There are high rates of co-occurring depression among young people with substance use disorders. While there is preliminary evidence for the effectiveness of integrated cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) in combination with antidepressants among alcohol and substance dependent adolescents and adults with co-existing depression, no studies have examined the effectiveness of integrated CBT interventions in the absence of pharmacotherapy. The aim of the current study was to determine the outcomes of an integrated CBT intervention for co-occurring depression and substance misuse in young people presenting to a mental health setting. Sixty young people (aged 15 to 25), with a DSM-IV diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder and concurrent substance misuse (at least weekly use in the past month) or disorder were recruited from a public youth mental health service in Melbourne, Australia. Participants received 10 sessions of individual integrated CBT treatment delivered with case management over a 20-week period. The intervention was associated with significant improvements in depression, anxiety, substance use, coping skills, depressive and substance use cognitions and functioning at mid- (10 weeks) and post- (20 weeks) treatment. These changes were maintained at 6 months follow-up (44 weeks). These results provide preliminary evidence for the effectiveness of the integrated CBT intervention in young people with co-occurring depression and substance misuse. Further studies using randomised controlled designs are required to determine its efficacy.
Journal of Affective Disorders Vol. 121, Issue 1-2, p. 169-174