Neural activity related to anger in cocaine-dependent men: A possible link to violence and relapse

K. Drexler, Julie B Schweitzer, C. K. Quinn, R. Gross, T. D. Ely, F. Muhammad, C. D. Kilts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This study examined the neural correlates of cue-induced anger in cocaine-dependent men in an initial investigation of possible neurobiological explanations for the putative association between cocaine addiction and violence. We used positron emission tomography (PET) to localize alterations in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) during mental imagery of a personal anger-associated scene and of an emotionally neutral scene in ten cocaine-dependent men. Compared to the emotionally neutral imagery control condition, anger was associated with marked decreases in rCBF in multiple areas of the frontal cortex (particularly the right inferior frontal gyrus), left posterior insula, left fusiform gyrus, and midbrain. Conversely, this same inferior frontal area was activated by anger imagery in nicotine-dependent men. Anger was also associated with increases in rCBF in the right fusiform gyrus, right and left middle occipital gyri, left postcentral gyrus, left medial frontal gyrus, left cuneus, and in the left anterior cingulate gyrus. The study showed that cue-induced anger in cocaine-dependent men was associated with decreased activity in frontal cortical areas involved in response monitoring and inhibition. The lack of this association in nicotine-dependent men suggests a possible deficit in anger regulation associated with cocaine dependence and a possible link between cocaine dependence, violence, and relapse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-339
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal on Addictions
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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