The estimated number of Substance Users (SU) globally has currently reached a very high number and is still increasing. This aspect necessitates appropriate interventions for prevention and specific treatments. The literature shows that digital treatments can be useful in the context of health services and substance abuse. This systematic review focuses mainly on research on the effectiveness of digital treatments for SU. Data sources included studies found on PsycINFO, PubMed, SCOPUS, and WebOfScience (WOS) database searches. The following keywords were used: TITLE (digital OR computer OR software OR tablet OR app OR videogame OR seriousgame OR virtualreality) AND ABSTRACT((mental AND health) AND (addiction OR dependence OR substance OR drug)). We focused on peer-reviewed articles published from 2010 through 2021 using PRISMA guidelines. A total of 18 studies met the inclusion criteria (i.e., type of intervention, efficacy in terms of misuse of substances and scored outcomes from questionnaire or toxicology tests, study methodology). The studies included investigations of specific digital treatments for SU of various kinds of drugs. The interventions were administered using personal computers, smartphones, or, in a few cases, tablets. Most of the interventions focused on the cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) model and/or on the use strategies, tips, or feedback. A minority provided information or training programs. The current review shows that digital treatments and interventions are effective in reducing the frequency of use, augmenting abstinence, or reducing the gravity of dependence for most of the studies at post-treatment. However, due to the heterogeneity of the variables (i.e., substance type, digital tool used, and treatment administered), there was a reduced generalizability of the results. This review highlights the need to continue the research in this field, and above all, to create effective digital protocols.

Digital Help for Substance Users (SU): A Systematic Review

Bonfiglio, Natale Salvatore
;
Mascia, Maria Lidia;
2022-01-01

Abstract

The estimated number of Substance Users (SU) globally has currently reached a very high number and is still increasing. This aspect necessitates appropriate interventions for prevention and specific treatments. The literature shows that digital treatments can be useful in the context of health services and substance abuse. This systematic review focuses mainly on research on the effectiveness of digital treatments for SU. Data sources included studies found on PsycINFO, PubMed, SCOPUS, and WebOfScience (WOS) database searches. The following keywords were used: TITLE (digital OR computer OR software OR tablet OR app OR videogame OR seriousgame OR virtualreality) AND ABSTRACT((mental AND health) AND (addiction OR dependence OR substance OR drug)). We focused on peer-reviewed articles published from 2010 through 2021 using PRISMA guidelines. A total of 18 studies met the inclusion criteria (i.e., type of intervention, efficacy in terms of misuse of substances and scored outcomes from questionnaire or toxicology tests, study methodology). The studies included investigations of specific digital treatments for SU of various kinds of drugs. The interventions were administered using personal computers, smartphones, or, in a few cases, tablets. Most of the interventions focused on the cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) model and/or on the use strategies, tips, or feedback. A minority provided information or training programs. The current review shows that digital treatments and interventions are effective in reducing the frequency of use, augmenting abstinence, or reducing the gravity of dependence for most of the studies at post-treatment. However, due to the heterogeneity of the variables (i.e., substance type, digital tool used, and treatment administered), there was a reduced generalizability of the results. This review highlights the need to continue the research in this field, and above all, to create effective digital protocols.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1463144
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