Is Specialized Integrated Treatment for Comorbid Anxiety, Depression and Alcohol Dependence Better than Treatment as Usual in a Public Hospital Setting?

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Abstract

Aim

To assess the effectiveness of a 12 week specialized, integrated intervention for alcohol dependence with comorbid anxiety and/or mood disorder using a randomized design in an outpatient hospital setting.

Methods

Out of 86 patients meeting the inclusion criteria for alcohol dependence with suspicion of comorbid anxiety and/or depressive disorder, 57 completed a 3-week stabilization period (abstinence or significantly reduced consumption). Of these patients, 37 (65%) met a formal diagnostic assessment of an anxiety and/or depressive disorder and were randomized to either (a) integrated intervention (cognitive behavioural therapy) for alcohol, anxiety and/or depression, or (b) usual counselling care for alcohol problems.

Results

Intention-to-treat analyses revealed a beneficial treatment effect of integrated treatment relative to usual counselling care for the number of days to relapse (χ2 = 6.42, P < 0.05) and lapse (χ2 = 10.73, P < 0.01). In addition, there was a significant interaction effect of treatment and time for percentage days of abstinence (P < 0.05). For heavy drinking days, the treatment effect was mediated by changes in DASS anxiety (P < 0.05). There were no significant treatment interaction effects for DASS depression or anxiety symptoms.

Conclusions

These results provide support for integrated care in improving drinking outcomes for patients with alcohol dependence and comorbid depression/anxiety disorder.

Trial Registration

ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01941693.

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