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Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology - Vol 23, Iss 5

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Experimental & Clinical Psychopharmacology Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology seeks to promote the discipline of psychopharmacology in its fullest diversity. Psychopharmacology necessarily involves behavioral change, psychological processes, or their physiological substrates as one central variable and psychopharmacological agents as a second central variable. Such agents will include drugs, medications, and chemicals encountered in the workplace or environment.
Copyright 2015 American Psychological Association
  • A laboratory-based test of the relation between adolescent alcohol use and panic-relevant responding.
    A burgeoning literature supports a link between alcohol use and panic-spectrum problems (e.g., panic attacks, disorder) among adolescents, but the direction of influence has yet to be properly examined. From a theoretical perspective, panic-spectrum problems may increase risk for problematic drinking via affect regulation efforts (e.g., self-medication), and problematic consumption also may increase or initiate panic-relevant responding (e.g., learning or kindling models). The objective of the current investigation was to examine the role of prior alcohol use in predicting panic-relevant responding, as well as panic symptom history in predicting the desire to consume alcohol, in the context of either a voluntary hyperventilation or a low-arousal task. Participants were community-recruited adolescents aged 12–17 years (n = 92, Mage = 15.42, SD = 1.51; 39.1% girls). Results indicated that prior alcohol use predicted panic-relevant responding among those undergoing the hyperventilation task (but not the low-arousal task), and that this finding was robust to the inclusion of theoretically relevant covariates (i.e., age, sex, negative affectivity). However, panic symptom history did not predict the desire to consume alcohol as a function of either the hyperventilation or low-arousal condition. This work sheds further light on the nature of the relation between panic-spectrum problems and problematic alcohol use in adolescence. Specifically, the current findings suggest that frequent alcohol use may increase panic vulnerability among adolescents, whereas acute panic symptoms may not elicit the immediate (self-reported) desire to drink. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • An event-level investigation of hangovers’ relationship to age and drinking.
    Animal and human data suggest that adolescents experience hangover effects that are distinct from adults. The present study used ecological momentary assessment (EMA) methods to examine the temporal relationships between drinking and hangovers, and how this varied by age and sex. We hypothesized that alcohol’s dose-dependent effects on hangover severity are more pronounced among adolescents and young adults than older drinkers. We also explored whether greater hangover severity would lead to a lower likelihood and volume of alcohol use later the same day. Data were pooled from 4 studies of drinkers (N = 274; ages 15 to 66 years) who completed a 4- to 14-day (M = 7.46, SD = 1.13) EMA monitoring period. Each morning, participants recorded how much alcohol they consumed the day before and rated their hangover severity. Participants who consumed a greater quantity of alcohol the prior day reported more severe hangover symptoms; however, there was an interaction between drinking volume and age, such that hangover was more severe among younger drinkers, especially at higher drinking levels. More severe hangover symptoms did not predict the likelihood of drinking later that day; however, on drinking days, more severe hangover symptoms predicted lower quantities of alcohol use later that day. This event-level effect did not vary as a function of age. Study outcomes did not vary by sex. Our findings suggest that younger drinkers experience more severe hangovers, and that greater hangover results in lighter drinking later that same day regardless of age. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Alcohol craving and demand mediate the relation between posttraumatic stress symptoms and alcohol-related consequences.
    Posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms are associated with alcohol-related consequences, but there is a need to understand mediators that may help explain the reasons for this relationship. Individuals with PTS may experience elevated craving and alcohol reward value (demand), which may contribute to risk for alcohol-related consequences. We examined relationships between PTS status, craving, alcohol demand, and alcohol-related consequences in PTS-positive (n = 64) and PTS-negative (n = 200) college students (M age = 21.7; 77% women; 54% Caucasian; 34% African American) who endorsed past-month alcohol use. We tested craving and alcohol demand as mediators of the relation between PTS status and alcohol-related consequences. Craving (B = .04, SE = .02, 95% CI [.01, .10]), demand intensity (B = .02, SE = .02, 95% CI [.001, .07]), and demand elasticity (B = .05, SE = .03, 95% CI [.006, .12]) significantly mediated the association between PTS symptoms and alcohol-related consequences. Craving remained a significant mediator in a multiple mediators model (B = .08, SE = .04, 95% CI [.03, .19]). Craving and alcohol demand may partially explain the relation between PTS status and alcohol-related consequences. Craving may be especially salient for individuals with PTS symptoms, as it may lead to more severe alcohol-related consequences even in the absence of elevated alcohol consumption. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • A randomized controlled trial of a behavioral economic intervention for alcohol and marijuana use.
