Year of Publication

2021

Date of Thesis

12-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Occupational Therapy

Abstract

Illicit drug use within the United States has more than doubled within the previous decade with 53.2 million individuals using illicit drugs in 2018, and 20.3 million individuals with substance use disorder (SUD) diagnoses. Due to the nature of SUDs, the rehabilitation process can be complex, utilizing a mix of pharmaceutical and psychological therapies. Due to the diagnostic criteria for substance use disorders; including impairments within social, recreational, and vocational performance, treatment of SUDs falls within the scope of occupational therapy practice, however research regarding the use of occupational therapy services for the treatment of SUDs is limited. Less than 3% of occupational therapy practitioners report working with this population. This exploratory research used a quantitative survey design to collect descriptive data regarding the staffing and interventions provided in treatment for substance use disorders, and the practice settings providing these services. Results show that while SUD treatment teams rarely utilize occupational therapists, the interventions provided, including areas of self-care, community mobility, social participation, employment, and health literacy, fall within the occupational therapy scope of practice and important in the treatment of SUDs. This research shows that there is a gap between how important various occupation-based interventions were perceived to be for the treatment of SUDs, and how often they were provided. Based on these findings, having occupational therapists in SUD treatment teams may bolster the impact of treatment for relapse prevention and behavioral modification in individuals with SUDs.

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