New research has found that very shy people are more likely to have anxiety, possibly at debilitating levels, during a hangover. The findings also suggest that for these people, “hangxiety” might signal a higher risk of alcohol dependence.
Alcohol use disorder (AUD), a chronic condition, is characterized by a person’s inability to “stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.”
AUD reportedly affects around 15 million adults in the United States and over 620,000 adolescents aged 12–17.
Its symptoms may be either mild or severe, and there are several factors that raise the risk of AUD. These include family history, social pressure, and stress.
Full story at Medical News Today
People with a family history of alcohol use disorder (AUD) release more dopamine in the brain’s main reward center in response to the expectation of alcohol than people diagnosed with the disorder, or healthy people without any family history of AUD, reports a new study in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.
“This exaggerated reward center stimulation by expectation of alcohol may put the [individuals with family history] at greater risk of alcohol use disorder, and could be a risk factor in itself,” said first author Lawrence Kegeles, MD, PhD, of Columbia University.
The study examined a range of risk for AUD, including 34 healthy participants with no family history of AUD, 16 healthy participants with a family history of the disorder (referred to as the family-history positive, or FHP, group), and 15 participants diagnosed with AUD. Dr. Kegeles and colleagues used PET brain scanning to measure the amount of dopamine release in areas of the brain important for reward and addiction. The participants underwent the brain scans after receiving either an alcohol drink — a cocktail of vodka, tonic, and cranberry — or a placebo drink without the vodka. Although the participants didn’t know the order in which they would receive the drinks, if they received the placebo drink first they were cued into expecting the alcohol drink next.
Full story at Science Daily
A scientific study finds that close to half of residential fraternity members had symptoms of alcohol use disorder (AUD) by age 35, and that living in a fraternity or sorority at college is associated with continued binge drinking and marijuana use through early midlife. The research, from the University of Michigan, is published in the Journal of Adolescent Health and was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health.
The authors analyzed samples of U.S. high school seniors from the Monitoring the Future study who were followed via self-administered surveys up to age 35. The scientists found that males who lived for at least one semester in a fraternity house had significantly higher rates of binge drinking during and after college up through age 35, compared to their peers in college not involved in fraternities, and to non-students of the same age. Among males at age 35, 45 percent of the residential fraternity members reported two or more AUD symptoms, compared to 32.7 percent of non-residential fraternity members, 30.4 percent of college students who were not involved in fraternities and 33.1 percent of their non-college peers. Similarly, women who were residents of a sorority had higher odds of two or more AUD symptoms at age 35 (26.4 percent) when compared to non-residential sorority members (19.1 percent), college students not involved in sororities (18.0 percent) or their non-college peers (16.9 percent).
Full story at drugabuse.gov
Studies have shown that an early age of drinking initiation (ADI) increases the chance of developing an alcohol use disorder (AUD). There is limited evidence that ADI differs across ethnic groups. This study examined whether the pathway from ADI to AUD symptoms by early adulthood is influenced by two factors: ethnicity and having the alcohol metabolizing gene variant allele, ALDH2*2. This allele produces an inactive enzyme that leads to higher levels of acetaldehyde during alcohol metabolism, which are associated with unpleasant effects after drinking alcohol and a decreased risk for an AUD.
Researchers examined 604 college students recruited from the University of California, San Diego: 214 of Korean ancestry (107 men, 107 women), 200 of European ancestry (106 men, 94 women), and 190 of Chinese ancestry (99 women, 91 men), each with both biological parents having the same heritage. Participants were genotyped for the ALDH2*2 variant allele and completed a self-report assessment.
Full story at Science Daily
Many studies of alcohol use disorders (AUDs) use tasks that involve monetary rewards or losses to examine individual decision-making vis-à-vis alcohol and other substance use. Yet drinking typically occurs in specific social and incentive contexts that do not involve economic decision-making. This study examined decisions about attending, and drinking in, hypothetical drinking/social contexts wherein several different incentive and disincentive options were provided to the individual.
Researchers used community advertisements to recruit 434 adults (240 men, 194 women), between 18 and 30 years of age, who varied widely in lifetime alcohol use as well as antisocial problems. Using a computer screen, all participants were presented with six different hypothetical scenarios of drinking at a party; incentives involved party-time fun activities and disincentives involved next-day responsibilities.
Full story at Science Daily