Comparing Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention with Treatment as Usual on Impulsivity and Relapse for Methadone-Treated Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Mehdi Yaghubi, Fatemeh Zargar, Hossein Akbari


Background: Impulsivity is one of the causes of relapse that can affect treatment outcomes. Studies have shown that addiction treatments can reduce impulsivity in drug-dependent individuals. Studies also have suggested that mindfulness is associated with impulsivity. However, no study has investigated the effectiveness of the mindfulness-based intervention on impulsivity in opioid-dependent individuals. This study aimed to compare the effectiveness of mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP) with treatment as usual (TAU) in terms of impulsivity and relapse for methadone-treated patients.

Methods: The present randomized controlled clinical trial was performed in Kashan, Iran, in 2015. The study population was opioid-dependent patients referred to Maintenance Treatment Centers. Seventy patients were selected by random sampling and were assigned in two groups (MBRP and TAU) randomly. The participants of two groups filled out Barratt impulsivity scale (BIS-11) as a pre-test and 8 weeks later as post-test and 2 months later as a follow-up. Both groups received methadone-therapy. The MBRP group received 8 sessions of group therapy, while the control group did not receive any group psychotherapy session. Finally, data from 60 patients were analyzed statistically.

Findings: The MBRP group had decreased impulsivity significantly (P < 0.001). The mean impulsivity score was 74.76 ± 4.72 before intervention that was significantly decreased to 57.66 ± 3.73 and 58.86 ± 3.57 after the intervention and follow-up (P < 0.001), respectively. In addition, significant differences were observed between MBRP and TAU groups for relapse frequency (P < 0.050).

Conclusion: This study showed that MBRP compared to TAU can decrease the mean impulsivity score in opioid-dependent and reduce relapse probability. These findings suggest that MBRP is useful for opioid-dependent individuals with high-level impulsivity, and relapse prevention.


Mindfulness; Impulsivity; Relapse

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