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Keywords:

  • early maladaptive schemas;
  • substance use;
  • cognitive therapy;
  • treatment

Objectives

Early maladaptive schemas are cognitive and behavioral patterns that cause considerable distress and are theorized to underlie mental health problems. Research suggests that early maladaptive schemas may underlie substance abuse and that the intensity of early maladaptive schemas may decrease after brief periods of abstinence. The current study examined changes in early maladaptive schemas after a 4-week residential substance use treatment program.

Method

Preexisting records of a sample of male alcohol- and opioid-dependent treatment seeking adults (N = 97; mean age = 42.55) were reviewed for the current study.

Results

Pre-post analyses demonstrated that 8 of the early maladaptive schemas significantly decreased by the end of the 4-week treatment.

Conclusions

Findings indicate that early maladaptive schemas can be modified during brief substance use treatment and may be an important component of substance use intervention programs. Implications of these findings for substance use treatment are discussed.