To support the free and open dissemination of research findings and information on alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. To encourage open access to peer-reviewed articles free for all to view.

For full versions of posted research articles readers are encouraged to email requests for "electronic reprints" (text file, PDF files, FAX copies) to the corresponding or lead author, who is highlighted in the posting.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Predicting stubborn alcohol addiction: mood, motive may hold keys

It doesn't take stacks of research to demonstrate that medicating painful feelings with alcohol or drugs is a dangerous and ultimately futile strategy (although those studies do exist). But the relationship between emotional difficulties and alcohol addiction has always been a complex one, in a chicken-and-egg way: does alcohol -- a depressive agent -- make people who use it become depressed? Or are depressed people more likely to drink heavily to self-medicate, and then to become dependent on alcohol?

Two new studies explore the links between mood and alcoholism in an effort to predict who becomes alcohol-dependent and which alcoholics are most likely to relapse.

One of those studies -- published online this week by the journal JAMA Psychiatry -- uses brain scanners to help tease out a possible "biomarker" for the most stubborn forms of alcoholism, and finds one that implicates mood as a key factor.

The other, published in JAMA Psychiatry, is much more low-tech: In face-to-face interviews, researchers asked people who were at higher than usual risk of alcoholism whether they drank to improve their mood or to calm down, and then went back two to four years later and looked at who had become, or stayed, alcohol-dependent.  > > > >  Read More