Category: Addictive Behaviors

Symposium

Symposium 40 - Underlying Risk Factors of Addictions and Their Implication for Treatment

Friday, November 17
1:45 PM - 3:15 PM
Location: Sapphire 410, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: Etiology | Anxiety Sensitivity | Distress Tolerance
Presentation Type: Symposium

The third most common set of psychiatric disorders is addiction. The harms associated with these disorders are widespread from the affected individual to society at large. Sadly, treatment seeking rates are low, and relapse rates are high. Consequently, economic costs of addiction are staggering, making it one of the most costly medical/mental health problems. Therefore, understanding how these disorders arise is paramount for reasons of prevention and intervention. This symposium examines underlying risk-factors associated with etiology of addiction across different substances/behaviors and populations (i.e., contexts), and concludes with a presentation on how these risk-factors may impact treatment outcome.


Current formulations of addiction recognize latent etiological subtypes. Yet, these classification schemes remain specific to individual addictive behaviors. Presentation 1 takes a broad transdiagnostic perspective examining latent subtype generalizability across addictions. Results support a transdiagnostic conceptualization of addiction subtypes (e.g., emotionally vulnerable, early-onset impulsivistic) that contain individuals from across the spectrum of behavioral and substance-related addictive disorders. Presentation 2 continues the transdiagnostic theme examining the relationship between comorbid anxiety and substance use problems in adolescents. It focuses on the underlying risk factors of anxiety sensitivity, distress tolerance, and negative urgency and emphasizes the complexity when taking a transdiagnostic perspective. It highlights how a risk-factor (i.e., anxiety sensitivity) for one addictive behavior (i.e., alcohol) may attenuate the risk for another addictive behavior (i.e., marijuana). Presentation 3 builds upon these presentations examining distress tolerance as an important underlying risk-factor not only for addiction but for other frequently comorbid conditions. What emerges from this presentation is that distress tolerance is an important etiological factor for not only addiction but other psychiatric disorders (i.e., posttraumatic stress disorder, depression) as well. Presentation 4 concludes with the impact of risk-factors on treatment outcome and highlights the difficulty when translating this research into the clinical realm. Within smoking cessation, depression and impulsivity are related to treatment outcome and yet within the clinical trial presented here these factors were not associated with outcome. Underlying risk factors do not always translate into predicting outcome, especially if the treatment does not specifically target those factors. Following these presentations, the discussant will provide a brief synthesis regarding underlying risk factors and their role in treatment. In sum and consistent with the conference theme, this symposium addresses mechanisms underlying this devastating set of disorders across a variety of contexts.

Learning Objectives:

Jeremiah Weinstock

Associate Professor
Saint Louis University

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Sherry Stewart

Professor
DalHousie University

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    Kevin Wenzel

    Loma Linda VA Medical Center

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    Kate Wolitzky-Taylor

    Associate Professor
    UCLA

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    Stephanie Brooks Holliday

    RAND Corporation

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    David Ledgerwood

    Wayne State University

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