Navigation Links
New analysis may help clarify the role of craving in addiction

Athens, Ga. Just-published research led by a psychologist at the University of Georgia shows that behavioral economic analysis may lead to an improved understanding of craving for alcohol and other drugs.

This method of studying how craving alters the way a person values a drug is fairly new, but according to the study, it may well help assess cravings more accurately and contribute to identifying more effective ways to defeat addictions.

The research was published Tuesday in the journal Addiction.

The classical perspective on the role of craving in addiction is that over time excessive alcohol or drug use leads to increasingly persistent desires or urges for them. Ways to use craving as a predictor of post-treatment relapses, have, unfortunately, been unclear at best.

"The role of craving in the motivation of drug users has been controversial because of ambiguous findings and challenges in defining craving itself," said James MacKillop, lead author on the research and a member of the department of psychology in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "The field of behavioral economics is a hybrid of psychology and microeconomics and has the potential to address a number of the inherent limitations we have seen in studying craving. One of the reasons for the ambiguity may be related to measurement problems. Behavioral economics translates subjective desires into more objective terms, like number of drinks consumed and dollars spent, and shows real promise in finding better ways to study and understand craving."

Other authors of the paper are Sean O'Hagen and Stephen Lisman of the State University of New York at Binghamton, James Murphy of the University of Memphis, Lara Ray of UCLA and Jennifer Tidey, John McGeary and Peter Monti of the Providence Veterans Medical Center and Brown University.

The study involved 92 university students from the Northeast who were "heavy drinkers," meaning at least 21 drinks a week for males and 14 for females. The subjects were not given anything to drink but underwent a laboratory assessment after being poured a glass of spring water and after being poured a glass of their favorite beer.

In both contexts, subjects related their subjective craving for alcohol and estimated how much they would drink based on an increasing price scale. The presence of their favorite beer significantly increased craving for alcohol but also significantly increased the relative value of alcohol in behavioral economic terms. Subjects reported they would drink significantly more alcohol at low prices, they would spend more money in total on alcohol and they would continue to drink at higher prices.

While this may seem intuitive and a matter of common sense, behavioral economic methods have not been extensively applied to understand craving in the past. The new information may be useful, for example, in understanding the paradoxical behavior exhibited by addicts who commonly vacillate from wanting to quit drinking, smoking or using other drugs to reversing course and continuing to use.

More broadly, behavioral economics may have diverse applications to alcohol and drug misuse, from improving measurement in research to informing policymakers with regard to tax policy.

"Assessing craving using behavioral economic variables gives us a different and more complete understanding of how craving and decision-making interact," said MacKillop. "We believe this work is both interesting and exciting and has the capacity to help us understand craving much better than we have before."

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2001, heavy drinking was reported by 5.7 percent of the population aged 12 or older, or 12.9 million people. Among youths aged 12 to 17, an estimated 17.3 percent used alcohol in the month prior to the survey interview. Of all youths, 10.6 percent were binge drinkers, and 2.5 percent were heavy drinkers. The American Heart Association reports that in the United States an estimated 24.8 million men (23.1 percent) and 21.1 million women (18.3 percent) are smokers. These people, the group says, are at higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

Thus the stakes for better understanding craving as it relates to addiction are high.


Contact: James McKillop
University of Georgia

Related medicine news :

1. Large-scale genomic analysis of prostate cancer unveiled
2. New genetic analysis reveals principles of phenotypic expression
3. TGen partner, PBS-Bio, makes first breakthrough drug analysis
4. Progressive Medical Releases 2010 Workers' Compensation Drug Spend Analysis
5. AthletiCo Physical Therapy Enhances Work Rehabilitation Program by Offering Ergonomics and Job Analysis
6. DSPanel's New Mobile Analytics Server for Business Intelligence: Data Analysis, Monitoring and Planning When and Where You Need It
7. Disagreement on symptom-reflux association analysis parameters in infants
8. New Diagnostic Testing Company, Blue Ocean Biomedical, Specializes In Automated, Load & Go Cell Analysis Systems For Immune Monitoring
9. Evolve Creative Media Offers Competitive Market Analysis to Assist Small Businesses in Hamilton
10. Rapid analysis of DNA damage now possible
11. Voice Analysis May Allow Early Detection of Parkinsons
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 2015 , ... "When I was traveling, I was very ... "Many people catch diseases simply from sitting on such dirty toilet seats. I ... germs." , He developed the patent-pending QUDRATECS to eliminate the need to sit ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Aliso Viejo, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... exclusively for use in Final Cut Pro X. With ProSidebar: Fasion, video editors ... banners, or use ProSidebar as a minimalist title opener. Utilize presets featuring self-animating ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... Microsoft Dynamics SL User Group (MSDSLUG). Recognized as Microsoft’s official group for end ... Microsoft Dynamics SL software users, partners, industry experts and representatives. Intellitec Solutions’ membership ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... Health-E-minds, an innovative online platform for mental health and wellness consultation, has collaborated ... This partnership will bridge the knowledge gap experienced by parents and bring advice ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... Dr. Thomas ... Associates, Inc. and Dr. Tucker Bierbaum with Emergency Medicine at St., Joseph ... that both STEMI and Sepsis conditions present in similar ways and require time-critical intervention ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26, 2015 Research and Markets ( ) ... Pacemaker Market Outlook to 2019 - Rise in Cardiac Disorders ... report to their offering. Boston ... Boston scientific and others. --> ... Biotronik, Boston scientific and others. ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... addition of the "2016 Future Horizons ... of Abuse Testing Market: Supplier Shares, Country ... report to their offering. --> ... the "2016 Future Horizons and Growth ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... universitetssjukhus ser potential att använda SyMRI för ... för patienter med multipel skleros (MS) ... med SyntheticMR AB för att kunna använda ... sjukhuset. Med SyMRI kan man generera flera ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: