Previous studies have shown that abstinent heroin addicts exhibit an attentional bias to heroin-related stimuli. It has been suggested that attentional bias may represent a vulnerability to relapse into drug use. In the present study, the predictive value of pre-treatment attentional bias on relapse was examined in a population of abstinent heroin addicts. Further, the effect of cue exposure therapy (CET) on attentional bias was studied.
Participants were assigned randomly to receive nine sessions of CET or placebo psychotherapy.
An in-patient drug abuse treatment setting.
Abstinent heroin-dependent patients.
Participants completed the emotional Stroop task both before and after completing treatment.
Pre-treatment attentional bias predicted relapse at 3-month follow-up, even when controlling for self-reported cravings at the test session. Further, attentional bias was reduced in both groups after therapy, independent of treatment condition.
Attentional bias may tap an important component of drug dependence as it is a predictor of opiate relapse. However, CET does not specifically reduce attentional bias.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Over the last twenty years metacognitive theory has provided a novel framework, in the form of the Self-Regulatory Executive Function (S-REF) model, for conceptualizing psychological distress (Wells & Matthews, 1994, 1996). The S-REF model proposes that psychological distress persists because of unhelpful coping styles (e.g. extended thinking and thought suppression) which are activated and maintained as a result of metacognitive beliefs.
This paper describes the S-REF model and its application to addictive behaviors using a triphasic metacognitive formulation.
Evidence on the components of the triphasic metacognitive formulation is reviewed and the clinical implications for applying metacognitive therapy to addictive behaviors outlined.
"Attentional bias (AB) – where disorder-related stimuli become the focus of one's attention – has been consistently demonstrated for substance-related stimuli in substance users relative to non-users (Field & Cox, 2008; Wiers & Stacy, 2006). Furthermore, AB is associated with craving in addiction (Field, Eastwood, Bradley, & Mogg, 2006), is positively correlated with frequency of substance use (Morgan, Freeman, Schafer, & Curran, 2010; Morgan, Rees, & Curran, 2008) and has been linked to relapse in individuals abstaining from substance use (Cox, Hogan, Kristian, & Race, 2002; Marissen et al., 2006). Consequently, AB features as a key component of many recent theoretical models of addiction (Franken, 2003; Ryan, 2002; Wiers & Stacy, 2006), where it is awarded a central role in the development and maintenance of substance use. "
"Numerous studies report associations between attentional bias and craving intensity for several drug substances (Copersino et al., 2004; Field et al., 2005). Attentional bias has been associated with an increased risk of relapse in smokers (Powell et al., 2010), alcohol users (Cox et al., 2002) and heroin users (Marissen et al., 2006). Attentional bias is commonly measured with a visual probe task (Bradley et al., 2004; Hogarth et al., 2003). "
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