Dealing with Stress as a Treatment for Alcohol Abuse
A researcher at the University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) is initiating a study of “mindfulness-based stress reduction,” a technique often used in behavioral medicine for stress reduction but not before as an adjunct in the treatment of alcohol use disorders.
Connors is a clinical psychologist and principal investigator on the study as well as the director of RIA.
He also is a professor in the Department of Psychology in the UB College of Arts and Sciences and research professor in the Department of Psychiatry in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
The four-year investigation on MBSR will be conducted with support from a $1.9 million grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
MBSR emphasizes self-observation and self-responsibility, which is expected to facilitate the alcohol-dependent individual’s management of the stressors that place the person at increased risk for drinking.
The project will be conducted in two phases, with the first component to include development of an eight-session treatment manual for conducting group-based MBSR with alcohol-dependent men and women.
The long-term goal is to decrease relapse to drinking following treatment, thereby providing significant health benefits to people being treated for alcohol dependence, with corresponding benefits for their families and the community-at-large.
Connors’co-investigators on the study include Kimberly S. Walitzer, Ph.D., deputy director of RIA and UB research associate professor of psychology; Nancy J. Smyth, Ph.D., dean of the UB School of Social Work; and Craig R. Colder, Ph.D., UB associate professor of psychology.