Effects of Stress on Decision-Making Deficits in Formerly Heroin-Dependent Patients After Different Durations of Abstinence
ABSTRACT Drug abuse is associated with substantial impairments in decision making. However, little is known about the time course of changes in decision-making ability after abstinence or about the effects of stress on decision making in individuals recovering from heroin dependence after different durations of abstinence.
First, the authors assessed decision-making performance with the original card version of the Iowa Gambling Task in formerly heroin-dependent patients who had been abstinent for 3, 7, 15, or 30 days or 3, 6, 12, or 24 months. Second, patients who had been abstinent from heroin for 15 or 30 days or 3, 12, or 24 months were challenged with acute stress induced by the Trier Social Stress Test. Third, the β-adrenoceptor antagonist propranolol (40 mg) was administered 1 hour before stress to those who had been abstinent for 30 days or 12 or 24 months.
The short-term abstinence groups (3-30 days) performed worse on the Iowa Gambling Task compared with the long-term abstinence groups (3-24 months). Psychosocial stress unmasked a latent impairment in decision making in the 24-month abstinence group, which seemed to perform identically to healthy comparison subjects in the absence of stress. Propranolol blocked the stress-induced impairment of decision making, which was seen only in the formerly heroin-dependent patients.
Stress can exacerbate an already existing impairment of decision making or unmask a latent one in individuals recovering from heroin dependence. The β-adrenergic blockade reduces this effect and might hold promise for treatment of substance use disorders.
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ABSTRACT: Cognitive deficits are observed both in heroin dependence and in pathological gambling (PG) on various tasks. PG, as a non-substance addiction, is free of toxic consequences of drug use. Therefore a direct neurocognitive comparison of heroin addicts and pathological gamblers helps dissociate the consequences of chronic heroin use on cognitive function from the cognitive vulnerabilities that predispose addiction. A case-control design was used, comparing 58 abstinent heroin addicts, 58 pathological gamblers, and 60 healthy controls on working memory and affective decision-making functions. Working memory was assessed using the Self-ordered Pointing Test (SOPT). Affective decision-making was measured by the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). Heroin addicts performed significantly worse both on the IGT and on the SOPT, compared to healthy controls. Pathological gamblers performed worse on the IGT than healthy controls, but did not differ from controls on the SOPT. Years of heroin use were negatively correlated with working memory and affective decision-making performance in heroin addicts, while severity of gambling was not significantly correlated with any task performance in pathological gamblers. Our findings indicate that deficits in affective decision-making shared by heroin dependence and PG putatively represent vulnerabilities to addiction and that working memory deficits detected only in heroin addicts may be identified as heroin-specific harmful effects.Drug and alcohol dependence 10/2013; 134. DOI:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2013.09.027 · 3.28 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Decision-making impairment is found in several neuropsychiatric disorders, including suicidal behavior, and has been shown to be modulated by genes. On the other hand, early trauma have/has been associated with poor mental health outcome in adulthood, in interaction with genetic factors, possibly through sustained alterations in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis). Here, we aimed to investigate the effect of childhood trauma and its interaction with HPA-axis related genes on decision-making abilities in adulthood among a sample of suicide attempters. The Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) was used to assess decision-making in 218 patients with a history of suicide attempt. Participant fulfilled the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire to report traumatic childhood experiences. Patients were genotyped for single-nucleotide polymorphisms within CRHR1 and CRHR2 genes. Patients with a history of sexual abuse had significantly lower IGT scores than non-sexually abused individuals. Polymorphisms within CRHR1 and CRHR2 genes interacted with both childhood sexual abuse and emotional neglect to influence IGT performance. In conclusion, childhood sexual abuse and emotional neglect may have long-term effects on decision-making through an interaction with key HPA axis genes. Even if these results need to be replicated in other sample, impaired decision-making may thus be the dimension through which child maltreatment, in interaction with HPA axis related genes, may have a sustained negative impact on adult mental health.Journal of Psychiatric Research 11/2012; 47(2). DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2012.10.014 · 4.09 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE:: Lipids may play some roles in the central nervous system functions that are associated with drug addiction. To date, cholesterol is known to influence relapse of cocaine use. However, the relationship between cholesterol and heroin craving is unclear. This study examined the concurrent association between cholesterol and craving. METHOD:: The serum lipid levels of 70 heroin users who were undergoing or had undergone a methadone maintenance therapy were measured. Their craving and demographic data were assessed. RESULTS:: Total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol are negatively associated with craving before (r = -0.33, P < 0.01, and r = -0.36, P < 0.01, respectively) and after controlling for the effects of potential confounders (β = -0.38, P < 0.01, and β = -0.42, P < 0.01, respectively). CONCLUSIONS:: Cholesterol could be associated with the cognitive aspect of craving and may be a potential marker to predict risk of drug relapse.Journal of Addiction Medicine 08/2012; 6(4). DOI:10.1097/ADM.0b013e318262a9a1 · 1.71 Impact Factor