Challenges in the Study of Alcoholism

Jon Morgenstern
Columbia University Medical Center

Over the last two decades a number of modestly effective behavioral and pharmacological treatments have been developed for alcohol use disorders (AUD). However, progress has been slow and uneven. Experts now believe that it is vital to understand the mechanisms that underlie changes in drinking behavior in order to develop a next generation of more effective treatments. This presentation will provide a brief overview of the conceptual and methodological challenges of elucidating mechanisms of behavior change in AUD. In addition, a new approach to testing mechanisms of action of behavioral treatments will be discussed. This approach nests intensive repeated measures of mediators and behavior within the context of an RCT. Challenges in modeling data to test complex causal hypotheses will be considered.

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