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Getting Involved In Volunteer Work Could Protect Against Relapse among Detoxified Opiate Patients: A Six Months Follow Up Study

Author(s): Ahmed Rady, Tarek Moloukhiya, Osama Elkholy, Enas Shawky

Background and objectives

Drug abuse is a major mental health concern. Though diverse psychological interventions are available such as cognitive behavioral, psychodynamic, hypnotherapy, group, family, community based and Motivation enhancement psychotherapy as well as 12 step model of Narcotics Anonym NA, but still high relapse rates are reported in literature. Our study aims at assessing an innovative approach based on shifting focus of attention from self to overcome obsessive self-concern, which can be partly categorized under community based interventions


60 opiate addict patients were recruited within one week after hospitalized detoxification at Mamoura Psychiatric Hospital. Active phase (3 months): 30 patients went through two hours structured cognitive behavioral CBT group therapy (max. 10 patients in a group) twice weekly and the other 30 patients went through shifting focus approach by implicating them in volunteer act at Alexandria University Hospital Hepatology department for 2 hours volunteer work twice weekly with a weekly group meeting (max. 10 patients in a group) with psychotherapist, who carried out group animation focusing on experience exchange in a supportive encouraging relational frame. Follow up phase (3 months): both groups were seen on monthly basis as booster session keeping the same psychotherapeutic modality frame. Both active and follow up phases were carried out on outpatient basis. Abstinence was assessed by urine screening on monthly bases and quality of life was psychometrically assessed


Both groups were balanced in terms of age, marital status, age at onset of drug abuse and base line score of quality of life scale QLS. After 6 months, no difference was found between both groups in terms of abstinence rate, QLS score and increment of QLS score (p>0.05)


Shifting focus approach by implicating detoxified patients in regular volunteer act reveals as efficacious as structured group CBT approach in a non-inferiority study design

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