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Addict Behav. 2011 Aug;36(8):843-8. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2011.03.016. Epub 2011 Apr 9.

Evaluation of cognitive behavioral therapy/motivational enhancement therapy (CBT/MET) in a treatment trial of comorbid MDD/AUD adolescents.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 3811 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.



Behavioral therapies developed specifically for co-occurring disorders remain sparse, and such therapies for comorbid adolescents are particularly rare. This was an evaluation of the long-term (2-year) efficacy of an acute phase trial of manualized cognitive behavioral therapy/motivation enhancement therapy (CBT/MET) vs. naturalistic treatment among adolescents who had signed consent for a treatment study involving the SSRI antidepressant medication fluoxetine and CBT/MET therapy for comorbid major depressive disorder (MDD) and an alcohol use disorder (AUD). We hypothesized that improvements in depressive symptoms and alcohol-related symptoms noted among the subjects who had received CBT/MET would exceed that of those in the naturalistic comparison group that had not received CBT/MET therapy.


We evaluated levels of depressive symptoms and alcohol-related symptoms at a two-year follow-up evaluation among comorbid MDD/AUD adolescents who had received an acute phase trial of manual-based CBT/MET (in addition to the SSRI medication fluoxetine or placebo) compared to those who had received naturalistic care.


In repeated measures ANOVA, a significant time by enrollment status difference was noted for both depressive symptoms and alcohol-related symptoms across the two-year time period of this study, with those receiving CBT/MET demonstrating superior outcomes compared to those who had not received protocol CBT/MET therapy. No significant difference was noted between those receiving fluoxetine vs. those receiving placebo on any outcome at any time point.


These findings suggest long-term efficacy for an acute phase trial of manualized CBT/MET for treating comorbid MDD/AUD adolescents. Large multi-site studies are warranted to further clarify the efficacy of CBT/MET therapy among various adolescent and young adult comorbid populations.

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