An Ongoing Naturalistic Study of Individuals in Inpatient Treatment for Substance Use Disorders

Hannah Shapiro, BS

McLean Hospital – Research Assistant
Shapiro_Hannah poster

Scientific Abstract

Background: Although various evidence-based treatments are available for those with substance use disorders (SUDs), many patients do not sufficiently respond to treatment. To address shortcomings in the clinical knowledge and treatment of SUDs, the current study was designed to collect data on a wide range of clinical characteristics from an inpatient population seeking treatment for SUDs. The study aims to examine associations and interactions between purported vulnerability factors for SUDs.

Methods: Recruitment has been ongoing since 2013, with over 1800 participants to date. Adults seeking inpatient detoxification and treatment initiation at McLean Hospital were approached and offered the opportunity to participate. Participants fill out a 30–45-minute baseline battery of measures collected via REDCap on an iPad, covering a range of self-reported clinical, behavioral, cognitive, and emotional characteristics. All data analysis was conducted using SPSS.

Results: Optimism scores among the participants were found to be lower than almost any sample reported in the literature, with a mean score of 11.7 (range: 0-24, N=342). Benzodiazepine misuse was reported by 29% of the participants surveyed with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) (N=256), and by 67% of the participants surveyed with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) (N=122). Of those who misused benzodiazepines, 63% endorsed anxiety relief as a reason for misuse. Alcohol and opioids were the two most commonly co-used drugs. Finally, in examining survey respondents with OUD who reported a past overdose, 54% reported no desire to die just before their most recent overdose (n=59). When asked whether they had any intention to kill themselves, 80% reported no intent and 20% reported either low, moderate, or strong intention to die.

Conclusions: Levels of optimism in this sample were remarkably low, presenting a possible target for intervention. For patients with a past opioid overdose, there was a spectrum of suicidal motivation and intent. Targeting anxiety may be an avenue for decreasing benzodiazepine misuse in this population, along with safety education regarding co-used drugs.

Live Zoom Session – March 9th

research Areas


Hannah Shapiro, BS, R. Kathryn McHugh, PhD, Scott Provost MSW, MM, Andrew Peckham, PhD, Rachel Tester, MS, APRN, Margaret Griffin, PhD, Hilary Connery, MD, PhD, Roger Weiss, MD

Principal Investigator

Roger Weiss, MD