Objective: Regular measurement of craving during treatment for cocaine dependence can monitor patients' clinical status and potentially assess their risk for drug use in the near future. Effective treatment can reduce the correlation between craving and subsequent drug use by helping patients abstain despite high craving. This study examined the relationship between cocaine craving, psychosocial treatment, and cocaine use in the ensuing week. Method: In the National Institute on Drug Abuse Collaborative Cocaine Treatment Study, which compared four psychosocial treatments for cocaine dependence, a three-item craving questionnaire was administered weekly to 449 patients to see whether it predicted cocaine use in the ensuing week. Cocaine use was assessed with self-reports and urine screening. Results: With control for the previous week's cocaine use, a higher composite score on the craving questionnaire was associated with greater likelihood of cocaine use in the subsequent week; each 1-point increase on the composite score of the craving questionnaire increased the likelihood of cocaine use in the ensuing week by 10%. However, among patients who received individual plus group drug counseling, the treatment condition with the best overall cocaine use outcome, increased craving scores were not associated with greater likelihood of cocaine use in the subsequent week. Conclusions: A three-item cocaine craving questionnaire predicted the relative likelihood of cocaine use during the subsequent week. Moreover, the relationship between craving and subsequent cocaine use varied by treatment condition, suggesting that the most effective treatment in the study might have weakened the link between craving and subsequent use.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health