Novel treatments for alcohol dependence: a randomised controlled trial of structured stepped-care intervention for psychiatric comorbidity

Paul S. Haber, Stefanie Leung, Andrew Baillie, Claudia Sannibale, Maree Teesson

    Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


    Introduction and Aims: A major barrier to successful treatment
    of alcohol dependence is psychiatric comorbidity. These comorbid
    disorders are associated with greater disability and greater use of
    health services, and also predict poor treatment response. This study
    aimed to improve treatment outcomes for people with alcohol
    dependence and comorbid anxiety and/or depression through
    implementation of a novel stepped care intervention.
    Design and Methods: This study adopted a randomised controlled
    parallel design. Thirty seven alcohol-dependent patients with a
    clinical diagnosis of anxiety and/or depression were included in the
    intention-to-treat analysis. Participants were randomised to one of
    two treatment arms: (i) a novel intervention comprising of specifi c
    cognitive behavioural therapy (n = 21); or (ii) usual-care typically
    comprising brief individualised motivation enhancement therapy
    (n = 16), and all were prescribed a concurrent 12 week course
    of anti-craving medication. Participants completed a series of
    questionnaires on alcohol consumption, severity of anxiety/depressive
    symptoms and service access at baseline and after 12 weeks on their
    allocated treatment.
    Results: Baseline characteristics were comparable for participants
    randomised to the novel intervention and usual-care. Following the
    12 week treatment period, novel intervention participants showed
    signifi cant resolution of their anxiety, stress and alcohol severity
    scores compared to usual care participants. They also attended
    signifi cantly more appointments over the treatment period and
    achieved signifi cantly higher rates of abstinence from drinking.
    Discussion and Conclusions: The novel stepped-care intervention
    in this study was more effective at achieving abstinence from drinking
    than the usual care intervention, and was also more successful in
    retaining patients to treatment. This provides support for the novel
    treatment being of value in improving treatment outcomes for
    patients with alcohol dependence and comorbid depression/anxiety
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number332
    Pages (from-to)37-37
    Number of pages1
    JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
    Issue numberS1
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011
    EventAustralasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs Conference 2011 - Hobart, Australia
    Duration: 13 Nov 201116 Nov 2011


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