Sensitivity to monetary reward is most severely compromised in recently abstaining cocaine addicted individuals: A cross-sectional ERP study

Muhammad A. Parvaz, Thomas Maloney, Scott J. Moeller, Patricia A. Woicik, Nelly Alia-Klein, Frank Telang, Gene Jack Wang, Nancy K. Squires, Nora D. Volkow, Rita Z. Goldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent studies suggest that drug-addicted individuals have a dampened cortical response to non-drug rewards. However, it remains unclear whether recency of drug use impacts this impairment. Therefore, in this event-related potential study, recency of cocaine use was objectively determined by measuring cocaine in urine on study day. Thirty-five individuals with current cocaine use disorder [CUD: 21 testing positive (CUD+) and 14 testing negative (CUD-) for cocaine in urine] and 23 healthy controls completed a sustained attention task with graded monetary incentives (0¢, 1¢ and 45¢). Unlike in controls, in both CUD subgroups P300 amplitude was not modulated by the varying amounts of money and the CUD- showed the most severe impairment as documented by the lowest P300 amplitudes and task accuracy. Moreover, while recency of drug use was associated with better accuracy and higher P300 amplitudes, chronic drug use was associated with lower sensitivity to money. These results extend our previous findings of decreased sustained sensitivity to monetary reward in CUD+ to recently abstaining individuals, where level of impairment was most severe. Taken together, these results support the self-medication hypothesis, where CUD may be self-administering cocaine to avoid or compensate for underlying cognitive and emotional difficulties albeit with a long-term detrimental effect on sensitivity to non-drug reward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Volume203
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 30 Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Abstinence
  • Cocaine addiction
  • Event-related potential (ERP)
  • P300

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