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Communicate Alternatively, Release Endorphins, and Self-Soothe (CARESS) and Emotional Regulation for Cravings Management with Substance Use Open Access

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Abstract of DissertationCommunicate Alternatively, Release Endorphins, and Self-Soothe (CARESS) and Emotional Regulation for Cravings Management with Substance UseAddiction has been a problem over the years, with opiate use on the rise. The cycle of using and relapse includes negative emotions and cravings, which are associated with physiological responses and self-efficacy with respect to drinking and drug-taking refusal skills. Interrupting this cycle could help an individual with problematic substance use behavior. The purpose of this research was to study the efficacy of an intervention that could interrupt this cycle. A review of the models of emotional regulation (ER), as well as the complexities identified the need for a tool to support an individual in an acute interaction on multiple levels of his/her experience. This study provided a consolidated conceptual model of process, system, and technology in addressing emotional regulation. The studied intervention has three stages: communicate alternatively (CA), release endorphins (RE), and self-soothe (SS) (CARESS). The purpose of the study was to investigate the acute effects for cravings management and negative affect in a one-time treatment session using CARESS for those with problematic substance use behaviors in comparison to a control group with a treatment as usual intervention. This study was run at a local outpatient hospital, as a randomized control trial with 96 participants. Measures to reflect physiological responses, cravings, drinking and drug-taking refusal skills, and negative affect were used in a pre/post/follow up test implementation. A multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) showed there was no statistically significant difference on the combined post-test scores between the experimental and control groups. The hypothesis was not supported. Further analysis demonstrated effect sizes in the changes in the pre post-test scores in individual measures were different, with each intervention having a greater effect size on two of the measures. Due to the lack of variance between the outcomes, it was concluded that CARESS as good as Isometric as a change agent for this population. Opportunities for future studies were identified.

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