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Effect of cognitive behavioural interventions on the quality of life in Chinese heroin-dependent individuals in detoxification: a randomised controlled trial



Aims and objectives

To determine whether cognitive behavioural interventions would improve the quality of life in Chinese heroin addicts.


Drug dependence is one of the most serious health problems in the world, representing a real menace to mental and somatic health. However, effects of cognitive behavioural interventions on quality of life in Chinese heroin addicts are unclear.


This randomised controlled study was conducted at a Drug-withdrawal Rehabilitation Center in China.


Following ethics approval and heroin addicts' consent, 240 heroin addicts were randomly assigned to two groups. The experimental group (n = 120) received a six-month cognitive behavioural intervention comprising education intervention and behavioural intervention developed by the investigators. The control group (n = 120) received the hospital's routine care. The effects of the interventions on patients' quality of life were evaluated at baseline and six months and were compared. A Chinese version of Quality of Life in Drug Addiction Questionnaire was used in this study. Usefulness of the intervention and usual community services was evaluated at six months.


The quality of life of participants with heroin addiction with physical and psychological disorders is poor. The experimental group showed a significant improvement in quality of life after nurse-managed cognitive behavioural intervention.


The quality of life and the health status of Chinese heroin addicts were improved after they received a nurse-managed cognitive behavioural intervention.

Relevance to clinical practice

Appropriate nurse-managed cognitive behavioural intervention for heroin addicts can improve their quality of life and promote their health. It is important for clinical nurses to understand cognitive behavioural therapy, appraisal and coping to apply knowledge in practice when dealing with a client who has heroin addiction.