Psychosocial treatments for cocaine dependence: National Institute on Drug Abuse Collaborative Cocaine Treatment Study

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1999 Jun;56(6):493-502. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.56.6.493.


Background: This was a multicenter investigation examining the efficacy of 4 psychosocial treatments for cocaine-dependent patients.

Methods: Four hundred eighty-seven patients were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 manual-guided treatments: individual drug counseling plus group drug counseling (GDC), cognitive therapy plus GDC, supportive-expressive therapy plus GDC, or GDC alone. Treatment was intensive, including 36 possible individual sessions and 24 group sessions for 6 months. Patients were assessed monthly during active treatment and at 9 and 12 months after baseline. Primary outcome measures were the Addiction Severity Index-Drug Use Composite score and the number of days of cocaine use in the past month.

Results: Compared with the 2 psychotherapies and with GDC alone, individual drug counseling plus GDC showed the greatest improvement on the Addiction Severity Index-Drug Use Composite score. Individual group counseling plus GDC was also superior to the 2 psychotherapies on the number of days of cocaine use in the past month. Hypotheses regarding the superiority of psychotherapy to GDC for patients with greater psychiatric severity and the superiority of cognitive therapy plus GDC compared with supportive-expressive therapy plus GDC for patients with antisocial personality traits or external coping style were not confirmed.

Conclusion: Compared with professional psychotherapy, a manual-guided combination of intensive individual drug counseling and GDC has promise for the treatment of cocaine dependence.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Counseling
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Centers
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States