Substance Use and Addiction Research: Methodology, Mechanisms, and Therapeutics

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Book Chapter

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Alan David Kaye; Elyse M. Cornett


Meta-analyses are often regarded as the gold standard concerning research regarding recommendations and guidelines for the field. Substance misuse research has become increasingly common, with many different findings in the field emerging over the past decade. The need for systematic reviews of this literature has become increasingly important to bolster evidence-based recommendations in the specialty. This chapter focuses on the importance of meta-analyses, acceptable research methods for conducting these studies, valid statistical methods, and common research checklists to accompany the studies when submitting journals for publication. The chapter concludes with examples of meta-analyses of substance misuse risk factors and substance misuse disorders managements that have been published. Current examples of meta-analyses of substance misuse risk factors indicate that unemployed individuals are more likely to be alcohol consumers and smokers, more likely to develop alcohol and drug use disorders than employed individuals, and are at higher risk of developing substance use disorders (SUDs) and at higher risk of relapsing. There is also evidence to suggest that SUDs negatively impact individuals’ employment rates. Current examples of meta-analyses of substance misuse disorder management show that mindfulness treatment reduces the frequency and severity of substance misuse, the intensity of craving for psychoactive substances, and the severity of stress. It also increases rates of posttreatment abstinence from cigarette smoking compared to alternatives. Physical exercise effectively increases the abstinence rate, easing withdrawal symptoms, and reduces anxiety and depression related to substance abuse. Cognitive behavioral therapy is effective at managing alcohol and other SUDs. Psychosocial treatment also effectively manages SUD, with the greatest efficacy for cannabis use and lowest efficacy for polysubstance use.

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Chapter Title

Chapter 12 - Systematic review and meta-analysis