Drinking to distraction: Does alcohol increase attentional bias in adults with ADHD?

Walter Roberts, Mark T. Fillmore, Richard Milich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous research has shown that social drinkers continue to show attentional bias toward alcohol-related stimuli even after consuming a moderate dose of alcohol. In contrast, little is known about how alcohol acutely affects attentional bias in groups at risk to develop alcohol-related problems, such as adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Such individuals may show increased attentional bias following alcohol relative to nonclinical controls. The present study tested this hypothesis by examining acute alcohol effects on attentional bias in 20 social drinkers with ADHD and 20 social drinkers with no history of ADHD. Participants performed a visual-probe task after receiving the following doses of alcohol: 0.64g/kg, 0.32g/kg, and 0.0g/kg (placebo). Those in the ADHD group showed increased attentional bias under active alcohol doses, whereas attentional bias was similar across doses in the control group. Attentional bias predicted ad libitum alcohol consumption during a taste-rating session. This relation was observed only in the ADHD group. These findings indicate that an acute alcohol dose increases attentional bias in adults with ADHD. Further, attentional bias appears to be a predictor of ad libitum consumption in this group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-117
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2012

Keywords

  • ADHD
  • Ad libitum consumption
  • Alcohol
  • At-risk drinkers
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Attentional bias

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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