Precision Medicine and Novel Approaches to the Treatment Alcohol Use Disorder

In programme
Wednesday, 23 November, 2022 - 13:20 to 14:50
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Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a heterogeneous and undertreated disorder. Success rates and access to conventional treatments is modest. In this structured session, we bring together four experts in the treatment of AUD and in studying precision medicine approaches to increase the efficacy of existing treatments. 

First, Professor Wiers will introduce results from a new approach to the behavioral treatment of AUD, called ABC-training, that defines personalized Antecedents, personally-relevant Behavioral alternatives and Consequences (Cs) (of drinking or alternative). ABC-training targets automatically activated inferences about the contingencies between stimuli, responses, and outcomes that translate into behaviour.

Second, Professor Witkiewitz will describe a new approach to phenotyping AUD using the Alcohol and Addiction Research Domain Criteria, and show how this phenotype may predict harm reduction recovery outcomes. Specifically, results indicate that negative emotionality was most strongly associated with recovery outcomes, such that lower negative emotionality predicted high functioning recovery profiles. Higher incentive salience and greater executive function predicted high functioning non-abstinent recovery.

Third, Ms. Votaw will present new findings that examined the extent to which individuals with AUD may seek alcohol to enhance positive experiences (reward drinking) or relieve negative states (relief drinking). Taking a precision medicine approach to pharmacological treatment, she will present new data showing that individuals with AUD who have a high reward/low relief phenotype and who received naltrexone or acamprosate had a decreased likelihood of heavy drinking (large effect sizes) versus those who received placebo.

Professor Mann will lead a discussion of these new findings and how these results may further advance the field of AUD treatment and research, and ultimately reduce suffering related to AUD.

The aim of this symposium is to introduce new behavioral treatment approaches and precision medicine techniques to reduce the burden and increase success in treatment for individuals with alcohol use disorder.