Development of an integrated cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety and opioid use disorder: Study protocol and methods

Contemp Clin Trials. 2017 Sep;60:105-112. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2017.07.006. Epub 2017 Jul 8.


Opioid use disorder is a highly disabling psychiatric disorder, and is associated with both significant functional disruption and risk for negative health outcomes such as infectious disease and fatal overdose. Even among those who receive evidence-based pharmacotherapy for opioid use disorder, many drop out of treatment or relapse, highlighting the importance of novel treatment strategies for this population. Over 60% of those with opioid use disorder also meet diagnostic criteria for an anxiety disorder; however, efficacious treatments for this common co-occurrence have not be established. This manuscript describes the rationale and methods for a behavioral treatment development study designed to develop and test an integrated cognitive-behavioral therapy for those with co-occurring opioid use disorder and anxiety disorders. The aims of the study are (1) to develop and pilot test a new manualized cognitive behavioral therapy for co-occurring opioid use disorder and anxiety disorders, (2) to test the efficacy of this treatment relative to an active comparison treatment that targets opioid use disorder alone, and (3) to investigate the role of stress reactivity in both prognosis and recovery from opioid use disorder and anxiety disorders. Our overarching aim is to investigate whether this new treatment improves both anxiety and opioid use disorder outcomes relative to standard treatment. Identifying optimal treatment strategies for this population are needed to improve outcomes among those with this highly disabling and life-threatening disorder.

Keywords: Anxiety disorders; Co-occurring disorders; Cognitive-behavioral therapy; Opioid use disorder; Stress reactivity.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / therapy*
  • Research Design
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology