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Each episode of AJP Audio brings you an in-depth look at one of the articles featured in that month’s issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry, the official journal of the American Psychiatric Association. Wide-ranging interviews with article authors cover the background, rationale, main findings, and future implications of the research.

Nov 1, 2020

Executive Editor Michael Roy speaks with Sara K. Blaine, Ph.D., and Rajita Sinha, Ph.D., about their article on the use of brain imaging in the evaluation of drinking outcomes during early outpatient treatment for alcohol use disorder.

Dr. Sara Blaine is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Auburn University. She recently completed postdoctoral work at Yale University. Her work has looked at how genes and aspects of the brain affect the development of alcoholism under conditions of stress.

Dr. Rajita Sinha is the Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine, where she also is a professor of neurobiology. She is chief of the psychology section in psychiatry and co-director of education at the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation. In addition, she is a professor in the Child Study Center and founding director of the Yale Stress Center. Her research has looked at the mechanisms of chronic stress, adversity, and coping. She is also interested in developing new ways to counter the effects of stress and addictive behaviors.

  • How the authors became interested in this area of research [2:48]
  • Why the authors studied the neurobiology of individuals who are in the early phase of abstinence from alcohol [4:37]
  • Areas of the brain that are linked to stress and reward circuits that are affected by addiction [6:20]
  • Details about the study design and patient population [8:21]
  • The different measurements used in the study, and how the authors analyzed the data [11:38]
  • Results of the two-part analysis, which observed patients’ responses to alcohol, stress, or neutral cues and which evaluated treatment outcomes among patients [17:04]
  • Did any results surprise the authors? [20:56]
  • Study limitations [23:18]
  • How this research adds to the overall body of knowledge about treatment for alcohol use disorder [24:12]
  • Implications the work has for programs that provide treatment for alcohol use disorder [26:12]
  • Main takeaways for researchers, clinicians, and other mental health professionals [27:58]
  • Recommendations for further research [29:42]

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