Scientific article
Open access

Persistence of Neuronal Alterations in Alcohol-Dependent Patients at Conclusion of the Gold Standard Withdrawal Treatment: Evidence From ERPs

Published inFrontiers in psychiatry, vol. 12, 666063
Publication date2021-08-30
First online date2021-08-30

Background: One of the main challenges for clinicians is to ensure that alcohol withdrawal treatment is the most effective possible after discharge. To address this issue, we designed a pilot study to investigate the efficacy of the rehabilitation treatment on the main stages of information processing, using an electroencephalographic method. This topic is of main importance as relapse rates after alcohol withdrawal treatment remain very high, indicating that established treatment methods are not fully effective in all patients in the long run.

Method: We examined in alcohol-dependent patients (ADP) the effects of the benzodiazepine-based standard detoxification program on event-related potential components at incoming (D0) and completion (D15) of the treatment, using tasks of increasing difficulty (with and without workload) during an auditory oddball target paradigm. Untreated non-alcohol-dependent-volunteers were used as matching controls.

Results: At D0, ADP displayed significantly lower amplitude for all ERP components in both tasks, as compared to controls. At D15, this difference disappeared for the amplitude of the N1 component during the workload-free task, as well as the amplitude of the P3b for both tasks. Meanwhile, the amplitude of the N2 remained lower in both tasks for ADP. At D0, latencies of N2 and P3b in both task conditions were longer in ADP, as compared to controls, whilst the latency of N1 was unchanged. At D15, the N2 latency remained longer for the workload condition only, whereas the P3b latency remained longer for the workload-free task only.

Conclusion: The present pilot results provide evidence for a persistence of impaired parameters of ERP components, especially the N2 component. This suggests that neural networks related to attention processing remain dysfunctional. Longitudinal long-term follow-up of these patients is mandatory for further assessment of a link between ERP alterations and a later risk of relapse.

  • N1 component
  • N2 component
  • P3b component
  • Alcohol addiction
  • Benzodiazepine withdrawal treatment
  • Event-related potentials
  • Université de Fribourg - Research and Development fund of UNIFR [02-1-122]
Citation (ISO format)
KUNTZ, André et al. Persistence of Neuronal Alterations in Alcohol-Dependent Patients at Conclusion of the Gold Standard Withdrawal Treatment: Evidence From ERPs. In: Frontiers in psychiatry, 2021, vol. 12, p. 666063. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.666063
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1664-0640

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