Psychological factors predicting patients' risk of relapse after enrollment in drug use treatment: A systematic review

Adriana Del Palacio-Gonzalez*, Birgitte Thylstrup, Kristine Rømer Thomsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperReviewResearchpeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Despite high rates of relapse after treatment for drug use, to our knowledge there is no systematic literature identifying psychological factors that predict risk of relapse to drug use (excluding alcohol or tobacco). Our aim was to identify psychological factors that predict risk of relapse to drug use after enrollment in drug use treatment. The identification of such factors can support treatment planning and relapse prevention.

METHODS: We searched for peer-reviewed articles published between 2000 and 2023 in PsycINFO, PsycArticles, Web of Science, and PubMed. The inclusion criteria were: peer-reviewed publications, quantitative studies, in English, adult samples, with a prospective design, and analyses of minimum one psychological factor as predictor of relapse to drug use. All authors were involved in abstract and full-text screening, and in assessing risk of bias. The findings are presented in a narrative synthesis and tables are organized by type of drug.

RESULTS: Of 2226 publications initially identified, 45 were eligible. Twenty-three focused on predicting relapse to stimulants, 15 to opioids, and 7 to unspecified drugs. Substance use at baseline was an important factor predicting risk of relapse to opioids, and possibly stimulants. There was an indication that craving and attention problems potentially predict relapse to use of some drugs. Mental health factors (e.g., psychiatric diagnosis) did not predict relapse. Several psychological factors (e.g., cognition, emotion, personality, motivation) were scarcely examined. Over half of the studies had moderate to high risk of bias.

CONCLUSIONS: Based on the 45 studies, few psychological factors predicted risk of relapse to drug use. Higher comparability between studies and more rigorous methodology are necessary in order to derive more precise recommendations that inform and improve clinical practice.

PRE-REGISTRATION: PROSPERO, CRD42020182839.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Substance Use and Addiction Treatment
Volume161
Pages (from-to)209354
ISSN2949-8759
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Keywords

  • Drug use disorder
  • Relapse
  • Psychological factors
  • Treatment
  • Addiction
  • Mental health

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Psychological factors predicting patients' risk of relapse after enrollment in drug use treatment: A systematic review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this