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The Influence of Communication on Physiology and Health

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Edited By James M. Honeycutt, Chris R. Sawyer and Shaughan Keaton

There is a significant amount of research that substantiates the connection between social support/relationships and the development, onset, and/or recovery of several physical diseases/illnesses. Research has shown, for example, that an unhappy marriage can increase the likelihood of becoming ill by 35% while stressful communication can lead to an increase in cardiovascular reactivity which in turn increases the risk of coronary heart disease and premature mortality.
This volume provides a comprehensive overview of the influences of communication on physiology and physical health status occurring in a variety of contexts, from families, interpersonal relationships, and public speaking to sport fandom, affection, fear, and the escalation of conflict. It offers a broad and up-to-date review of the relevant literature in this area of study.
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Chapter 10: The Neurophysiology of Craving and Drug-Related Cues: Evidence from Event-Related Potentials

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Chapter 10

The Neurophysiology of Craving and Drug-Related Cues: Evidence from Event-Related Potentials

Andrew Faulkner, Kim Hellemans, Alfonso Abizaid, and Amedeo D’Angiulli

Addictive disorders and their secondary consequences are arguably the most expensive, widespread, and significant set of health problems facing society today. Most of this burden is attributable to tobacco addiction, which accounts for approximately four out of every five substance-related deaths. Smoking is currently the world’s leading cause of preventable death and one of the greatest economic burdens on the healthcare system (see World Health Statistics,2011).

Although most (~69%) smokers have a desire to quit, many are unsuccessful (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011). The vast majority of all cessation attempts end in relapse, with about 93% reinstating their habit within 12 months. Thus, maintaining long-term abstinence is one of the most important challenges to overcome in the treatment of tobacco addiction, ← 189 | 190 → and in addictive disorders in general, most of which have similar rates of relapse.

A growing body of research suggests that drug-related cues (for instance, see photo in Figure 1) may be one of the main precipitants of relapse, thus contributing to the maintenance of addiction. For example, relapsed addicts—especially smokers—frequently attribute exposure to drug cues as a reason for their failure to quit (Heinz et al., 2008), and when exposed to drug cues, current and abstinent addicts report an increase in drug craving (Field, Munafo, &...

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