Integrated psychological treatment addressing co-existing alcohol misuse and depression has not been compared with single-focused treatment. This trial evaluates changes over 36 months following randomization of 284 outpatients to one of four motivational interviewing and cognitive–behavior therapy (MICBT) based interventions: (1) brief integrated intervention (BI); or BI plus 9 further sessions with (2) an integrated-, (3) alcohol-, or (4) depression-focus. Outcome measures included changes in alcohol consumption, depression (BDI-II: Beck Depression Inventory) and functioning (GAF: Global Assessment of Functioning), with average improvements from baseline of 21.8 drinks per week, 12.6 BDI-II units and 8.2 GAF units. Longer interventions tended to be more effective in reducing depression and improving functioning in the long-term, and in improving alcohol consumption in the short-term. Integrated treatment was at least as good as single-focused MICBT. Alcohol-focused treatment was as effective as depression-focused treatment at reducing depression and more effective in reducing alcohol misuse. The best approach seems to be an initial focus on both conditions followed by additional integrated- or alcohol-focused sessions.
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment Vol. 46, Issue 3, p. 281-290