Cue-induced craving in patients with cocaine use disorder predicts cognitive control deficits toward cocaine cues

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry; Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Health Services Research | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology | Substance Abuse and Addiction


INTRODUCTION: Cue-induced craving is a clinically important aspect of cocaine addiction influencing ongoing use and sobriety. However, little is known about the relationship between cue-induced craving and cognitive control toward cocaine cues. While studies suggest that cocaine users have an attentional bias toward cocaine cues, the present study extends this research by testing if cocaine use disorder patients (CDPs) can control their eye movements toward cocaine cues and whether their response varied by cue-induced craving intensity.

METHODS: Thirty CDPs underwent a cue exposure procedure to dichotomize them into high and low craving groups followed by a modified antisaccade task in which subjects were asked to control their eye movements toward either a cocaine or neutral drug cue by looking away from the suddenly presented cue. The relationship between breakdowns in cognitive control (as measured by eye errors) and cue-induced craving (changes in self-reported craving following cocaine cue exposure) was investigated.

RESULTS: CDPs overall made significantly more errors toward cocaine cues compared to neutral cues, with higher cravers making significantly more errors than lower cravers even though they did not differ significantly in addiction severity, impulsivity, anxiety, or depression levels. Cue-induced craving was the only specific and significant predictor of subsequent errors toward cocaine cues.

CONCLUSION: Cue-induced craving directly and specifically relates to breakdowns of cognitive control toward cocaine cues in CDPs, with higher cravers being more susceptible. Hence, it may be useful identifying high cravers and target treatment toward curbing craving to decrease the likelihood of a subsequent breakdown in control.


Addiction, Antisaccades, Cocaine, Cognitive control, Craving

DOI of Published Version



Addict Behav. 2015 Aug;47:86-90. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2015.03.025. Epub 2015 Apr 1. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Addictive behaviors

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID