Emotional Processing as a Change Mechanism in Alcohol Treatment

In this study, Dr. Stasiewicz examined whether a reduction of negative emotional responses to drinking trigger situations, via prolonged imaginal exposure, would produce a concomitant reduction in alcohol craving produced by those same cues. Secondly, he examined whether a reduction in negative emotional responses and negative affect-elicited alcohol craving was associated with positive treatment outcomes among alcohol dependent men and women. Alcohol dependent men and women received six sessions of prolonged imaginal exposure to negative affect drinking situations delivered concurrent with a standard 12-session Treatment as Usual (TAU) for alcohol dependence. The prolonged exposure intervention incorporated two laboratory sessions (pre- and post-treatment) intended to assess change in cue-elicited negative emotions and alcohol craving. Co-investigator on the study is Clara M. Bradizza, PhD. Funded by a grant of $416,063 from NIAAA, 2007-2010.