Open J Psychiatry Allied Sci. 2019 May 8. [Epub ahead of print]

Attentional biases for alcohol-Stroop test in patients with alcohol dependence.

Modi P, Malik L, Punia V, Kumar K, Dogra R.

Abstract

Background: Alcohol abuse is an enormous social problem, both in terms of its acute behaviourally impairing effects on the drinker and in terms of the long-term health problems that occur as a function of prolonged excessive use. Recently, there has been a burgeoning interest in associations between the rewarding effects of alcohol and alcohol-related cues, and consequently the degree to which such cues could serve to promote alcohol abuse. Magnitude of attentional bias is associated with relapse in alcohol dependent individuals and that retraining of attentional bias (away from alcohol cues) can have a positive impact on treatment outcome. Keeping this in view, the aim of the present study is to investigate presence of such attentional biases in patients with alcohol dependence. Methodology: A sample of 30 patients with alcohol dependence and 30 healthy controls matched on age and education was taken, for which purposive sampling was done. A modified Stroop test, an index of attentional bias or distraction was administered and their performance was compared to controls. Results: Results indicated that the alcohol group had significantly lower score on colour Stroop (p<0.01) and alcohol colour word Stroop (p<0.05) than normal controls. Implication: Gaining a better understanding of the mechanisms through which attentional bias might operate to promote alcohol consumption behaviour could have potentially significant contributions to the understanding of alcohol use disorders, including implications for treatment.

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