Transdiagnostic CBT for Comorbid Alcohol Use and Anxiety Disorders
Almost 18 million US adults have alcohol use disorders (AUD), with one third of these individuals also diagnosed with anxiety disorders (AXD). The coexistence of AUD and AXD imposes a high burden via healthcare costs and lost productivity. To date, existing treatment approaches for addressing AUD/AXD comorbidity have been only modestly effective and there is a lack of adequate research to guide treatment decisions. The Unified Protocol (UP) is a transdiagnostic, cognitive-behavioral therapy that has shown efficacy in treating emotional disorders. The efficacy of the UP to facilitate abstinence from alcohol consumption in individuals with comorbid AUD/AXD has also been examined, with results from this study indicating a reduction from baseline in drinks consumed per day. However, further evaluation of the UP for managing AUD/AXD is warranted. In this clinical trial, the investigators will further assess the UP's effectiveness in reducing alcohol consumption in patients with comorbid AUD/AXD. Participants will be randomized to one of two conditions: 1) treatment with the UP or 2) treatment with therapist-guided Take Control (TC; a computerized alcohol reduction program). In addition, in a subset of twenty-five participants, functional magnetic resonance scanning (fMRI) will be used to examine the effects of the UP on changes in brain activity in areas important to regulation of emotional and reward processes implicated in excessive alcohol consumption. The researchers' primary hypotheses are that the UP group will, compared to the TC group: 1) be superior in acute symptom reduction from pre- to post-treatment, and 2) evidence greater reductions in percent days heavy drinking, percent days of drinking per week, and alcohol craving.
- Alcohol Use Disorder
- Anxiety Disorders
- Eligible Ages
- Over 21 Years
- Eligible Genders
- Accepts Healthy Volunteers
1. DSM-5 diagnosis of an alcohol use disorder (AUD)
2. DSM-5 diagnosis of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), Panic Disorder/Agoraphobia (PD/A),
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and/or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as
determined by a clinician-administered diagnostic assessment using the Anxiety
Disorder Interview Schedule for DSM-5 (ADIS-5); and are rated as crossing the
threshold for a formal DSM-5 diagnosis by assignment of an ADIS clinical severity
rating (CSR) of 4 (definitely disturbing/disabling on the 0-8 CSR scale) or higher on
at least the principal diagnosis.
3. Adults 21 years old or older
4. Expressed desire to stop drinking alcohol completely or to reduce alcohol consumption
5. Reported drinking an average of at least 15 standard drinks per week for males, or 8
for females occurring over a 28-consecutive day period during the 90 day-long time
window that preceded the screening session
6. Must be willing to discontinue any form of psychotherapy, except AA, that he or she
may be receiving for either anxiety or depression prior to screening.
1. DSM-5 diagnosis of current major depressive disorder (with the exception of
substance-induced depressive disorder) that requires immediate treatment with
pharmacologic agents, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, current bulimia/anorexia,
dementia, or other substance dependence, with the exception of nicotine, marijuana,
and caffeine dependence.
2. Presence of suicidal ideation or history of suicide attempts
3. Non-English speakers
4. Previously received an adequate trial of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT; 8 sessions
within the past 5 years)
5. Contraindications to MRI scans
6. History of head injury with >5-minute loss of consciousness
7. Pregnancy Note: Women of childbearing potential (not postmenopausal for at least one
year) will be required to provide a negative urine pregnancy test prior to each scan.
8. Implantation of anything containing magnetically sensitive material including metal
plates, aneurysm clips, and cardiac pacemakers, stents; history of sheet metal work,
9. Cognitive impairment (MOCA<21).
10. Serious medical illness or instability for which hospitalization may be likely within
the next year.
- Study Type
- Intervention Model
- Parallel Assignment
- Intervention Model Description
- Participants will be randomized to one of two conditions: 1) treatment with the UP or 2) treatment with therapist-guided Take Control (TC; a computerized alcohol reduction program). In addition, in a subset of twenty-five participants, functional magnetic resonance scanning (fMRI) will be used to examine the effects of the UP on changes in brain activity in areas important to regulation of emotional and reward processes implicated in excessive alcohol consumption.
- Primary Purpose
- Single (Outcomes Assessor)
|The Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders (UP) consists of 5 core skills modules based on cognitive behavioral treatment elements of proven effectiveness. As noted above, these core skills modules were designed to target (and have been shown to address) negative emotionality and aversive reactivity to emotional experiences when they occur (Boswell et al., 2013; Carl et al., 2014; Sauer-Zavala et al., 2012). These modules are preceded by an introductory session that reviews the patient's presenting symptoms and provides a therapeutic rationale, as well as a module on motivational enhancement. A final module consists of relapse prevention. As the treatment proceeds, the domains of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are each explored in detail, focusing specifically on elucidating dysfunctional emotion regulation strategies that the patient has developed over time within each of these domains, and teaching patients more adaptive emotion regulation skills.||
|TC is a psychotherapy platform derived from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism's (NIAAA) self-help approach, Rethinking Drinking. In this study, TC, originally designed as a computerized treatment has been modified to be administered by the therapist to control for effects that may be related to patient-therapist interaction (as opposed to elements of the treatment itself). Specifically, on a weekly basis, therapists will review material from TC and offer general advice on implementation of the alcohol reduction skills in daily life.||
- Boston University Charles River Campus
Study ContactTodd Farchione, PhD