Excessive alcohol use has many negative health consequences, including higher risk of mortality. In addition, in 2006, the estimated economic cost of excessive drinking was $223.5 billion when the combined costs of lost productivity, health and health care, and crime are considered61. Despite unparalleled advances in technology over the last several decades, the clinical assessment of features and correlates of alcohol use disorders (and psychopathology more generally), still primarily relies on traditional paper-and-pencil questionnaires and face-to- face clinical interviews. However, these tried-and-true methods are limited in a number of ways, including total reliance on patients'retrospective self-report, the skill of the clinical interviewer, and the artificial setting of the assessment (te clinic consulting room). The present study proposes to use an innovative methodology, ambulatory assessment (AA) to describe and investigate alcohol use and dependence-related symptomatology (specifically, cue- reactivity/craving), and emotional dysregulation among psychiatric outpatients with disorders characterized by clinical significant emotional dysregulation problems (mood disorders, anxiety disorders, or borderline personality disorder) while in their natural environment. This "real-world" approach can shed light on the causes and correlates of alcohol dependence, and suggest improvements in treatment approaches.
Excessive alcohol use is a major public health problem and incurs enormous costs to our society. By studying the subjective and physiological correlates of alcohol use, emotional dysregulation, and alcohol craving, this study will improve the conceptualization and assessment of alcohol use disorder (AUD), facilitate research on the causes and correlates of alcohol dependence, and suggest improvements in treatment approaches.
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