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Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Apr 1;69(7):708-11. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.07.014.

Incubation of cue-induced cigarette craving during abstinence in human smokers.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA. GB2326@columbia.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Abstinent drug users remain at risk for relapse long after withdrawal subsides. Animal studies indicate that responses to drug-related cues not only persist but increase with abstinence, a phenomenon termed "incubation of drug craving." It is unknown whether cue-induced craving increases, decreases, or remains constant with abstinence in humans. We investigated effects of abstinence on cue-induced craving in cigarette smokers.

METHODS:

Eighty-six non-treatment-seeking, adult smokers (≥10 cigarettes daily) were paid to abstain for 7 (Group 1), 14 (Group 2), or 35 (Groups 3 and 4) days. Abstinence was verified daily. Groups 1, 2, and 3 underwent a single cue session on the final abstinence day (7, 14, or 35). Group 4 viewed cues on Days 7, 14, and 35.

RESULTS:

Between and within groups, smoking-cue-induced craving increased with abstinence on some measures. Cue-induced craving was greater in Group 3 (35-day) compared with Group 1 (7-day). Within Group 4, cue-induced craving was greater at 35 than 14 days. Cue-induced craving did not decrease with abstinence on any measure.

CONCLUSIONS:

We present initial evidence of incubation of cue-induced craving in humans. The observation that cue-induced craving increases with abstinence, even as "background" craving and withdrawal symptoms subside, might have treatment implications.

PMID:
20817135
PMCID:
PMC3027849
DOI:
10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.07.014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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