Benzodiazepine (BDZ) abuse, especially concerning high doses of BDZs, is an impairing substance use disorder (SUD) that is often difficult to treat. Craving and cue reactivity (CR) are two important phenomena that have a prominent role in maintaining addiction and triggering relapses in BDZ abuse; nevertheless, they have rarely been addressed in scientific literature. The present study aims to fill these gaps by implementing a highly innovative virtual reality (VR) design to assess the impact of substance-related environmental cues on BDZ craving, as well as their influence on patients' affective states. Therefore, on one hand, this research will contribute to the assessment of VR feasibility in the study of these phenomena, and, on the other, it will help disentangle the role that CR and craving have on mood and attention, which are equally important factors to consider when treating SUDs. We will recruit a healthy control group and a patient group comprising people seeking treatment for BDZ detoxification. The experimental design will consist of the presentation of three VR scenarios, one neutral, one BDZ-related but without BDZ cues, and another with BDZ cues. The craving will be measured through a virtual analog scale (VAS); the Profile of Mood States (POMS) and Alcohol Attention Scale (AAS) questionnaires in a modified version will also be administered. We will additionally control for VR-induced feelings of sickness by administering the Simulator Sickness Questionnaire (SSQ), and the Presence Questionnaire (PQ) will be used to investigate participants' sense of presence in virtual environments. We expect patients to exhibit higher levels of craving, and that the craving will be higher after exposure to a cue-related virtual environment as compared to a neutral scenario.

Study protocol-Evoked craving in high-dose benzodiazepine users

Zamboni, Lorenzo
;
Toldo, Silvia;Mattiello, Matteo;Campagnari, Simone;Verlato, Giuseppe;Chiamulera, Cristiano;Lugoboni, Fabio
2022

Abstract

Benzodiazepine (BDZ) abuse, especially concerning high doses of BDZs, is an impairing substance use disorder (SUD) that is often difficult to treat. Craving and cue reactivity (CR) are two important phenomena that have a prominent role in maintaining addiction and triggering relapses in BDZ abuse; nevertheless, they have rarely been addressed in scientific literature. The present study aims to fill these gaps by implementing a highly innovative virtual reality (VR) design to assess the impact of substance-related environmental cues on BDZ craving, as well as their influence on patients' affective states. Therefore, on one hand, this research will contribute to the assessment of VR feasibility in the study of these phenomena, and, on the other, it will help disentangle the role that CR and craving have on mood and attention, which are equally important factors to consider when treating SUDs. We will recruit a healthy control group and a patient group comprising people seeking treatment for BDZ detoxification. The experimental design will consist of the presentation of three VR scenarios, one neutral, one BDZ-related but without BDZ cues, and another with BDZ cues. The craving will be measured through a virtual analog scale (VAS); the Profile of Mood States (POMS) and Alcohol Attention Scale (AAS) questionnaires in a modified version will also be administered. We will additionally control for VR-induced feelings of sickness by administering the Simulator Sickness Questionnaire (SSQ), and the Presence Questionnaire (PQ) will be used to investigate participants' sense of presence in virtual environments. We expect patients to exhibit higher levels of craving, and that the craving will be higher after exposure to a cue-related virtual environment as compared to a neutral scenario.
abuse; addiction; benzodiazepine; cue reactivity; virtual reality
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1077126
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