Intoxication without anticipation: Disentangling pharmacological from expected effects of alcohol

McNeill, Adam M. and Monk, Rebecca L. and Qureshi, Adam and Heim, Derek (2021) Intoxication without anticipation: Disentangling pharmacological from expected effects of alcohol. Journal of Psychopharmacology. ISSN 1461-7285

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Background: The pharmacological effects of alcohol on executive function, craving and subsequent alcohol-seeking have been well documented. Yet, insufficient methodological controls within existing alcohol administration paradigms have meant that the relative importance of alcohol’s pharmacological and anticipatory effects remains in need of further elucidation. Aim: The objective of this study is to disentangle alcohol’s pharmacological effects from its anticipatory effects on alcohol-related cognitions and subsequent consumption. Methods: Inhibitory control, attentional bias and craving were assessed pre- and post-consumption in 100 participants who were randomly allocated to one of four beverage conditions in a two by two design: (1) alcohol aware (alcohol with participant knowledge (pharmacological/anticipation effects)), (2) alcohol blind (alcohol without participant knowledge; in a novel grain alcohol masking condition (pharmacological/no anticipation effects)), (3) placebo (no alcohol but participants were deceived (anticipation/non-pharmacological effects)) and (4) pure control (no alcohol with participant knowledge (no anticipation/non-pharmacological effects)). Results: Findings suggest that the pharmacological effects of alcohol result in greater inhibitory control impairments compared with anticipated effects. Anticipatory but not the pharmacological effects of alcohol were found to increase attentional bias. Both pharmacology and anticipation resulted in increased craving, though higher levels of craving were observed due to alcohol’s pharmacology. Furthermore, alcohol pharmacology resulted in heightened ad libitum consumption; however, anticipation did not. Changes in craving partially mediated the relationship between initial intoxication and subsequent drinking, while inhibitory control impairments did not. Conclusions: Successive alcohol consumption appears driven primarily by the pharmacological effects of alcohol which are exerted via changes in craving.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** From Crossref journal articles via Jisc Publications Router ** History: epub 25-10-2021; issued 25-10-2021.
Identification Number:
1 October 2021Accepted
25 October 2021Published
Uncontrolled Keywords: Pharmacology (medical), Psychiatry and Mental health, Pharmacology
Subjects: CAH04 - psychology > CAH04-01 - psychology > CAH04-01-01 - psychology (non-specific)
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences > Dept. Psychology
SWORD Depositor: JISC PubRouter
Depositing User: JISC PubRouter
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2021 16:29
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2021 16:29

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