Substance use

Therapies for dual diagnosis

What is dual diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis is a term that refers to having both a mental illness and a substance abuse problem. Studies of dual diagnosis investigate the effectiveness and availability of treatments for improving outcomes relating to either diagnosis, such as symptoms, functioning, quality of life, substance use, or cognitive problems.

What is the evidence for the effectiveness of therapy for dual diagnosis?

Moderate quality evidence suggests a medium-sized benefit of motivational interviewing with or without cognitive behavioural therapy for reducing the amount of cannabis used, but no benefit for reducing frequency of cannabis use. There may also be a small benefit for positive, but not negative symptoms.

Moderate to low quality evidence finds less hospitalisations with contingency management (positive rewards), but more loss to treatment compared to treatment as usual.

Low quality evidence is unclear of the benefits of skills training, group therapy, family therapy, or residential treatments for reducing substance use or improving symptoms.

September 2020

Last updated at: 4:06 am, 21st September 2020
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Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.