The neural interface between negative emotion regulation and motivation for change in cocaine dependent individuals under treatment

Oren Contreras-Rodríguez, Natalia Albein-Urios, Jose Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez, José Manuel Menchón, Carles Soriano-Mas, Antonio Verdejo-García

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Emotion regulation is important for cocaine addiction treatment success, particularly during early abstinence. In addition, the neural underpinnings of emotion processing overlap with those of motivation and goal-directed behavior. We examined if the neural underpinnings of emotion maintenance and its regulation correlate with cocaine treatment motivation. Methods: Forty-five cocaine dependent individuals (CDIs) starting outpatient treatment in a public specialized addiction treatment clinic in Granada (Spain) underwent fMRI scans while performing a Reappraisal task, and completed the University of Rhode Island Change Assessment Scale (URICA), to measure treatment motivation. We conducted correlation analyses to examine the association between emotion maintenance and regulation related brain activation and URICA's Readiness to Change scores. We also explored links between Emotional reports during the fMRI reappraisal task, duration of abstinence, and anxiety and depression symptoms. Results: Readiness to Change scores were positively correlated with activations in the right dorsolateral prefrontal and right parietal cortices, the midbrain (p ≤ 0.001, cluster extents ≥109 voxels), and basolateral amygdala (PFWE-SVC<0.05), while negatively with emotion maintenance related activation in the same cortical areas and activations in the dorsomedial frontal cortex, the nucleus accumbens and the left fusiform gyrus. Emotional reactivity negatively correlated with right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex reappraisal related activation (r= -0.40, p = 0.007), and the Regulate score positively correlated with the left fusiform gyrus emotion maintenance related activation (r = 0.31, p = 0.04). Conclusions: Emotional related activation in frontoparietal, accumbens, fusiform, amygdala and midbrain regions engaged during emotion regulation and its maintenance correlate with early treatment motivation in CDIs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107854
Number of pages9
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • Amygdala
  • Cocaine
  • Emotions
  • Motivation
  • Prefrontal cortex

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