Substance and Alcohol Use Disorders

Are there caveats to be aware of?

Glad you asked. Yes, please keep the following in mind.

1. The treatments identified in this section do not signify “endorsement” by the Society of Addiction Psychology. The material provided is for informational purposes only, as a public service.

2. Use clinical judgment. The decision to apply any treatment should be made only by qualified professionals trained as needed in the treatment approach and problem area. In other words, stay ethical and remember, “first, do no harm.” Also, as you know, each client’s history, background, culture, and other factors may call for specific needs. The criteria we used do not address negative nor conflicting findings. The Chambless and Hollon criteria were designed to identify minimum standards to identify treatments as well-established or probably efficacious. As long as the treatment met such criteria, it is included. The criteria do not, however, specify how to handle studies whose findings contradict each other, nor studies with null findings. Future criteria sets may help elaborate on these important issues. In other words, do not “blame the messenger” if you have concerns about the Chambless and Hollon criteria- that was our task, and we stuck to it (even though we too look forward to more refined criteria over time).

3. The treatments identified in this section are not comprehensive. There was no exhaustive search to identify all possible treatments for inclusion. As notedelsewhere, we created a process by which treatments were submitted for consideration. We will continue to evaluate treatments as they are submitted.

4. Some treatments are specific to a substance; others are not. For example, one treatment may have been developed and tested for cocaine dependence; another may have been developed for any substance and tested on heterogeneous samples with regard to diagnosis, substance of choice, etc. Note that SUD samples tend to be highly comorbid in terms of both other psychiatric conditions and other SUD conditions. Thus, evidence for the model should be considered in light of the population(s) it was studied on, as well as relevance to your clinical setting.

5. We use the term “substance use disorders” given the state of the literature. The broader DSM-IV-TR term is substance-related disorders, but that includes various types of induced disorders (by medications, medical illnesses, etc.). As no psychological treatments as yet address these, we have selected the more relevant term, “substance use disorders” (SUD).