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Rajita Sinha, PhD

Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry and Professor in the Child Study Center and of Neuroscience; Director, Yale Interdisciplinary Stress Center; Chief, Psychology Section in Psychiatry; Co-director of Education, Yale Center for Clinical Investigation

Research Summary

Clinical neuroscience of stress, emotion and reward and alcohol and substance use disorders. Stress and emotion dysregulation and dysfunctional motivation leading to addictive behaviors of alcohol use, smoking, high calorie food intake, drug abuse, sex, gambling and emerging technology. Mechanisms underlying sex differences in stress neurobiology, and interaction with motivational processes and effects on health outcomes is integral to this research area. The neurobiology of resilient coping and related therapeutics is also being studied. An additional interest is in developing treatments to target stress-related relapse in addictive behaviors. We’ve developed and validated a laboratory and neuroimaging model of stress-induced and hedonic cue-induced craving and engagement in addictive behaviors. The laboratory model characterizes the compulsive craving state and is being applied to test new pharmacological and psychological interventions to reduce craving and maladaptive behaviors. Prognostic indicators of disease severity and development of novel therapeutics to address chronic course of additive diseases are also being studied.

Specialized Terms:

Child Psychiatry; Chronic Disease; Neurobiology; Neuroscience; Psychiatry; Stress Response, Chronic Stress, Stress Regulation, Resilience, Psychological; Obesity, Substance-Related Disorders


Research Interests

Child Psychiatry; Chronic Disease; Neurobiology; Neurosciences; Psychiatry; Stress, Psychological; Substance-Related Disorders; Psychiatry and Psychology

Research Image

Selected Publications

Clinical Trials

ConditionsStudy Title
Alcohol Addiction; Mental Health & Behavioral ResearchNeuroimaging Mechanisms by Which Memory and Glucocorticoids Promote Risky Drinking
Addictive Behaviors; Mental Health & Behavioral ResearchEffects of Stress Intervention
Addictive Behaviors; Alcohol Addiction; Mental Health & Behavioral ResearchPrazosin for Alcohol Use Disorder
Mental Health & Behavioral Research; Obesity & Weight ControlGLP-1 analogue effects on food cues, stress, motivation for highly palatable foods, and weight
Mental Health & Behavioral ResearchInvestigating Stress-related Mechanisms in the Laboratory and Real World in Individuals With Cannabis Use Disorder
Addictive Behaviors; Mental Health & Behavioral ResearchStigma, Depression, and Substance Use
Alcohol AddictionNeurobiological Responses in Alcoholism and Early Trauma
Addictive Behaviors; Mental Health & Behavioral ResearchGuanfacine to Improve Substance Use Outcomes in Women
Diseases of the Digestive System - LiverMindfulness to treat fatigue in patients with PBC
Children's HealthPreventing Childhood Obesity Through a Mindfulness-Based Parent Stress Intervention
Addictive Behaviors; Alcohol Addiction; Mental Health & Behavioral ResearchThe Role of Neuroactive Steroids in Stress, Drug craving and Drug Use in Alcohol Use Disorders
Addictive BehaviorsPregnenolone to Reduce Stress-Induced Cocaine Craving and Improve Treatment Outcome