Internal cue exposure and the treatment of substance use disorders: Lessons from the treatment of panic disorder

Michael W. Otto, Steven A. Safren, Mark H. Pollack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite early recognition of the importance of internal cues (craving sensations and emotional states) for relapse in substance use disorders, relatively little attention has been devoted to exposure-based treatments targeting these cues. Drawing upon research on the conceptualization and treatment of panic disorder, we discuss the application of internal (largely emotional) cue exposure for substance use disorders. Our model for this discussion was based on the role of exposure to feared sensations of anxiety in the treatment of panic disorder and benzodiazepine (BZ) discontinuation. Shared research strategies between panic disorder and substance use - studies of biological provocation and anxiety sensitivity - were discussed, as were gender differences in drug-use motives. In accordance with research on anxiety sensitivity, provocation effects, and the treatment of benzodiazepine withdrawal, we discussed the potential value of internal cue-exposure strategies for individuals who use substances as a way to cope with negative affect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-87
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Benzodiazepine discontinuation
  • Emotional acceptance
  • Emotional avoidance
  • Interoceptive exposure
  • Panic disorder
  • Substance abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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