In adults with learning disabilities and substance misuse, what is the most effective treatment in improving patient outcomes?
Plain language summary
There is limited evidence assessing the most effective
interventions for substance abuse in individuals with learning
disabilities. More high quality research in this area is needed to
adequately compare treatments.
Clinical and research implications
One moderate quality, pilot trial in 34 US veterans found some
evidence that cognitive training with work therapy can
significantly improvement verbal learning and verbal memory after
three months compared to work therapy alone. However, although all
participants had an alcohol use disorder, only around 50% had some
form of verbal learning or memory impairment and the results were
not reported separately for this group. Therefore the results of
this trial cannot fully answer this question and there is a lack of
evidence about the effectiveness of interventions for substance in
adults with learning disabilities.
As this was a small pilot study in a specific population of US
veterans, further research into cognitive training in adults with
alcohol use disorders is needed. Due to the lack of results for the
group with a learning impairment there is also a need for further
randomised controlled trials evaluating interventions for substance
abuse in adults with learning disabilities.
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