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Blunted Neurobehavioral Loss Anticipation Predicts Relapse to Stimulant Drug Use.

Authors
  • Mortazavi, Leili1
  • MacNiven, Kelly H1
  • Knutson, Brian2
  • 1 Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California.
  • 2 Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California. Electronic address: [email protected].
Type
Published Article
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2024
Volume
95
Issue
3
Pages
256–265
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2023.07.020
PMID: 37567334
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Patients with stimulant use disorder experience high rates of relapse. While neurobehavioral mechanisms involved in initiating drug use have been studied extensively, less research has focused on relapse. To assess motivational processes involved in relapse and diagnosis, we acquired functional magnetic resonance imaging responses to nondrug (monetary) gains and losses in detoxified patients with stimulant use disorder (n = 68) and community control participants (n = 42). In a prospective multimodal design, we combined imaging of brain function, brain structure, and behavior to longitudinally track subsequent risk for relapse. At the 6-month follow-up assessment, 27 patients remained abstinent, but 33 had relapsed. Patients with blunted anterior insula (AIns) activity during loss anticipation were more likely to relapse, an association that remained robust after controlling for potential confounds (i.e., craving, negative mood, years of use, age, and gender). Lower AIns activity during loss anticipation was associated with lower self-reported negative arousal to loss cues and slower behavioral responses to avoid losses, which also independently predicted relapse. Furthermore, AIns activity during loss anticipation was associated with the structural coherence of a tract connecting the AIns and the nucleus accumbens, as was functional connectivity between the AIns and nucleus accumbens during loss processing. However, these neurobehavioral responses did not differ between patients and control participants. Taken together, the results of the current study show that neurobehavioral markers predicted relapse above and beyond conventional self-report measures, with a cross-validated accuracy of 72.7%. These findings offer convergent multimodal evidence that implicates blunted avoidance motivation in relapse to stimulant use and may therefore guide interventions targeting individuals who are most vulnerable to relapse. Copyright © 2023 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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