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Ecological Momentary Intervention of Anxiety and Depression among Persons Receiving Medication Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

MAY 12, 2023

Nicholas C. Jacobson, PhD
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Data Science and Psychiatry
Director, AI and Mental Health: Innovation in Technology Guided Healthcare (AIM HIGH) Laboratory
Center for Technology and Behavioral Health
Geisel School of Medicine
Dartmouth College

Michael V. Heinz, MD
Attending Psychiatrist, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Hanover Psychiatry
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, AIM HIGH Laboratory
Center for Technology and Behavioral Health
Geisel School of Medicine
Dartmouth College

About the Presentation: 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 discuss 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. The research team designed and tested the feasibility and acceptability of a standalone mobile intervention to treat persons receiving medication treatment for opioid use disorder. Participants receiving medication treatment for opioid use disorder were 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 was to test the feasibility and acceptability of the proposed mobile intervention. We will discuss the preliminary efficacy by examining reductions in anxiety and depressive symptoms, as well as 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.

About the Presenters: Dr. Nicholas C. Jacobson is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Data Science and Psychiatry at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University and completed his clinical fellowship and post-doctoral fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Dr. Jacobson researches the use of technology to enhance both the assessment and treatment of anxiety and depression. His work has focused on (1) enhancing precision assessment of anxiety and depression using intensive longitudinal data, (2) conducting multimethod assessment utilizing passive sensor data from smartphones and wearable devices, and (3) providing scalable, personalized technology-based treatments utilizing smartphones. He has a strong interest in creating personalized just-in-time adaptive interventions and the quantitative tools that make this work possible. To date, Dr. Jacobson’s smartphone applications which assess and treat anxiety and depression have been downloaded and installed by more than 50,000 people in over 100 countries.

Dr. Michael V. Heinz is a postdoctoral fellow at the Artificial Intelligence and Mental Health Lab at the Dartmouth College Center for Technology and Behavioral Health. Under the primary mentorship of Dr. Nicholas C. Jacobson, Dr. Heinz is interested in the development of scalable, digital technologies toward assessment and treatment of mental health disorders. He is currently working on an NIH-funded study that uses wearable passive sensors to understand individual and temporal variability in Major Depressive Disorder, as well as on development of an AI-driven therapist (Therabot) presently undergoing its first clinical trial. Dr. Heinz is also a practicing, board-certified adult psychiatrist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Hanover Psychiatry, specializing in the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders.