Stop What You're Doing!—An fMRI Study on Comparisons of Neural Subprocesses of Response Inhibition in ADHD and Alcohol Use Disorder

Gerhardt, Sarah; Luderer, Mathias; Bumb, Jan M.; Sobanski, Esther; Moggi, Franz; Kiefer, Falk; Vollstädt-Klein, Sabine (2021). Stop What You're Doing!—An fMRI Study on Comparisons of Neural Subprocesses of Response Inhibition in ADHD and Alcohol Use Disorder. Frontiers in psychiatry, 12, p. 691930. Frontiers 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.691930

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Rationale: Both attention deficit-/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) are accompanied by deficits in response inhibition. Furthermore, the prevalence of comorbidity of ADHD and AUD is high. However, there is a lack of research on whether the same neuronal subprocesses of inhibition (i.e., interference inhibition, action withholding and action cancellation) exhibit deficits in both psychiatric disorders.

Methods: We examined these three neural subprocesses of response inhibition in patient groups and healthy controls: non-medicated individuals with ADHD (ADHD; N = 16), recently detoxified and abstinent individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD; N = 15), and healthy controls (HC; N = 15). A hybrid response inhibition task covering interference inhibition, action withholding, and action cancellation was applied using a 3T functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Results: Individuals with ADHD showed an overall stronger hypoactivation in attention related brain areas compared to AUD or HC during action withholding. Further, this hypoactivation was more accentuated during action cancellation. Individuals with AUD recruited a broader network, including the striatum, compared to HC during action withholding. During action cancellation, however, they showed hypoactivation in motor regions. Additionally, specific neural activation profiles regarding group and subprocess became apparent.

Conclusions: Even though deficits in response inhibition are related to both ADHD and AUD, neural activation and recruited networks during response inhibition differ regarding both neuronal subprocesses and examined groups. While a replication of this study is needed in a larger sample, the results suggest that tasks have to be carefully selected when examining neural activation patterns of response inhibition either in research on various psychiatric disorders or transdiagnostic questions.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Translational Research Center

UniBE Contributor:

Moggi, Franz (A)








Franz Moggi

Date Deposited:

01 Nov 2021 12:56

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2023 23:37

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

ADHD, alcohol use disorder, response inhibition, inhibitory control, fMRI, impulsivity




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