    A recent study demonstrated that a single 50-min supplemental session that targeted the behavioral economic mechanisms of substance-free reinforcement and delayed reward discounting (Substance-Free Activity Session: SFAS) enhanced the efficacy of a standard alcohol brief motivational intervention (BMI) for college drinkers. The purpose of the current study was to conduct a randomized controlled trial intended to replicate and extend the aforementioned study by focusing on both drug and alcohol misuse and reducing session length in order to enhance dissemination potential. Participants were 97 college students (58.8% women; 59.8% White/Caucasian, and 30.9% African American; M age = 20.01, SD = 2.23) who reported at least 1 heavy drinking episode in the past month (M = 4.01 episodes). Most participants (62%) reported recent marijuana use (M = 12.22 days of past-month use). After completing a baseline assessment and an individual 30-min alcohol-focused BMI, participants were randomized to either the 30-min SFAS session or an education control session. A series of mixed model intent-to-treat analyses revealed that both groups reported drinking reductions and that participants in the BMI + SFAS group reported fewer days using marijuana at the 6-month follow-up. These results do not support the incremental efficacy of the briefer SFAS for reducing drinking but suggest that it may improve marijuana outcomes. Future research is needed to identify the ideal length and timing of the SFAS supplement to BMIs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Marijuana’s acute effects on cognitive bias for affective and marijuana cues.
    Marijuana produces acute increases in positive subjective effects and decreased reactivity to negative affective stimuli, though may also acutely induce anxiety. Implicit attentional and evaluative processes may explicate marijuana’s ability to acutely increase positive and negative emotions. This within-subjects study examined whether smoked marijuana with 2.7–3.0% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), relative to placebo, acutely changed attentional processing of rewarding and negative affective stimuli as well as marijuana-specific stimuli. On 2 separate days, regular marijuana users (N = 89) smoked placebo or active THC cigarette and completed subjective ratings of mood, intoxication, urge to smoke marijuana, and 2 experimental tasks: pleasantness rating (response latency and perceived pleasantness of affective and marijuana-related stimuli) and emotional Stroop (attentional bias to affective stimuli). On the pleasantness rating task, active marijuana increased response latency to negatively valenced and marijuana-related (vs. neutral) visual stimuli, beyond a general slowing of response. Active marijuana also increased pleasantness ratings of marijuana images, although to a lesser extent than placebo due to reduced marijuana urge after smoking. Overall, active marijuana did not acutely change processing of positive emotional stimuli. There was no evidence of attentional bias to affective word stimuli on the emotional Stroop task with the exception of attentional bias to positive word stimuli in the subgroup of marijuana users with cannabis dependence. Marijuana may increase allocation of attentional resources toward marijuana-specific and negatively valenced visual stimuli without altering processing of positively valenced stimuli. Marijuana-specific cues may be more attractive with higher levels of marijuana craving and less wanted with low craving levels. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Contingency management for cigarette smokers with depressive symptoms.
    Despite depressive symptoms being very common among smokers from the general population, few studies have examined the effects of depressive symptoms on smoking treatment outcomes, and even less research has been carried out in the context of contingency management (CM). The authors conducted a secondary analysis to assess the interrelation between treatment condition, depressive symptoms and treatment outcomes among treatment-seeking smokers. The sample was made up of 147 treatment-seeking smokers who were randomly allocated 2 treatment conditions: cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT; n = 74), or CBT + CM (n = 73). CBT was applied in 1-hr group-based sessions over 6 weeks. The CM protocol was voucher-based with maximum earnings of €300 (US$339). Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory-II. Smoking abstinence was verified though cotinine and carbon monoxide. Several analyses were conducted to explore the effect of treatment condition and baseline depressive symptoms on treatment outcomes, as well as the effect of treatment condition and smoking status on depressive symptoms. The CBT + CM condition was more effective than CBT, independent of depressive symptoms. The presence of depressive symptoms decreased the number of days of continuous smoking abstinence. Participants with a greater number of days of continuous smoking abstinence had fewer depressive symptoms than those with fewer days of continuous smoking abstinence. Findings suggest that health care providers should consider encouraging their patients with depressive symptoms to seek smoking cessation services that include both smoking cessation protocols and behavioral activation for mood management, thus maximizing both smoking and depressive outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Interaction effect of contingency management and sex on delay-discounting changes among treatment-seeking smokers.
