Development and Initial Examination of a Brief Intervention for Heightened Anxiety Sensitivity Among Heroin Users Article (Web of Science)


  • Anxiety sensitivity (AS) recently has been identified as a potential cognitive vulnerability underlying substance use problems, with some evidence specifically indicating its relevance to heroin. Focusing on the potential utility of interventions centered on increasing willingness to have anxiety-related sensations reduce vulnerability for relapse following substance use treatment, the current article describes the development of a brief (6 session) behavioral treatment for heightened AS among heroin users. The treatment consists of the following components: (a) psychoeducation about anxiety; (b) interoceptive exposure exercises; and (c) skills-training focused on heightening emotional acceptance, tolerance, and nonevaluative awareness (to facilitate willingness). Preliminary data on this treatment are provided in the form of a case study with a 46-year-old African American man in an inner-city residential substance use treatment facility. Results indicate reductions in AS (especially physical concerns), as well as corresponding decreases in heroin cravings and improvements in emotion regulation.


  • Tull, Matthew T
  • Schulzinger, David
  • Schmidt, Norman B.
  • Zvolensky, Michael J.
  • Lejuez, C. W.

publication date

  • 2007

published in

number of pages

  • 22

start page

  • 220

end page

  • 242


  • 31


  • 2