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Predicting relapse after alcohol use disorder treatment in a high-risk cohort: The roles of anhedonia and smoking.

Nguyen LC, Durazzo TC, Dwyer CL, Rauch AA, Humphreys K, Williams LM, Padula CB. Predicting relapse after alcohol use disorder treatment in a high-risk cohort: The roles of anhedonia and smoking. Journal of psychiatric research. 2020 Jul 1; 126:1-7.

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On average, two-thirds of individuals treated for alcohol use disorder (AUD) relapse within six months. There is a critical need to identify modifiable risk factors associated with relapse that can be addressed during AUD treatment. Candidate factors include mood disorders and cigarette smoking, which frequently co-occur with AUD. We predicted that co-occurrence of mood disorders, cigarette smoking, and other modifiable conditions will predict relapse within six months of AUD treatment. Ninety-five Veterans, 23-91 years old, completed assessments of multiple characteristics including demographic information, co-occurring psychiatric disorders, and medical conditions during residential treatment for AUD. Participants' alcohol consumption was monitored over six months after participation. Logistic regression was used to determine if, mood disorders, cigarette smoking status, alcohol consumption, educational level, and comorbid general medical conditions are associated with relapse after AUD treatment. Sixty-nine percent of Veterans (n  =  66) relapsed within six months of study while 31% remained abstinent (n  =  29). While education, comorbid general medical conditions, and mood disorder diagnoses were not predictors of relapse, Veterans with greater symptoms of anhedonia, active smokers, and fewer days of abstinence prior to treatment showed significantly greater odds for relapse within six months. Anhedonia and cigarette smoking are modifiable risk factors, and effective treatment of underlying anhedonic symptoms and implementation of smoking cessation concurrent with AUD-focused interventions may decrease risk of relapse.

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