    Despite the potential influence of sex on delay-discounting rates, there is no previous evidence with regard to the effect of this variable on the clinical interventions aimed at modifying delay-discounting rates. This study assessed the effect of sex on the association between the type of treatment received (either cognitive–behavioral treatment [CBT] alone or combined with contingency management [CM + CBT]) and delay-discounting changes at end of treatment and 6-month follow-up. This aim was addressed after controlling for the influence of baseline delay discounting. Treatment-seeking smokers (N = 116) were randomly assigned to either CM + CBT (n = 69) or CBT alone (n = 47). Participants completed delay-discounting assessments at intake, at end of treatment, and at 6-month follow-up. Results showed that there was a significant interaction effect of treatment type and sex, such that women who received CM decreased their discounting more than women who did not. However, this effect was not found among men. Participants who discounted most at intake showed the greatest delay-discounting decreases. Lastly, smoking abstinence did not affect changes in delay discounting. The current results suggest that CM intervention may have a differential effect on delay-discounting changes as a function of sex. This finding supports the relevance of considering the effect of individual variables when assessing changes in delay discounting due to clinical interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Contingency management treatments are equally efficacious for both sexes in intensive outpatient settings.
    Clear differences are present in men and women’s developmental course of substance use disorders. Whether these sex differences affect substance abuse treatment outcomes is less apparent. The present study investigated sex differences in demographic and intake characteristics and assessed sex, treatment condition, and interactive effects on 3 treatment outcomes: treatment retention, longest duration of abstinence, and percentage of negative samples submitted. Participants (N = 920) were randomized to contingency management (CM) for abstinence or standard care treatment in 1 of 5 clinical trials. In terms of pretreatment characteristics, women reported lower educational achievement and more unemployment; were younger and more likely to submit a positive urine sample at intake; and experienced more problems in employment, drug, family, and psychiatric domains. Men reported more years of alcohol use and significantly higher alcohol and legal problem severity. Men and women stayed in treatment for similar durations of time and had similar abstinence outcomes. No significant Sex × Treatment Condition interactions were present across the 3 outcomes. These results suggest that treatment-seeking substance users in intensive outpatient settings benefit equally well from CM interventions, regardless of sex. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Identification and management of nonsystematic purchase task data: Toward best practice.
    Experimental assessments of demand allow the examination of economic phenomena relevant to the etiology, maintenance, and treatment of addiction and other pathologies (e.g., obesity). Although such assessments have historically been resource intensive, development and use of purchase tasks—in which participants purchase 1 or more hypothetical or real commodities across a range of prices—have made data collection more practical and have increased the rate of scientific discovery. However, extraneous sources of variability occasionally produce nonsystematic demand data, in which price exerts either no or inconsistent effects on the purchases of individual participants. Such data increase measurement error, can often not be interpreted in light of research aims, and likely obscure effects of the variable(s) under investigation. Using data from 494 participants, we introduce and evaluate an algorithm (derived from prior methods) for identifying nonsystematic demand data, wherein individual participants’ demand functions are judged against 2 general, empirically based assumptions: (a) global, price-dependent reduction in consumption and (b) consistency in purchasing across prices. We also introduce guidelines for handling nonsystematic data, noting some conditions in which excluding such data from primary analyses may be appropriate and others in which doing so may bias conclusions. Adoption of the methods presented here may serve to unify the research literature and facilitate discovery. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The effects of environmental enrichment on nicotine condition place preference in male rats.
