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Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology - Vol 23, Iss 2

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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
  • Effects of caffeine and its metabolite paraxanthine on intracranial self-stimulation in male rats.
    Caffeine is the most widely used psychostimulant in the world, though preclinical studies suggest weaker evidence for abuse-related effects than stimulants with high abuse liability, such as amphetamine or cocaine. Intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) is 1 procedure used to assess the abuse liability of drugs, and previous studies have produced mixed results regarding whether caffeine produces an abuse-related facilitation of ICSS. This study assessed both caffeine and its main metabolite in humans, paraxanthine, using a frequency-rate ICSS procedure and compared their effects to those of amphetamine and cocaine. Male Sprague–Dawley rats were implanted with intracranial electrodes targeting the medial forebrain bundle and trained to respond under a fixed-ratio 1 schedule for brain stimulation that varied across a range of frequencies (56–158 Hz in 0.05 log increments). Data analysis focused on 3 dependent measures: reinforced responding (defined as responses that produced brain stimulation), nonreinforced responding (defined as responses that occurred during each 0.5 s brain stimulation and that did not produce additional stimulation), and total responding (reinforced plus nonreinforced responding). Both amphetamine and cocaine produced robust increases in total, reinforced, and nonreinforced responses. Caffeine also increased total, reinforced, and nonreinforced responses, but the caffeine dose-effect curve had an inverted-U shape, and peak ICSS facilitation was less than that produced by amphetamine or cocaine. Paraxanthine increased only total responses and nonreinforced responses. These results suggest that paraxanthine has low abuse liability and does not mediate abuse-related effects of caffeine. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Modeling naturalistic craving, withdrawal, and affect during early nicotine abstinence: A pilot ecological momentary assessment study.
    Despite the critical role of withdrawal, craving, and positive affect (PA) and negative affect (NA) in smoking relapse, relatively little is known about the temporal and predictive relationship between these constructs within the first day of abstinence. This pilot study aims to characterize dynamic changes in withdrawal, craving, and affect over the course of early abstinence using ecological momentary assessment. Beginning immediately after smoking, moderate and heavy smoking participants (n = 15 per group) responded to hourly surveys assessing craving, withdrawal, NA, and PA. Univariate and multivariate multilevel random coefficient modeling was used to describe the progression of craving, withdrawal/NA, and PA and to test correlations between these constructs at the subject level over the course of early abstinence. Heavy smokers reported greater craving from 1–4 hr of abstinence and greater withdrawal/NA after 3 or more hours as compared with moderate smokers. Level of withdrawal/NA was strongly positively associated with craving, and PA was negatively correlated with craving; however, the temporal dynamics of these correlations differed substantially. The association between withdrawal/NA and craving decreased over early abstinence, whereas the reverse was observed for PA. These findings can inform experimental studies of nicotine abstinence as well as their clinical applications to smoking cessation efforts. In particular, these results help to elucidate the role of PA in nicotine abstinence by demonstrating its independent association with nicotine craving over and above withdrawal/NA. If supported by future studies, these findings can refine experimental methods and clinical approaches for smoking cessation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Examining the relationship between cue-induced craving and actual smoking.
    Smoking cue-reactivity studies have consistently demonstrated heightened self-report craving, as well as moderate autonomic reactivity, among smokers exposed to salient drug-related cues. However, significantly fewer studies have examined whether exposure to smoking cues affects smokers’ actual smoking, or examined the predictive relationship between cue-induced craving and smoking behavior. Using our well-tested pictorial cues in a cue-reactivity paradigm, we investigated the impact of smoking-related cues relative to neutral cues on subjective craving and smoking behavior (assessed via CReSS; Plowshare Technologies, Baltimore, MD) measures of latency to smoke, puff volume, and number of puffs). Further, we examined the predictive value of cue-induced craving on subsequent smoking behavior. Sixty nondeprived daily smokers completed 2 experimental sessions involving exposure to either smoking-related or neutral pictorial cues. Following initial exposure to cues, smokers rated their craving and were then allowed to smoke freely if they chose to during a subsequent 6-min cue exposure period. Result showed that exposure to smoking cues relative to neutral predicted significantly greater craving and increases in smoking behavior. Likewise, the magnitude of the difference in cue-induced craving when exposed to smoking cues relative to neutral cues (i.e., the cue-reactivity effect) was highly predictive of shorter latency to smoke, as well as increased number of puffs and puff volume. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Does impulsiveness moderate response to financial incentives for smoking cessation among pregnant and newly postpartum women?
