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, along with treatment, for individuals with AUD is standardized across Veterans; however, given recent research regarding brain circuits underlying AUD, novel treatments that may benefit Veterans with AUD are warranted.
Recovery programs aim to maintain abstinence, both during and after participation, primarily due to research proving degradation that occurs during periods of substance use can be reversed during recovery. This reversal occurs through neural regeneration and proliferation in specific lobes of the brain. Evidence suggests that a novel, noninvasive treatment called repeated transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) can jumpstart the brain’s healing process during these abstinent periods.
The BRASS Study aims to use rTMS to treat AUD in Veterans. Participants will undergo a day of neurological assessment both before and after treatment to determine the viability of this innovative method and to assess risk of relapse following treatment. The data collected will also allow for an exploration of the impact of gender, psychiatric co-morbidities, and craving on the risk of relapse.