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Group Therapy for Substance Use Disorders

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Textbook of Addiction Treatment: International Perspectives

Abstract

Group therapy is the predominant type of behavioral therapy offered in substance use disorder treatment settings. This chapter provides an overview of the research literature on the efficacy of group therapy for substance use disorders and discusses research challenges and important future directions in the study of group therapy. Research on the efficacy of group therapy for substance use disorders has generally found that it is associated with superior outcomes compared to no treatment or treatment as usual. Studies examining the combination of group therapy with other forms of treatment, such as pharmacotherapy, have been mixed, with some studies finding additive benefits and others finding no benefit. However, group therapy appears to be equally as effective as individual therapy and may offer cost benefits relative to individual treatment. Group therapy for co-occurring substance use disorders and other psychiatric disorders, such as bipolar disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder, is associated with benefits for both disorders. Due to a number of difficulties with conducting research on group therapy, this treatment modality remains understudied compared to individual therapy. Additional research is needed to identify the most effective types of group therapy and its optimal delivery method, either alone or in combination with other therapies.

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Acknowledgments

Dr. Weiss’s effort on this chapter was supported in part by award K24 DA022288 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

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Correspondence to R. Kathryn McHugh .

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McHugh, R.K., Park, S., Weiss, R.D. (2015). Group Therapy for Substance Use Disorders. In: el-Guebaly, N., Carrà, G., Galanter, M. (eds) Textbook of Addiction Treatment: International Perspectives. Springer, Milano. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-88-470-5322-9_42

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-88-470-5322-9_42

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