Transdiagnostic CBT for Comorbid Alcohol Use and Anxiety Disorders

  • days left to enroll
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Boston University Charles River Campus
Updated on 5 March 2022
heavy drinking
behavior therapy
panic disorder
social phobia
obsessive-compulsive disorder


Almost 18 million US adults have alcohol use disorders (AUD), with one third of these individuals also diagnosed with anxiety disorders (AXD). The coexistence of AUD and AXD imposes a high burden via healthcare costs and lost productivity. To date, existing treatment approaches for addressing AUD/AXD comorbidity have been only modestly effective and there is a lack of adequate research to guide treatment decisions.

The Unified Protocol (UP) is a transdiagnostic, cognitive-behavioral therapy that has shown efficacy in treating emotional disorders. The efficacy of the UP to facilitate abstinence from alcohol consumption in individuals with comorbid AUD/AXD has also been examined, with results from this study indicating a reduction from baseline in drinks consumed per day. However, further evaluation of the UP for managing AUD/AXD is warranted.

In this clinical trial, the investigators will further assess the UP's effectiveness in reducing alcohol consumption in patients with comorbid AUD/AXD. Participants will be randomized to one of two conditions: 1) treatment with the UP or 2) treatment with therapist-guided Take Control (TC; a computerized alcohol reduction program). In addition, in a subset of twenty-five participants, functional magnetic resonance scanning (fMRI) will be used to examine the effects of the UP on changes in brain activity in areas important to regulation of emotional and reward processes implicated in excessive alcohol consumption.

The researchers' primary hypotheses are that the UP group will, compared to the TC group: 1) be superior in acute symptom reduction from pre- to post-treatment, and 2) evidence greater reductions in percent days heavy drinking, percent days of drinking per week, and alcohol craving.

Condition Alcohol Use Disorder, Anxiety Disorders
Treatment Take Control, Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03230006
SponsorBoston University Charles River Campus
Last Modified on5 March 2022


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