Craving is one of the important factors having an effective role in the addiction relapse. As an important factor in the therapy failure, this clinical phenomenon has to be diagnosed and treated.
The present research aimed at determining the efficacy of group motivational interviewing in the degree of drug craving in the addicts under the Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT).
This is a quasi-experimental study carried out on 100 addicted men (aged 18–50 years), who were under the MMT in a drug abstinence clinic affiliated with University of Medical Sciences (Iran) in the second half of 2014. The research sample was selected by the availability criteria based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria, and upon matching, it was divided randomly into two groups of 50 (control and treatment). The treatment group first received 5 sessions of group motivational counseling; then it entered the therapy process. The control group received the usual treatment of the drug abstinence clinic. To assess the drug craving degree (in the pretest, 2, 6 and 12 months after the abstinence), the Visual Cue-induced Craving Task, scored 0 to 100, was used. The data were analyzed by the descriptive statistics through independent t-test, and repeated measures analysis of variance.
The means of craving degrees in the control group, 2, 6 and 12 months after the abstinence (73.28 ± 7.52, 65.83 ± 6.69 and 61.25 ± 5.17, respectively) were significantly (p = 0.0001) higher than those in the treatment group (68.94 ± 10.53, 40.48 ± 11.78 and 32.51 ± 9.00). Moreover, the mean of retention in the treatment was 9.24 ± 2.45 months in the treatment group that was significantly (p = 0.001) higher than the 4.88 ± 3.65 months of retention in the control group.
The research results support the fact that motivational interviewing decreases the degree of drug craving, and increases the probability of the addicts' retention in long-term therapeutic abstinence programs. Therefore, the use of such an approach as a pretreatment and a complementary therapy in changing health behaviors is recommended.