The processing of automatic thoughts of drug use and craving in opiate-dependent individuals

Aviv M. Weinstein, Barbara T. Feldtkeller, Fergus Lawa, Judy Myles, David J. Nutt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This study investigated the processing of sentences describing craving and withdrawal in opiate-dependent individuals. Eighteen patients who attended a methadone maintenance clinic for obtaining methadone, 18 patients who were not treated with methadone, and 18 control family members performed on a computerized contextual priming task. The task was priming sentences (craving, withdrawal, or neutral) to words (addiction, neutral, or non-words). The methadone group was slower to process all sentences compared with family members. They were also faster to process drug-related words following withdrawal-related sentences compared with neutral words following neutral sentences. Finally, they were slower to recognize neutral words following neutral sentences compared with the nonmethadone group. Results suggest that the processing of information describing withdrawal and craving for drugs plays an important role in opiate dependence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-553
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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