Rates of alcohol use disorders are high among combat Veterans, and alcohol use disorder (AUD) is the most prevalent and costly substance use disorder among Veterans (SAMSHA, 2012).
Current care for individuals with AUD is standardized across Veterans; however, an objective care framework that identifies individuals at highest risk for relapse may improve clinical outcomes.
The current diagnostic and assessment system does not provide a model for objectively identifying individuals at highest risk for relapse following treatment. Evidence suggests that one component of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying AUD include dysregulation of emotional salience and reward circuits. Technological advances in brain imaging may help elucidate exactly how dysfunction in brain circuits contribute to AUD and profiles associated with risk for relapse following treatment.
The BRAVE study aims to define the neural circuits of emotion and reward processing that underlie AUD in Veterans. In addition, we will test the relationship between defined neural circuits and treatment outcome (abstinence vs. relapse) and probability of relapse risk. Lastly, the data collected from the study will allow for an exploration of the impact of gender, psychiatric co-morbidities, and craving on risk of relapse.