Background: Addiction science has primarily utilized self-report, continued substance use, and relapse factors to explore the process of recovery. However, the entry into successful abstinence substantially reduces our assessment abilities. Advances in neuroscience may be the key to objective understanding, treating, and monitoring long-term success in addiction recovery. Objectives: To explore functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIR) as a viable technique in the assessment of addiction-cue reactivity. Specifically, prefrontal cortex (PFC) activation to alcohol cues was explored among formally alcohol-dependent individuals, across varying levels of successful abstinence. The aim of the investigation was to identify patterns of PFC activation change consistent with duration of abstinence. Methods: A total of 15 formally alcohol-dependent individuals, with abstinence durations ranging from 1 month to 10 years, viewed alcohol images during fNIR PFC assessment. Participants also subjectively rated the same images for affect and arousal level. Results: Subjective ratings of alcohol cues did not significantly correlate with duration of abstinence. As expected, days of abstinence did not significantly correlate with neutral cue fNIR reactivity. However, for alcohol cues, fNIR results showed increased days of abstinence was associated with decreased activation within the dorsolateral and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex regions. Conclusions: The present results suggest that fNIR may be a viable tool in the assessment of addiction-cue reactivity. Results also support previous findings on the importance of dorsolateral and dorsomedial PFC in alcohol-cue activation. The findings build upon these past results suggesting that fNIR-assessed activation may represent a robust biological marker of successful addiction recovery.
- Addiction assessment
- Addiction recovery
- Alcohol dependence
- Alcohol use disorder
- Functional near infrared spectroscopy