An initial meta-analysis of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for treating substance use disorders

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015 Oct 1;155:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.08.004. Epub 2015 Aug 13.


Background: In the past decade, multiple studies have examined the effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for substance use disorders relative to other active treatments. The current meta-analysis examined the aggregate effect size when comparing ACT to other treatments (e.g., CBT, pharmacotherapy, 12-step, treatment as usual) specifically on substance use outcomes.

Method: A total of 10 randomized controlled trials were identified through systematic searches.

Results: A significant small to medium effect size was found favoring ACT relative to active treatment comparisons following treatment. Effect sizes were comparable across studies for smoking cessation (k=5) and for other drug use disorders (k=5).

Conclusions: Based on these findings, ACT appears to be a promising intervention for substance use disorders. Limitations and future directions are discussed.

Keywords: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy; Mindfulness; Opioid dependence; Smoking cessation; Substance use disorder.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy*