Affective decision-making is predictive of three-month relapse in polysubstance-dependent alcoholics

Bieke de Wilde, Antonio Javier Verdejo-Garcia, Bernard G Sabbe, Wouter Hulstijn, Geert Dom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Aims: Common and long-lasting deficits in decision-making in polysubstance-dependent alcoholics (PSA) reflect neurobiological alterations that define the chronic nature of addiction. These deficits affect goal-directed behavior and might be critical risk factors predicting relapse in PSA. Methods: The Delay Discounting Task (DDT) and the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) assessed the delay-discounting and decision-making skills among 37 abstinent PSA. Results: The findings indicated that IGT but not DDT performances were associated with 3-month abstinence, irrespective of the influence of personality traits and coexistent medications. Conclusion: The results show that the IGT, which assesses processes that are important in the latter stages of addiction, is ecologically more valid compared to the DDT, which assesses processes important in the early stages. They underline the importance of using neurocognitive measures to identify high relapse risk patients and emphasize the relevance of promoting new treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-28
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Addiction Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Affective decision-making
  • Polysubstance-dependent alcoholics
  • Relapse

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