Project: Research project

Project Details


The proposed research will utilize standard
behavioral-pharmacologic methods of double blind drug/placebo preference
for the study of alprazolam self-medication behavior in anxious outpatients
who, because of their psychopathology, are presumed to be at risk for
benzodiazepine dependence. All patients will have generalized anxiety but
will have no history of substance abuse or dependence. Patients will be
allowed to use medication "as needed" and self-administration behaviors
will be monitored through the use of automated recording devices.
Following initial exposures to color-coded placebo and alprazolam capsules,
subjects will be able to choose, under double-blind conditions, which
capsules they prefer. The basic hypothesis of this proposal is that the
anxiolytic efficacy of alprazolam will reinforce self-medication behavior
in anxious patients but that medication use generally will be
therapeutically appropriate and will correspond with anxiety symptom
relief. Two experiments will employ patients who have little or no history
of prescription anxiolytic use. These studies will: 1) demonstrate
reinforcing effects of alprazolam in generally anxious patients with or
without panic disorder; 2) determine the effect of patient drug use history
on prescription drug use; and 3) determine the ability of cognitive
behavior therapy to reduce anxiety symptoms and minimize drug use in
anxiety disorders. Both experiments will assess the ability of personality
type and patient attitude towards medication use to predict observed drug
self-administration behaviors. This research is consistent with NIDA's
goals to examine the basic mechanisms of drug reinforcement and the risk
factors making one vulnerable to prescription drug dependence. There are
three factors of vulnerability being experimentally examined. These are:
1) patient history of other drug use; 2) personality type and attitudes
towards drug use; and 3) the effects of untreated anxiety psychopathology
to promote self-medication. Furthermore, a significant accomplishment of
this research will be the development of outpatient procedures for the
study of prescription drug self-administration and reinforcement in
therapeutic populations. The results will address fundamental questions
regarding the self-medication motivation and its role in the etiology of
prescription drug dependence. Furthermore, these studies may
experimentally identify patient variables which can predict patterns of
medication use placing patients at risk for benzodiazepine dependence.
Finally, the proposed research will determine the ability of cognitive
behavior therapy to reduce self-medication drug use behaviors and thereby
minimize the risks of benzodiazepine dependence.
Effective start/end date5/1/943/31/01


  • National Institutes of Health: $301,049.00


  • Medicine(all)


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