implicitly generates biases that can influence the formation and effectiveness of our social and public health policies in addressing them. Such research has made it difficult to trivialize or dismiss the terminology debate as merely “semantics” or a linguistic preference for “political correctness.” Furthermore, given that alcohol and other drug-related conditions are among the top public health concerns in the United States and in most English speaking countries globally (e.g., United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland), this is no trivial matter. In this article, the authors detail the conceptual and empirical basis for the need to avoid using certain terms and to reach consensus on an “addiction-ary.” The authors conclude that consistent use of agreed-upon terminology will aid precise and unambiguous clinical and scientific communication and help reduce stigmatizing and discriminatory public health and social policies.
Substance use and substance-related disorders are among the most prodigious public health problems in the United States. Emerging adults (ages 18–25) appear to carry a disproportionately large share of this societal burden, as they are more than twice as likely as adolescents and older adults to be diagnosed with substance use disorders (SUDs), and comprise more than 20% of SUD treatment seekers. Described as the "age of feeling in-between," emerging adulthood is associated with a biopsychosocial profile distinct from both adolescence and older adulthood, making members of this age group unique and challenging clinical cases. Data suggest that although emerging adults can benefit from cognitive-behavioral (CB) and other psychosocial treatments for SUD, they are likely to have poorer treatment response than their younger and older counterparts. Therefore, we propose several theoretically and empirically-grounded treatment modifications for this vulnerable group, such as parent counseling (or "coaching") to facilitate better treatment engagement and benefit via contingency management. A case example is used to illustrate challenges typical in SUD treatment for emerging adults and how a CB practitioner might choose to modify his/her approach based on the proposed modifications. We also offer several recommendations for practitioners who wish to address their patients' SUD or harmful substance use when it is not the primary focus of treatment.
Introduction: Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART Recovery) offers an alternative to predominant 12-step approaches to mutual aid (eg, alcoholics anonymous). Although the principles (eg, self-efficacy) and therapeutic approaches (eg, motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioural therapy) of SMART Recovery are evidence based, further clarity regarding the direct evidence of its effectiveness as a mutual aid package is needed. Relative to methodologically rigorous reviews supporting the efficacy of 12-step approaches, to date, reviews of SMART Recovery have been descriptive. We aim to address this gap by providing a comprehensive overview of the evidence for SMART Recovery in adults with problematic alcohol, substance and/or behavioural addiction, including a commentary on outcomes assessed, potential mediators, feasibility (including economic outcomes) and a critical evaluation of the methods used.
Methods and analysis: Methods are informed by the Cochrane Guidelines for Systematic Reviews and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis statement. 6 electronic peer-reviewed and 4 grey literature databases have been identified. Preliminary searches have been conducted for SMART Recovery literature (liberal inclusion criteria, not restricted to randomised controlled trials (RCTs), qualitative-only designs excluded). Eligible ‘evaluation’ articles will be assessed against standardised criteria and checked by an independent assessor. The searches will be re-run just before final analyses and further studies retrieved for inclusion. A narrative synthesis of the findings will be reported, structured around intervention type and content, population characteristics, and outcomes. Where possible, ‘summary of findings’ tables will be generated for each comparison. When data are available, we will calculate a risk ratio and its 95% CI (dichotomous outcomes) and/or effect size according to Cohen's formula (continuous outcomes) for the primary outcome of each trial.
Introduction: Smartphone technology is ideally suited to provide tailored smoking cessation support, yet it is unclear to what extent currently existing smartphone “apps” use tailoring, and if tailoring is related to app popularity and user-rated quality.
Methods: We conducted a content analysis of Android smoking cessation apps ( n = 225), downloaded between October 1, 2013 to May 31, 2014. We recorded app popularity (>10 000 downloads) and user-rated quality (number of stars) from Google Play, and coded the existence of tailoring features in the apps within the context of using the 5As (“ask,” “advise,” “assess,” “assist,” and “arrange follow-up”), as recommended by national clinical practice guidelines.
Results: Apps largely provided simplistic tools (eg, calculators, trackers), and used tailoring sparingly: on average, apps addressed 2.1±0.9 of the 5As and used tailoring for 0.7±0.9 of the 5As. Tailoring was positively related to app popularity and user-rated quality: apps that used two-way interactions (odds ratio [ OR ] = 5.56 [2.45–12.62]), proactive alerts ( OR = 3.80 [1.54–9.38]), responsiveness to quit status ( OR = 5.28 [2.18–12.79]), addressed more of the 5As ( OR = 1.53 [1.10–2.14]), used tailoring for more As ( OR = 1.67 [1.21–2.30]), and/or used more ways of tailoring 5As content ( OR = 1.35 [1.13–1.62]) were more likely to be frequently downloaded. Higher star ratings were associated with a higher number of 5As addressed ( b = 0.16 [0.03–0.30]), a higher number of 5As with any level of tailoring ( b = 0.14 [0.01–0.27]), and a higher number of ways of tailoring 5As content ( b = 0.08 [0.002–0.15]).
Conclusions: Publically available smartphone smoking cessation apps are not particularly “smart”: they commonly fall short of providing tailored feedback, despite users’ preference for these features.