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Anxiety/Alcohol Related Circuits



Risky drinking is a leading cause of human misery, morbidity, and mortality, and existing treatments are far from curative for many who wish to cut down on their consumption. While the roots of risky drinking are complex, theoretical models of addiction suggest that some misuse alcohol to cope with or reduce anxiety. Yet the factors governing anxiety-fueled risky drinking remain poorly understood.

The neuroARC project will use a combination of techniques—including brain imaging, computational modeling, and smartphone digital phenotyping—in a racially diverse DMV sample to:

  • Identify the brain regions and facets of threat uncertainty most relevant to variation in alcohol use, symptoms, and problems
  • Pinpoint potentially modifiable psychosocial factors that trigger alcohol craving and consumption
  • Determine the neural systems most relevant to anxiety-fueled alcohol consumption in the real world
  • Building on well-established neuroeconomic models and a fruitful line of psychophysiological research, this study will provide a potentially transformative opportunity to identify new treatment targets, guide the development of new translational models, and inform the development of new digital interventions for risky alcohol consumption.

This project represents a collaboration between the Shackman laboratory and investigators at the University of Wisconsin—Madison (Dr. John Curtin) and the University of California, Davis (Drs. Drew Fox and Erie Boorman).

Click here if you are interested in participating in this study.


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