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E-therapy for substance abuse issues literature review

This rapid review provides current evidence on the effectiveness of e-therapy approaches on reducing problematic substance use and features of e-therapies that appear to be key in supporting positive change. The key findings are outlined below.

  • E-therapies can be as effective in reducing problematic alcohol and other substance use when compared to receiving no treatment.
  • E-therapies that are based on or incorporate elements of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) appear to be particularly effective in helping reduce people’s use of alcohol and other substances.
  • People appear to have better outcomes in reducing alcohol and other substance use when they receive a blended therapy, combining both an e-therapy and in-person support, than when they receive either alone.
  • E-therapies tend to lead to small but positive changes in problematic substance use. This is a positive finding as even small reductions in substance use can lead to significant improvements in people’s physical and mental wellbeing.

These findings highlight potential benefits for using digital solutions to address problematic substance use.