Mistler, C., Shrestha, R., Gunstad, J., Sanborn, & Copenhaver, M.
General Psychiatry, August 2021. Abstract
Treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) is often in the context of biobehavioural interventions, consisting of medication for OUD (for example, methadone and buprenorphine), which is accompanied by psychoeducation and/or behavioural therapies. Patients with OUD often display weaknesses in cognitive function that may impact the efficacy of such behavioural interventions. A review of the literature was conducted to: (1) describe common cognitive dysfunction profiles among patients with OUD, (2) outline intervention approaches for patients with OUD, (3) consider the cognitive demands that interventions place on patients with OUD and (4) identify potential accommodation strategies that may be used to optimise treatment outcomes. Cognitive profiles of patients with OUD often include weaknesses in executive function, attention, memory and information processing. Behavioural interventions require the patients’ ability to learn, understand and remember information (placing specific cognitive demands on patients). Accommodation strategies are, therefore, needed for patients with challenges in one or more of these areas. Research on accommodation strategies for patients with OUD is very limited. We applied research from populations with similar cognitive profiles to form a comprehensive collection of potential strategies to compensate for cognitive dysfunction among patients with OUD. The cognitive profiles and accommodation strategies included in this review are intended to inform future intervention research aimed at improving outcomes among patients with OUD.