Changes on the Modulation of the Startle Reflex in Alcohol-Dependent Patients after 12 Weeks of a Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention.

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Publication Details

Author list: Jurado Barba R
Publisher: Karger Publishers
Publication year: 2015
Journal: European Addiction Research (1022-6877)
Volume number: 21
Issue number: 4
Start page: 195
End page: 203
Number of pages: 9
ISSN: 1022-6877
eISSN: 1421-9891
Languages: English-Great Britain (EN-GB)


Little is known about changes in the modulation of the startle reflex
when patients go through an alcohol-dependence treatment in an
outpatient facility. In the current study, the affective modulation of
the cue-related startle reflex has been used to evaluate changes in the
emotional processing of alcohol-related stimuli that occurred after a
standard cognitive-behavioral intervention, and to assess the outcome of
this intervention. We hypothesized a 'normalization' of the startle
inhibition for the alcohol-related cues during the period of treatment.
We also assumed that higher startle inhibition at baseline elicited by
alcohol cues would predict the relapse on alcohol consumption during
treatment.A total of 98 alcohol-dependent subjects were included who
fulfilled DSM-IV criteria for alcohol dependence. A control group of 72
subjects was selected to match demographic characteristics.All patients
received a standard cognitive-behavioral therapy once a week throughout
the study period.Results show that the startle response differed
significantly after 12 weeks of treatment for alcohol-related, neutral
and aversive stimuli between alcohol-dependent patients and controls.
Low startle responses at baseline to alcohol cues predicted
relapse.These results may indicate that the startle reflex is referred
to enduring and permanent processes of cue reactivity, and that the
emotional processing of alcohol-associated cues assessed with the
affect-modulated startle reflex is less altered by interventions
attempting to influence explicit cognitions. Furthermore, lower values
of the baseline startle reflex elicited by alcohol-associated stimuli
were associated with higher probability of relapse on alcohol use.


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Last updated on 2019-13-08 at 00:45