Background: As the accurate and sensitive measurement of withdrawal constitutes a crucial component of detoxification, there is a need to apply a recovery-oriented lens and critical review to substance withdrawal tools. Methods: Adhering to PRISMA guidelines and applying a recovery-oriented lens, I conducted a critical interpretive synthesis on articles that used substance withdrawal tools published in the Journal of Substance Use. I used a recovery-oriented lens to critically assess the strengths and limitations of the substance withdrawal tools. Results: A total of 10 studies met eligibility criteria. These 10 studies used 13 different tools to measure withdrawal. Results of the analysis indicated that most tools were relatively brief, were substance-specific, did not contain subscales, and framed items in a negative manner. Perhaps most noteworthy, the tools were not created with input from service users. Conclusions: The diminutive number of studies measuring withdrawal is indicative of a consequential gap in the literature. While most withdrawal tools contained relatively few items, they should be substance-specific and contain subscales to assess multiple domains. There is a need for service user involvement in the design of withdrawal tools. Implications for clinical practice, limitations of the study, and suggestions for future research are provided.
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- critical interpretive synthesis
- psychometric instruments
- substance use