Researchers report that more than desire, the presence of an old friend or listening to a familiar song triggers craving for alcohol or nicotine in people, ultimately leading to addiction. A new study found that unique person-specific cues appear to have a robust effect on craving addictive substances.
It also found that these cues may have a longer effect on craving than more general substance-specific cues such as the presence of bottles, syringes or lighters. “This work opens the prospect of integrating individual markers, predictive of relapse in treatment programs for better long-term prevention of relapse,” said Melina Fatseas from the University of Bordeaux in France and first author of the study.
The study included 132 outpatients beginning treatment for alcohol, tobacco, cannabis or opiate addiction. Using mobile technologies, participants were questioned four times per day, relative to craving, substance use and exposure to either substance-specific cues or personal cues unique to that individual. The paper appeared in the journal Wiley.