Cue-induced cocaine craving enhances psychosocial stress and vice versa in chronic cocaine users

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung


  • Ann Kathrin Kexel - , University of Zurich (Autor:in)
  • Bruno Kluwe-Schiavon - , University of Zurich, Universidade de Lisboa (Autor:in)
  • Markus R. Baumgartner - , University of Zurich (Autor:in)
  • Etna J.E. Engeli - , University of Zurich (Autor:in)
  • Monika Visentini - , University of Zurich (Autor:in)
  • Clemens Kirschbaum - , Professur für Biopsychologie, Technische Universität Dresden (Autor:in)
  • Erich Seifritz - , University of Zurich, ETH Zurich (Autor:in)
  • Beate Ditzen - , Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (Autor:in)
  • Leila M. Soravia - , Universität Bern (Autor:in)
  • Boris B. Quednow - , University of Zurich, ETH Zurich (Autor:in)


Stress and craving, it has been found, contribute to the development and maintenance of and relapse in cocaine use disorder. Chronic cocaine users (CU), previous research has shown, display altered physiological responses to psychosocial stress and increased vegetative responding to substance-related cues. However, how psychosocial stress and cue-induced craving interact in relation to the CU’s physiological responses remains largely unknown. We thus investigated the interaction between acute psychosocial stress and cocaine-cue-related reactivity in 47 CU and 38 controls. In a crossed and balanced design, the participants were randomly exposed to a video-based cocaine-cue paradigm and the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) or vice versa to investigate possible mutually augmenting effects of both stressors on physiological stress responses. Over the course of the experimental procedure, plasma cortisol, ACTH, noradrenaline, subjective stress, and craving were assessed repeatedly. To estimate the responses during the cocaine-cue paradigm and TSST, growth models and discontinuous growth models were used. Overall, though both groups did not differ in their endocrinological responses to the TSST, CU displayed lower ACTH levels at baseline. The TSST did not elevate craving in CU, but when the cocaine-cue video was shown first, CU displayed an enhanced cortisol response to the subsequent TSST. In CU, cocaine-cues robustly evoked craving but no physiological stress response, while cue-induced craving was intensified after the TSST. Taken together, though CU did not show an altered acute stress response during the TSST, stress and craving together seemed to have mutually augmenting effects on their stress response.


FachzeitschriftTranslational psychiatry
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Dez. 2022

Externe IDs

PubMed 36220809