Psychosocial interventions in stimulant use disorders: a focus on women

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Stimulant use disorders are significant contributors to the global burden of disease, with a growing impact on women. Psychosocial interventions are the gold standard for treating this condition, but several barriers may prevent women from accessing appropriate treatment. Therefore, we systematically reviewed the most recent findings about psychosocial interventions for stimulant use disorders, focussing on results relevant to women.

Recent findings

Twenty-two eligible studies were identified. Psychosocial interventions in stimulant use disorders were examined in 17 recent studies, but no analyses for sex-related differences were performed. These aspects were investigated in further five studies, either through secondary analyses on the female subgroup or specifically examining a female-only sample. Contingency management, either alone or in combination with other interventions, provided the most positive results on several outcome measures. Only one pilot study showed good potential for an alternative approach of systemic family therapy, warranting further research in this direction.

Summary

Research in stimulant use disorders shows an increasing interest in exploring interventions capable of addressing sex-specific issues. Combined therapy including contingency management and other treatments appears the most promising option, but larger secondary studies are needed to rank the efficacy of different psychosocial interventions while considering their feasibility and acceptability in specific subpopulations, including women.

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