    We examined whether impulsiveness moderates response to financial incentives for cessation among pregnant smokers. Participants were randomized to receive financial incentives delivered contingent on smoking abstinence or to a control condition wherein incentives were delivered independent of smoking status. The study was conducted in two steps: First, we examined associations between baseline impulsiveness and abstinence at late pregnancy and 24-weeks-postpartum as part of a planned prospective study of this topic using data from a recently completed, randomized controlled clinical trial (N = 118). Next, to increase statistical power, we conducted a second analysis collapsing results across that recent trial and two prior trials involving the same study conditions (N = 236). Impulsivity was assessed using a delay discounting (DD) of hypothetical monetary rewards task in all three trials and Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS) in the most recent trial. Neither DD nor BIS predicted smoking status in the single or combined trials. Receiving abstinence-contingent incentives, lower baseline smoking rate, and a history of quit attempts prepregnancy predicted greater odds of antepartum abstinence across the single and combined trials. No variable predicted postpartum abstinence across the single and combined trials, although a history of antepartum quit attempts and receiving abstinence-contingent incentives predicted in the single and combined trials, respectively. Overall, this study provides no evidence that impulsiveness as assessed by DD or BIS moderates response to this treatment approach while underscoring a substantial association of smoking rate and prior quit attempts with abstinence across the contingent incentives and control treatment conditions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Effects of tryptophan depletion and a simulated alcohol binge on impulsivity.
    Researchers have suggested binge drinkers experience disproportionate increases in impulsivity during the initial period of drinking, leading to a loss of control over further drinking, and that serotonergic mechanisms may underlie such effects. We examined the effects of a simulated alcohol binge and tryptophan depletion on 3 types of impulsivity—response initiation (immediate memory task [IMT]), response inhibition (GoStop task), and delay discounting (single key impulsivity paradigm [SKIP])—and tested whether observed effects were related to real-world binging. Adults (N = 179) with diverse drinking histories completed a within-subject crossover design over 4 experimental days. Each day, participants underwent 1 of 4 test conditions: tryptophan depletion/alcohol, tryptophan depletion/placebo, tryptophan-balanced control/alcohol, or tryptophan-balanced control/placebo. The simulated binge involved consuming 0.3 g/kg of alcohol at 5, 6, and 7 hr after consuming the tryptophan-depletion/balanced mixture. Impulsivity was measured before and after each drink. Relative to the placebo beverage condition, when alcohol was consumed, impulsive responding was increased at moderate and high levels of intoxication on the IMT and the GoStop but only at high levels of intoxication on the SKIP. Tryptophan depletion had no effect on impulsivity. Effects of alcohol and tryptophan manipulations on impulsivity were unrelated to patterns of binge drinking outside the laboratory. The effects of alcohol consumption on impulsivity depend on the component of impulsivity and the dose of alcohol consumed. Such effects do not appear to be a result of reduced serotonin synthesis. In addition, real-world binge drinking behaviors were unrelated to behavioral changes observed in the laboratory. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Alcohol-related and negatively valenced cues increase motor and oculomotor disinhibition in social drinkers.
    Our aim in the present study was to investigate the psychological mechanisms that underlie the disinhibiting effects of alcohol cues in social drinkers by contrasting motor and oculomotor inhibition after exposure to alcohol-related, emotional, and neutral pictures. We conducted 2 studies in which social drinkers completed modified stop-signal (laboratory) and antisaccade (online) tasks in which positive, negative, alcohol-related, and neutral pictures were embedded. We measured cue-specific disinhibition in each task, and investigated whether sex and drinking status moderated the effects of pictures on disinhibition. Across both studies, comparable increases in disinhibition were observed in response to both alcohol and negatively valenced pictures, relative to both positive and neutral pictures. These differences in disinhibition could not be explained by differences between picture sets in arousal or valence ratings. There was no clear evidence of moderation by sex or drinking status. Secondary analyses demonstrated that alcohol-specific disinhibition was not reliably associated with individual differences in alcohol consumption or craving. These results suggest that the disinhibiting properties of alcohol-related cues cannot be attributed solely to their valence or arousing properties, and that alcohol cues may have unique disinhibiting properties. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • A comparison of delay discounting in adolescents and adults in treatment for cannabis use disorders.
    Delay discounting is associated with problematic substance use and poorer treatment outcomes in adolescents and adults with substance use disorders. Although some research has addressed delay discounting among individuals with cannabis use disorders (CUDs), results have been equivocal, and no study has examined whether discounting rates differ between adolescent and adult cannabis users. The aim of this study was to compare discounting rates between adolescents and adults in treatment for CUD to determine whether discounting at intake or changes in discounting across treatment differed between age groups. Participants were 165 adolescents and 104 adults enrolled in treatment for CUD. Participants completed a delay discounting task at intake and end of treatment for 2 commodities (money and cannabis) at 2 different magnitudes ($100 and $1,000). Repeated measures mixed models examined differences in discounting rates by commodity and magnitude across age groups at intake and changes in discounting across treatment. At intake, adolescents discounted money more than adults whereas adults showed greater discounting at $100 magnitude than $1,000. In addition, adults had greater decreases in discounting of cannabis over the course of treatment. Overall, adolescents appeared less sensitive to changes in magnitude of rewards, discounted money at higher rates, and showed less improvement in discounting over the course of treatment compared to adults. Comparing delay discounting in adolescents and adults with CUD can contribute to a better understanding of how development influences the effect of discounting on substance use to better inform treatment for substance use disorders. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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