Substance use disorder: evaluating the effectiveness of the Addiction Recovery Coaching exercise programme
evidence and practice    

Substance use disorder: evaluating the effectiveness of the Addiction Recovery Coaching exercise programme

Gary Rutherford Staff Nurse, Western Health and Social Care Trust, Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Iain McGowan Senior Lecturer, Education (Mental Health), School of Nursing & Midwifery, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your knowledge of contemporary evidence on exercise-based interventions to treat substance use disorder

  • To understand the potential benefits of an exercise programme for people who misuse alcohol and/or drugs

  • To encourage you to consider how exercise can be used to support recovery from substance use disorder

Substance use disorder is a major public health issue and there is limited evidence of the effectiveness of current pharmacological and psychosocial treatment approaches. The Addiction Recovery Coaching (ARC) programme uses exercise in conjunction with mental health nursing interventions to support recovery from substance use disorder.

This article details a service evaluation undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of the ARC exercise programme in a small sample of patients with substance use disorder. The intervention ran over six weeks and consisted of group exercise and one-to-one coaching sessions. Quantitative data were collected before, during and after the intervention using patient-reported outcome measures for recovery from drug and alcohol dependence, as well as clinical measures of anxiety and depression. Qualitative data were collected using a post-intervention online questionnaire.

The evaluation found improvements in patient-reported outcome measures, reductions in symptoms of depression and anxiety, and the development of positive social contacts between participants. These findings offer promising evidence supporting the addition of exercise regimens to ongoing mental health interventions for the treatment of substance use disorder.

Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2021.e1529

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

@IainMcGowan1

Correspondence

i.mcgowan@qub.ac.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Rutherford G, McGowan I (2021) Substance use disorder: evaluating the effectiveness of the Addiction Recovery Coaching exercise programme. Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2021.e1529

Published online: 16 February 2021

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