The roles of alcohol and alcohol expectancy in the dampening of responses to hyperventilation among high anxiety sensite young adults

ArticleinAddictive Behaviors 26(6):841-867 · November 2001with26 Reads
Abstract
Previous research suggests that high anxiety sensitivity (AS) young adults are particularly sensitive to alcohol's dampening effects on their responses to arousal-induction challenge [Alcohol.: Clin. Exp. Res. 24 (2000) 1656.]. This sensitivity to alcohol reward may place high AS individuals at increased risk for alcohol abuse. Over-and-above alcohol's pharmacological effects, tension-reduction expectancies might contribute to alcohol's reactivity-dampening effects in high-AS individuals. The present study examined the role of alcohol and alcohol expectancy factors by activating expectancies experimentally. Forty-eight high-AS young adults were randomly assigned to one of three beverage conditions: alcohol (pharmacology plus expectancy), placebo (expectancy only), and control (no pharmacology and no expectancy). Following beverage consumption and absorption, participants underwent a 3-min voluntary hyperventilation challenge. Replicating and extending previous findings, participants in the alcohol condition showed dampened affective and somatic responses to the challenge, and marginally dampened cognitive responses to the challenge, compared to both placebo and control participants. However, placebo participants did not display dampened responses to the challenge relative to control beverage condition participants. Additional analyses suggested that activation of tension-reduction expectancies might have contributed to an “inverse placebo” effect among high-AS participants administered placebo. Implications of the results for future research and for the prevention and treatment of alcohol problems among high-AS individuals are discussed.

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  • ... However, it is important to note that those studies that investigated self-reported stress reactivity in youth at risk of internalising problems, suggest that heightened stress reactivity to stress-induction paradigms confers risk for substance use, particularly among depression-prone and anxious individuals (e.g. Conrod, Pihl, & Vassileva, 1998; MacDonald, Stewart, Hutson, Rhyno, & Loughlin, 2001). A recent stress challenge study with young adults confirms that there might be two different stress-related pathways to substance misuse: one involving ventral medial reactivity to reward cues (reward sensitivity) and reduce amygdala reactivity to stress and the other involving reduced reward sensitivity and heightened amygdala reactivity to stress (Nikolova, Knodt, Radtke, & Hariri, 2015). ...
    ... A recent stress challenge study with young adults confirms that there might be two different stress-related pathways to substance misuse: one involving ventral medial reactivity to reward cues (reward sensitivity) and reduce amygdala reactivity to stress and the other involving reduced reward sensitivity and heightened amygdala reactivity to stress (Nikolova, Knodt, Radtke, & Hariri, 2015). Other studies investigating personality risk factors for anxiety and mood disorders suggest that individuals who score high on measures of anxiety sensitivity are particularly sensitive to the fear-reducing effects of alcohol (Conrod et al., 1998; MacDonald et al., 2001; Zack, Poulos, Aramakis, Khamba, & MacLeod, 2007), and other anxiolytic substances, such as benzodiazepines. One process by which substances of abuse, particularly those with sedative/anxiolytic properties, might be particularly attractive for adolescents with internalising psychopathology , anxiety sensitivity, and perceived stress reactivity is by interfering with such individuals' tendencies to selectively process threat cues (Stewart, Westra, Thompson, & Conrad, 2000) and attend to negative self-relevant information (Aramakis, Khamba, MacLeod, Poulos, & Zack, 2012). ...
  • ... These inconsistent findings suggest that the association between AS and problematic drinking is complex. Namely, research shows that alcohol use leads to physiological changes that individuals with elevated AS should find aversive [18,19]. For example, alcohol has been shown to mimic symptoms of anxious arousal (i.e., rapid heart rate, blushing), especially in the early stages of drinking [18]. ...
  • ... Thus, the perception of caffeine-induced arousal sensations might trigger an anxiety response to caffeine particularly when these sensations occur unexpectedly or are stronger than expected. It is known that instructional sets or created expectancies may serve as important moderators for the physiological and subjective responses to interoceptive challenges (MacDonald et al. 2001; Rapee et al. 1986; Telch et al. 2010; van der Molen and van den Hout 1988). In a study by Telch et al. (2011), high-and low-AS participants received single inhalations of room air vs. 35% CO 2 while being instructed that CO 2 will lead to arousal vs. relaxation. ...
