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Treatment in hospital for alcohol-dependent patients decreases attentional bias

Authors Flaudias V, Brousse G, de Chazeron, Planche F, Brun J, Llorca P 

Received 9 January 2013

Accepted for publication 13 March 2013

Published 30 May 2013 Volume 2013:9 Pages 773—779


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Valentin Flaudias,1,2 Georges Brousse,1,2 Ingrid De Chazeron,1,2 François Planche,2 Julien Brun,2 Pierre-Michel Llorca1,2

1Clermont Université, EA 7280 NPsy-Sydo, Clermont-Ferrand, France; 2Pôle Psychiatrie B, CHU Gabriel-Montpied, Clermont-Ferrand, France

Background and objectives: Previous studies in alcohol-dependent patients have shown an attentional bias (AB) under related substance cues, which can lead to relapse. This AB can be evaluated by the alcohol Stroop test (AST). The AST is a modified Stroop task in which participants have to name the color of an alcohol-related word or a neutral word. AB is the response-time difference between these two types of words. The goal of the current study was to examine modification of AB during specialized hospitalization for alcohol dependence, with the suppression of a training bias that could be present in within-subject design.
Methods: Individuals with alcohol-dependence disorders (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition) and admitted for withdrawal in the addiction unit of the University Hospital of Clermont-Ferrand (test group, n = 42) and persons with no alcohol or psychiatric disorder (control group, n = 16), recruited among colleagues and friends of the staff, performed the AST. A subgroup of the test group performed the AST in admission (admission group, n = 19), and another subgroup undertook the test immediately before discharge (discharge group, n = 23).
Results: Results showed an AB only for patients seen at admission (F[1,55] = 3.283, P = 0.075). Moreover, we observed that the AB in the admission group (mean = 34 ms, standard deviation [SD] = 70.06) was greater than the AB in the control group (mean = 23 ms, SD = 93.42), itself greater than the AB in the discharge group (mean = −12 ms, SD = 93.55) (t[55] = −1.71; P = 0.09).
Conclusion: Although the results are preliminary, the present study provides evidence for changes in the AB during alcohol-addiction treatment and for the value of these methods to diminish AB during detoxification.

Keywords: alcohol Stroop test, addiction, attentional bias

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