Psychological treatment for methamphetamine use and associated psychiatric symptom outcomes: A systematic review

Alexandra M Stuart, Amanda L Baker, Alexandra M J Denham, Nicole K Lee, Alix Hall, Chris Oldmeadow, Adrian Dunlop, Jenny Bowman, Kristen McCarter
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 2020, 109: 61-79

BACKGROUND: Regular methamphetamine use is associated with increased rates of psychiatric symptoms. Although there has been a substantial body of research reporting on the effectiveness of psychological treatments for reducing methamphetamine use, there is a paucity of research examining the effects of these treatments on co-occurring psychiatric symptoms. We addressed this gap by undertaking a systematic review of the evidence of the effectiveness of psychological treatments for methamphetamine use on psychiatric symptom outcomes in randomized controlled trials.

METHODS: A narrative synthesis of studies was conducted following the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) statement to inform methodology. Eight electronic peer-reviewed databases were searched. Ten eligible studies were assessed.

RESULTS: Most studies found an overall reduction in levels of methamphetamine use and psychiatric symptoms among samples as a whole. Although brief interventions were effective, there is evidence that more intensive interventions have greater impact on methamphetamine use and/or psychiatric symptomatology. Intervention attendance was variable.

CONCLUSIONS: The evidence suggests that a variety of psychological treatments are effective in reducing levels of methamphetamine use and improving psychiatric symptoms. Future research should consider how psychological treatments could maximize outcomes in the co-occurring domains of methamphetamine use and psychiatric symptoms, with increasing treatment attendance as a focus. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42016043657.

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