    Environmental enrichment has previously been shown to alter sensitivity to psychostimulants and opiates in various preclinical models. However, little research has been conducted studying the effects of environmental enrichment on the more commonly abused drug, nicotine. The current study raised male rats in either enriched conditions (EC) or isolated conditions (IC) and tested the animals’ sensitivity to acquisition, extinction and reinstatement of nicotine conditioned place preference (CPP). Using a 3-chamber CPP apparatus, male Sprague–Dawley rats were conditioned with 1 of 3 doses of nicotine (0.4, 0.6, and 0.8 mg/kg) or saline on alternating days across 8 conditioning trials, followed by a test day for a nicotine-induced CPP response. Next, the animals had 5 extinction sessions followed by a nicotine-primed reinstatement session. EC rats displayed nicotine CPP at all 3 doses, whereas IC rats failed to show significant nicotine CPP relative to saline controls. EC rats also showed extinction of the nicotine-induced CPP response by the fifth extinction session for all 3 nicotine doses tested. However, only the 2 highest doses of the nicotine prime reinstated a CPP response in EC rats relative to saline controls. Taken together, these findings suggest that environmental enrichment may increase sensitivity to the rewarding effects of nicotine. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Effects of continuous nicotine treatment and subsequent termination on cocaine versus food choice in male rhesus monkeys.
    One complicating factor in cocaine addiction may be concurrent exposure and potential dependence on nicotine. The aim of the present study was to determine the effects of continuous nicotine treatment and subsequent termination on cocaine versus food choice in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta). For comparison, we also determined effects of the nicotinic receptor antagonist mecamylamine on cocaine versus food choice during continuous saline and nicotine treatment. Rhesus monkeys (N = 3) responded under a concurrent schedule of food pellet (1 g) and intravenous cocaine (0–0.1 mg/kg/injection) availability. Saline and ascending nicotine doses (0.1–1.0 mg/kg/hr, intravenous) were continuously infused for 7-day treatment periods and separated by 24-hr saline treatment periods. Acute effects of mecamylamine (0.32–1.8 mg/kg, intramuscular, 15 min pretreatment) were determined during continuous saline and 0.32-mg/kg/hr nicotine treatments. During saline treatment, cocaine maintained a dose-dependent increase in cocaine choice. Nicotine treatment did not alter cocaine versus food choice. In contrast, preference of 0.032 mg/kg/injection cocaine was attenuated 24 hr following termination of 0.32-mg/kg/hr nicotine treatment, despite no somatic abstinence signs being observed. Acute mecamylamine enhanced cocaine choice during saline treatment and mainly suppressed rates of behavior during nicotine treatment. Overall, continuous nicotine exposure, up to 1 mg/kg/hr, does not enhance cocaine choice and does not produce nicotine dependence, as demonstrated by the lack of abstinence signs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Effects of repeated morphine on intracranial self-stimulation in male rats in the absence or presence of a noxious pain stimulus.
    Research on opioid analgesics such as morphine suggests that expression of abuse-related effects increases with repeated exposure. Repeated exposure to opioids often occurs clinically in the context of pain management, and a major concern for clinicians is the risk of iatrogenic addiction and dependence in patients receiving opioids for treatment of pain. This study compared abuse-related morphine effects in male rats in an intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) procedure after repeated treatment either with morphine alone or with morphine in combination with a repeated noxious stimulus (intraperitoneal administration of dilute acid). The study also permitted comparison of morphine potency and effectiveness to block acid-induced depression of ICSS (antinociception) and to produce enhanced facilitation of ICSS (abuse-related effect). There were 3 main findings. First, initial morphine exposure to drug naïve rats did not produce abuse-related ICSS facilitation. Second, repeated daily treatment with 3.2 mg/kg/day morphine for 6 days increased expression of ICSS facilitation. This occurred whether morphine was administered in the absence or presence of the noxious stimulus. Finally, a lower dose of 1.0 mg/kg/day morphine was sufficient to produce antinociception during repeated acid treatment, but this lower dose did not reliably increase abuse-related morphine effects. Taken together, these results suggest that prior morphine exposure can increase abuse liability of subsequent morphine treatments even when that morphine exposure occurs in the context of a pain state. However, it may be possible to relieve pain with relatively low morphine doses that do not produce increases in abuse-related morphine effects. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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