OBJECTIVE. The authors conducted a systematic review of theoretical models, professional practice, and research findings to understand occupational therapy’s role in the treatment of addiction.

METHOD. PubMed, Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, ERIC, OTseeker, and Google Scholar were searched to identify scientific journal articles, book chapters, or any other similar literature published from 1970 through July 2015 that addressed theoretical approaches, intervention models, and professional roles or were qualitative or quantitative studies in which occupational therapy had a central role.

RESULTS. The literature search yielded 16 theoretical and professional role studies, 8 qualitative studies, and 14 quantitative studies. All studies had low levels of evidence, and all were case series, sometimes with very small samples.

CONCLUSION. Although occupational therapy has been involved in the treatment of people with substance addiction and, more recently, with behavioral addictions for more than half a century, the research that has been published is poor.

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