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Family interventions were at the heart of the UK government’s ambition to ‘turn round’ the lives of 120,000 troubled families in England. In respect of drink and drug problems, substantial remission was seen, but the featured study could not show whether this was due to the interventions, and a report on a successor programme found no significant impacts.
STUDY 2011 HTM file
Treatment of adolescents with a cannabis use disorder: Main findings of a randomized controlled trial comparing multidimensional family therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy in The Netherlands
US research led by the programme’s developers has found that a family therapy which intervenes across a child’s social environment is more effective than alternatives for problem substance using teenagers, but this independent Dutch study found one-to-one cognitive-behavioural therapy just as effective, a finding at odds with the five-nation European study of which it formed a part.
As this review comments, people treated for substance use often remain precariously balanced between recovery and relapse. Widely seen as valuable if not essential, aftercare is nevertheless more the exception than the rule. How to reverse that ratio is the issue addressed by these leading US analysts.
Data from Britain's largest alcohol treatment trial is used to address possibly the most contentious issue in the field – whether services should offer moderation as well as abstinence goals to dependent clients. 'Let the patient choose' seems the general conclusion.
STUDY 2010 HTM file
Review of treatment for cocaine dependence
This comprehensive review found strong evidence that some drugs can help treat cocaine dependence and that cognitive-behavioural therapy is a powerful tool to manage cravings and stresses, especially when allied with effective pharmacotherapies.
REVIEW 2010 HTM file
Cost-effectiveness of family-based substance abuse treatment
For suitable patients, family-based therapies are among the most effective – but are they the most cost-effective? Not always finds this US-focused review, which argues that to compete in today's financially sensitive health care system, treatments must deliver the most clinical outcomes per unit of cost.
STUDY 2010 HTM file
Disulfiram in severe alcoholism – an open controlled study
From Denmark a randomised trial of disulfiram in the treatment of alcohol dependence reveals the major weakness of the treatment - that among some sets of patients, few will consistently take tablets they know will cause unpleasant effects if they drink.
2010 English national drug strategy: "A fundamental difference [from] those that have gone before is that instead of focusing primarily on reducing the harms caused by drug misuse, [we will] go much further and offer every support for people to choose recovery as an achievable way out of dependency."
STUDY 2010 HTM file
A randomized pilot study of the Engaging Moms Program for family drug court
US researchers may have found a better way to support mothers at risk of losing custody of their children so they engage in and benefit from substance use treatment and meet family court requirements, meaning more children can safely stay with their parents.
Review finds multidimensional family therapy more effective than group therapies and other psychosocial therapies, particularly among adolescents with severe substance use and other behavioural problems.
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