Substance use outcomes from the Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multimodal Extended Long-term Study (CAMELS).

Jonathan Rabner, Thomas M Olino, Anne Marie Albano, Courtney P Keeton, Dara Sakolsky, Boris Birmaher, John Piacentini, Tara S Peris, Scott N Compton, Elizabeth Gosch, Golda S Ginsburg, Elizabeth L Pinney, Philip C Kendall

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BACKGROUND: Substance use problems and anxiety disorders are both highly prevalent and frequently cooccur in youth. The present study examined the benefits of successful anxiety treatment at 3-12 years after treatment completion on substance use outcomes (i.e. diagnoses and lifetime expected use).

METHODS: The sample was from the Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multimodal Extended Long-term Study (CAMELS), a naturalistic follow-up study to the Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multimodal Study (CAMS) which randomized youth to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT; Coping cat), medication (sertraline), their combination, or pill placebo. The first CAMELS visit occurred an average of 6.5 years following CAMS randomization. Participants were 319 youth (65.4% of the CAMS sample), aged 7-17 years at CAMS baseline assessment with a mean age of 17.6 years (range: 11-26 years) at the time of the first CAMELS follow-up. Substance use outcomes included diagnoses as well as lifetime substance use (i.e. alcohol and tobacco use).

RESULTS: Eleven of 319 (3.4%) CAMELS participants were diagnosed with a substance use disorder at the initial follow-up visit. When compared to the population lifetime rate of 11.4%, the rate of diagnoses in the posttreated sample was significantly lower. Additionally, rates of lifetime alcohol use were lower than population rates at the initial and final follow-up visits. Rates of lifetime tobacco use were similarly lower than lifetime population rates at the initial visit (driven by significantly lower rates in the CBT treatment condition), but higher by the final visit. Furthermore, treatment remission (but not treatment response) was associated with a lower rate of substance use diagnoses at the initial follow-up visit, although rates of lifetime alcohol and tobacco use did not differ by treatment outcome.

CONCLUSIONS: Anxiety treatments confer a beneficial impact on problematic substance use (i.e. diagnoses) as well as on expected substance use (i.e. alcohol and tobacco use) for on average, a period of 6.5 years.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines
StatePublished - Jan 12 2024

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