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Friday, December 30, 2011

The separate and combined effects of alcohol and nicotine on anticipatory anxiety: A multidimensional analysis

Individuals who smoke cigarettes are significantly more likely to smoke more when they drink alcohol. Indeed, smoking and drinking appear strongly linked, at both between- and within-person levels of analyses. Anecdotal evidence further suggests that alcohol consumption in combination with smoking cigarettes reduces anxiety, yet the mechanisms by which this may occur are not well understood.

The current study assessed the separate and combined effects of alcohol and nicotine on self-reported and psychophysiological (startle eyeblink magnitude) indices of anxiety.

Results indicated that alcohol provided anxiolytic benefits alone and in combination with nicotine, as evidenced by significant reductions in startle eyeblink magnitude.

According to self-reported anxiety, alcohol and nicotine exerted a conjoint effect on diminishing increases in anxiety subsequent to a speech stressor.

These data highlight the importance of studying both the separate and combined effects of these two widely used substances, as well as the advantages of employing a multimodal assessment of emotional response.

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