  • ... Three existing data sets that used a long form of the HVQ were combined in developing the HVQ-B. First, MacDonald et al. (2000;MacDonald, Stewart, Hutson, Rhyno, & Lee Loughlin, 2001) used the HVQ in two studies to assess the effects of alcohol on responses to a hyperventilation task in high and low AS participants. For the present study, only the non-alcohol conditions were used (n ¼ 65) to avoid the confounding effects of alcohol on responses to hyperventilation. ...
    ... For the present study, only the non-alcohol conditions were used (n ¼ 65) to avoid the confounding effects of alcohol on responses to hyperventilation. Undergraduate students were eligible to participate and categorized as high or low AS if they scored 1 SD above or below the mean Anxiety Sensitive Index (Peterson & Reiss, 1992) score for their respective sex (see MacDonald et al., 2000MacDonald et al., , 2001 for additional details on participants and design). Scores assessing participants' reactions during the hyperventilation task were used for the present study. ...
  • ... for somatic; Rapee & Medoro, 1994). In addition, the HVQ has been shown to discriminate between high-and low-AS participants when used as a measure of response to hyperventilation challenge (i.e., another way of inducing physiological arousal in IE exercises; A. B. MacDonald, Baker, Stewart, & Skinner, 2000; A. B. MacDonald, Stewart, Hutson, Rhyno, & Loughlin, 2001; Rapee & Medoro, 1994). While labeled the " Hyperventilation Questionnaire " because it was developed for use with lab-based hyperventilation challenge research (Rapee & Medoro, 1994), its item and subscale content make it appropriate for use in assessing reactions to a wide range of IE activities, including running. ...
  • ... argeted a peak BAC of 0.055% (Stewart et al., 2005). Placebo drinks (cranberry juice only) were matched for volume with the alcohol drinks. To provide taste and smell cues of alcohol for the placebo participants, we spread a small amount of vodka around the rim of each glass and a few drops of vodka were placed on the top surface of each drink (cf. MacDonald, Stewart, Hutson, Rhyno, & Loughlin, 2001 ). No additional visual cues were provided, as recommended by Ross and Pihl (1989), to avoid excessive experimental demand characteristics. As in Stewart et al. (2005), beverages were consumed steadily over 20 –25 min, depending on volume. Participants then rested for 20 –25 min to permit alcohol absorption. A postdrinking baseline hear ...
    ... the VLT play session, participants provided a post-VLT play BAC reading and completed a second VAS subjective intoxication measure. Smoking was not permitted during testing. Participants were debriefed about their beverage condition status, including an explanation to placebo participants as to the nature and necessity of the placebo deception (cf. MacDonald et al., 2001). If a participant was in the placebo condition, any winnings were paid out and he or she was sent home. Alcohol participants remained until BAC reached 0.04%. Taxi chits were available for transportation home if a ride had not been previously arranged. ...
  • ... Indeed, administration of antidepressant drugs (Romeo et al. 1998; Uzunova et al. 1998) or hormone replacement therapy (Florio et al. 2001), treatments that relieve some of the symptoms associated with anxiety or affective disorders, changes the concentration of 3a,5a-TH PROG in the plasma (and probably in the brain) of patients with such conditions. Ethanol consumption has been shown to be increased in women with premenstrual syndrome (Tobin et al. 1994; Chuong and Burgos 1995; Allen 1996) as well as in individuals with chronic stress (Thyer et al. 1986; MacDonald et al. 2001 ), conditions associated with marked fluctuations in the plasma content of 3a,5a-TH PROG (Rapkin et al. 1997; Girdler et al. 2001; Rasgon et al. 2001). Thus, the putative changes in the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic system associated with these conditions may trigger the changes in ethanol intake. ...
  • ... The samples have been drawn from both clinical (Kushner et al., 2001, this issue) and nonclinical (e.g., Zvolensky et al., 2001, this issue) sources. Methodologies range from self-report (e.g., DeHaas et al., 2001, this issue) to lab-based experimental designs (e.g., MacDonald et al., 2001, this issue) to clinical trials (Brown et al., 2001, this issue). The studies also span a wide variety of substances of abuse including alcohol (e.g., Kushner et al., 2001, this issue), cigarettes (e.g., Zvolensky et al., 2001, this issue), marijuana (e.g., Comeau et al., 2001, this issue), and analgesics (e.g., Asmundson, Wright, Norton, & Veloso, 2001, this issue). ...
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