Internet-based attentional bias modification training as add-on to regular treatment in alcohol and cannabis depemdemt outpatients

Janika Heitmann, Madelon van Hemel-Ruiter, Peter Jong, de

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic


The tendency to attend to and focus on substance-related cues in the environment (i.e., attentional bias) has been found to contribute to the persistence of addiction. This attentional bias can be modified with computerized attentional bias modification (ABM) tasks. Modifying attentional bias might positively contribute to treatment outcome and the reduction of relapse rates in addiction. However, the successful modification of attentional bias has often not resulted in clinically meaningful changes of symptoms. This might be due to the context in which they are performed, the static characteristics, and the intensity of these trainings.
Our currently running multi-centre RCT (recruitment April 2016 until May 2017) investigates the effectiveness and cost-efficacy of a new developed ABM intervention. This intervention is a dynamic home-delivered multi-session online training, and is provided as an add-on to treatment as usual (TAU), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Participants are outpatients diagnosed with alcohol or cannabis dependency. They are randomly assigned to one of the following three conditions: TAU + iABM; TAU + placebo training; TAU-only. There is a pre- and a post-measurement as well as a 6 and 12 months follow-up. This RCT is the first to investigate the effectiveness of an add-on internet-based ABM intervention in reducing relapse rates in alcohol and cannabis dependency. If proven effective, this ABM intervention can be easily implemented as a home-delivered component of current CBT. In this contribution I will present the design of the study, illustrate and explain the ABM intervention, and address the latest developments of the study.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - May-2017
EventRome Workshop on Experimental Psychopathology 2017 - Rome, Rome, Italy
Duration: 26-May-201727-May-2017


ConferenceRome Workshop on Experimental Psychopathology 2017

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