Many people get addicted to substance abuse because of many reasons. Whatever the reason may be, it is responsible for the physical and psychological health effects. The drug abusers need specific treatment programs to get away from these problems. Depression is the most important characteristic which is associated with substance abusers. The treatment process should, therefore, include measures to reduce the depression.

The Archives of the General Psychiatry of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published the details of a study conducted by the researchers of the RAND Corporation, Santa Monica and Behavioral Health Services, Inc. The objective of the study was to find the role of cognitive behavioral therapy in substance abuse treatment.

The study was conducted at four Behavioral Health Services facilities in Los Angeles county. The sites alternated between usual care for substance abuse and usual care plus cognitive behavioral therapy for every four months between August 2006 and January 2009. The cognitive behavioral therapy included was as per the guidelines of the Building Recovery by Improving Goals, Habits, and Thoughts (BRIGHT) study.

About 1,262 patients were screened for participation in the study. 140 patients were enrolled in the intervention group. The intervention included 16 two-hour BRIGHT sessions conducted over the course of eight weeks. Around 159 patients were taken in the control group. After three months, minimal symptoms were found in 55.8% of the patients in the intervention group. However, only 33.6% of the patients had minimal symptoms in the control group. At six months, it was found that these numbers increased to 63.9% for intervention group and 43.8% for control group.

The study concluded that it is beneficial to provide cognitive behavioral therapy for depression to substance abusers having residential treatment. This is because, the substance abuse counselors can access certain substance abuse programs which is not possible for the general health professionals. Improving the capacity of substance abuse programs enhances the role of substance abuse counselors, thereby, improving the treatment program.