Angela Attwood talks at the 2015 World Congress of Biological Psychiatry, Athens, Greece.
29 July 2015
Angela Attwood attends the World Congress of Biological Psychology
In June 2015, Angela Attwood attended the World Congress of Biological Psychiatry in Athens. She was one of four speakers in a symposium discussing the role of glutamate receptors in addiction. Her talk focussed on the utility of using glutamatergic agonists to improve outcomes in cue exposure therapy (CET) in the addictions. There is a growing consensus that these drugs do not improve CET outcomes in the field of addiction, which is inconsistent with animal research on extinction learning and with human CET research in anxiety. Potential explanations for these differences were discussed, including potential methodological issues of previous research. It was concluded however that glutamatergic agonists influence CET by improving learning outcomes. A failing with drug-related CET to-date is that there is often little evidence of a CET (i.e., learning) effect. Therefore, glutamatergic drugs may have clinical utility when given in conjunction with improved CET paradigms that induce more reliable and robust effects. A related paper is in preparation and submission is planned for August 2015.