Impulsivity in Addiction

Research Background

There is increasing evidence indicating that cognitive functions play a significant role in the development and progression of alcohol and drug addiction. In this research, the role of impulsivity in addiction was investigated through combined clinical human research (randomized controlled trial), human fundamental research (neuroimaging brain research; pharmaco-fMRI), and animal model research.

Research Objective

We examined whether impulsivity is a treatable vulnerability factor in the onset of addiction and relapse into addiction. In the human study (part 1), the role of modafinil (a cognitive enhancer) and the role of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) were investigated through a single administration of modafinil or NAC (placebo-controlled crossover design) in cocaine-dependent or alcohol-dependent groups of clients. The influence of this medication on impulsivity and brain functions was studied.

In a large clinical trial (randomized clinical trial), the effect of modafinil on alcohol dependence was examined. It was found that modafinil had a positive effect on alcohol dependence in clients with high impulsivity, while in clients with low impulsivity, modafinil had a negative effect.