April 26, 2006
Contact: Tom Capezzuto
Phone: (973) 972-3000
UMDNJ Researchers Find Integrated Treatment Programs
Improve Outcomes in Those With Alcohol, Drug Addictions
PISCATAWAY—Addressing both the addictions and the associated mental health problems of those battling alcoholism and drug addiction with one integrated treatment program has improved outcomes, according to researchers at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
Health services researchers at the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway will present their findings from a study on Thursday, April 27, at 3 p.m. at the Department of Psychiatry Annual Research Poster Meeting. The findings are from the UMDNJ Co-Occurring Disorder Project study of 300 patients who were counseled and treated in 10 outpatient addiction treatment programs in central New Jersey, said Dr. Douglas M. Ziedonis, a professor of psychiatry and substance abuse expert at the medical school.
"We found that if both the mental health and addiction problems are not duly addressed during treatment, then clinical outcomes often are poor," Dr. Ziedonis said. The poor outcomes include early treatment dropout, accelerated relapse to substance abuse, suicidal attempts, and an increased use of expensive emergency room, detoxification and inpatient psychiatric treatment services, he noted.
These programs enhanced their services to provide two different program models of treatment for persons with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders. The two models were the consultant-integrated versus fully-integrated program models for co-occurring disorders.
"The study found that patients in both types of programs reported significant improvement in their addiction and psychiatric problems, as well as other aspects of addiction-related problems," Dr. Ziedonis said. In terms of substance abuse outcomes, 69 percent of the patients stayed abstinent from their primary substance of addiction during the 12-month follow-up.
Among these patients, 74 percent remained substance free, excluding cigarettes. Both treatment groups reported significant reductions in severity scores of both alcohol and drug use from baseline to the 12-month follow-up - a 26 to 33 percent reduction in alcohol use severity, and a 40 to 48 percent reduction in drug use severity.
Patients in both treatment programs reported a 27 to 35 percent reduction in mental health problems after six months, and there was a reported 33 to 40 percent reduction after 12 months, Dr. Ziedonis added. Overall, he said the severity scores of psychiatric problems were reduced by 37 percent after 12 months for both groups, and the composite score for psychological problems were reduced by 35 to 47 percent.
The study also revealed that both groups at baseline had individuals at high risk for HIV transmission (shared needles, multiple sex partners and unprotected sex). After the 12-month follow-up, there was a general reduction of the number of people in the high risk group and both programs were able to help their patients to reduce HIV risk behaviors. The UMDNJ staff also worked closely with family members to further implement change in the lives of those who were treated, Dr. Ziedonis said.
April is Alcohol Awareness Month.
To interview Dr. Ziedonis, call Tom Capezzuto at (973) 972-7273.