Research on Outpatient Adolescent Treatment for Comorbid Substance Use and Internalizing Disorders

2014-07-23 21:09:18 | BioPortfolio


Adolescent substance abuse results in significant negative outcomes and extraordinary costs for youths, their families, communities, and society. Moreover, rates of psychiatric comorbidity among substance abusing youth range from 25% up to 82%, and youths with a dual diagnosis are more than twice as costly to treat compared to those with no comorbidity. The applicant principal investigator recently completed a NIDA-funded pilot project focused on developing and piloting a psychosocial treatment specifically for youth presenting for outpatient treatment with co-occurring substance use and internalizing (i.e., mood and/or anxiety) problems. Results were promising with the experimental group exhibiting significantly less substance use and more rapid reductions in anxiety and depressive symptoms compared to the control group. The proposed research is a randomized clinical trial (RCT) to compare the experimental treatment (OutPatient Treatment for Adolescents; OPT-A) to an "active placebo" on key clinical indices from pre-treatment through 18 months. The proposed RCT (n = 160) employs the treatment manual, quality assurance protocol, and therapist training protocol developed and successfully tested in the pilot study, to evaluate the efficacy of OPT-A for youth referred to outpatient treatment of co-occurring substance use and internalizing problems. The following outcomes will be evaluated: drug use; mental health; behavioral, school, peer, and family functioning; and consumer satisfaction. The intervention addresses one of the more prevalent and most challenging, costly, and understudied presenting problems among adolescent outpatients. If successful, this research could provide a considerable contribution in the treatment field for youth with co-occurring substance use and internalizing disorders.

Study Design

Primary Purpose: Treatment


Substance-Related Disorders


OutPatient Treatment for Adolescents (OPT-A)


Medical University of South Carolina, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Family Services Research Center
South Carolina
United States




Medical University of South Carolina

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-07-23T21:09:18-0400

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