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Digital Intervention to Treat Anxiety and Depression among Persons Receiving Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

Funding Source

National Institute on Drug Abuse – Center for Technology and Behavioral Health Pilot Core

Project Period

January 2020 - January 2021

Principal Investigator

Nicholas C. Jacobson, PhD

Other Project Staff

Lisa A. Marsch, PhD (Co-Investigator)

Project Summary

The majority of opioid users meet criteria for anxiety and depressive disorders, but most substance use disorder treatment programs do not offer treatment for co-occurring mental health problems. Anxiety and depression may also be directly linked to opioid use itself. Although treatments have been developed for anxiety and depressive symptoms for opioid users within face-to-face settings, few treatment facilities offer these in-person interventions due to their high cost and time burden. Given the deficits in research on treatments for anxiety and depression among those with opioid use disorder, the current research will examine the efficacy of a digital intervention designed to treat anxiety and depressive symptoms by augmenting the state of the science medication-based opioid use disorder treatment. Over the course of the proposed study, the research team will design and test the feasibility and acceptability of a standalone mobile intervention designed to treat persons receiving medication treatment for opioid use disorder. Participants receiving medication treatment for opioid use disorder will be randomized to receive a digital intervention to treat anxiety and depression or care as usual for a total of four weeks. The overarching goal of the proposed work is to test the feasibility and acceptability of the proposed mobile intervention. We will also explore the preliminary efficacy by examining reductions in anxiety and depressive symptoms and opioid cravings and use. This work could lead to a low-cost scalable solution to augment gold-standard treatment as usual in opioid use disorder by decreasing levels of comorbidity of anxiety and depressive disorders, thereby ultimately improving the outcomes of opioid use disorder itself.