Relapse and craving in alcohol-dependent individuals: A Comparison of Self-Reported Determinants

M. Snelleman, T.M. Schoenmakers, H, van de Mheen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background:
Negative affective states and alcohol-related stimuli increase risk of relapse in alcohol dependence. In research and in clinical practice, craving is often used as another important indicator of relapse, but this lacks a firm empirical foundation. Objectives: The goal of the present study is to explore and compare determinants for relapse and craving, using Marlatt’s (1996) taxonomy of high risk situations as template.
Methods:
We conducted semi-structured interviews with 20 alcoholdependent patients about their most recent relapse and craving episodes. Interview transcripts were carefully reviewed for their thematic content, and codes capturing the thematic content were formulated.
Results:
In total, we formulated 42 relapse-related codes and 33 craving-related codes. Descriptions of craving episodes revealed that these episodes vary in frequency and intensity. The presence of alcohol-related stimuli (n = 11) and experiencing a negative emotional state (n = 11) were often occurring determinants of craving episodes. Both negative emotional states (n = 17) and testing personal control (n = 11) were viewed as important determinants of relapses. Craving was seldom mentioned as a determinant for relapse. Additionally, participants reported multiple determinants preceding a relapse, whereas craving episodes were preceded by only one determinant.
Conclusions:
Patient reports do not support the claim that craving by itself is an important proximal determinant for relapse. In addition, multiple determinants were present before a relapse. Therefore, future research should focus on a complexity of different determinants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1099-1107
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Volume53
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • ADDICTION
  • Alcohol
  • DEPRESSED MOOD
  • DESIRE
  • ECOLOGICAL MOMENTARY ASSESSMENT
  • ELABORATED INTRUSION THEORY
  • MODEL
  • REINFORCEMENT
  • RISK
  • TOBACCO
  • craving
  • determinants
  • interviews
  • relapse

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