Brief Interventions for Substance Use and Comorbid Health Conditions: What Is the Evidence?
Brief intervention (BI) decreases smoking and at-risk drinking in primary-care settings, but the utility of BI in other settings and in patients with comorbid conditions remains unclear. Researchers systematically reviewed the literature to assess the effect of BI for substance use in patients with a comorbid physical-health condition, a comorbid mental-health condition, or dual substance use. Fourteen trials met inclusion criteria.* Heterogeneity of the articles precluded quantitative synthesis.
- Eight trials reported on co-occurring mental-health and substance-use conditions. Most reported no effect of BI for substance use on either condition; none reported between-group differences in mental-health status, and all consistently reported reductions in substance use among patients in both BI and control conditions.
- Three trials including patients with co-occurring physical-health (hypertension or tuberculosis) and substance-use conditions reported improvements in both conditions after BI for substance use compared with controls.
- Three trials targeting more than 1 type of substance use reported null findings.