Substance Use Disorders

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



substance use disorders, assessment, intervention, distress tolerance, disorder development, relapse, treatment


Given the high cost and prevalence of substance use disorders, researchers have examined potential mechanisms that may serve as targets for assessment and intervention. The goal of this chapter is to examine distress tolerance as a potential mechanism. Distress tolerance has received considerable attention recently and appears to be an important variable for understanding substance use development and relapse. We begin with background information and theoretical rationale for examining distress tolerance in substance use. Next, we review the empirical literature on distress tolerance among substance users, discuss theoretical implications of extant findings, review clinical interventions that have been developed to treat substance users with low distress tolerance, and provide a case example to illustrate the application of specific clinical strategies to increase distress tolerance among substance users.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Substance Use Disorders, in M. J. Zvolensky, A. Bernstein & A. A. Vuljanovic (Eds.), Distress Tolerance: Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications, Guilford Press, p. 171-197