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Stress increases consumption of alcohol in humans with a Type 1 Family History of alcoholism in an experimental laboratory setting

Journal article
Authors Anna Söderpalm Gordh
Sejla Brkic
Bo Söderpalm
Published in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Volume 99
Issue 4
Pages 696-703
ISSN 0091-3057
Publication year 2011
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Pages 696-703
Language en
Keywords Alcohol consumption; Family history of alcoholism; Humans; Stress; Subjective effects
Subject categories Psychiatry


BACKGROUND: This paper investigates how stress interacts with alcohol consumption in subjects with a family history of alcoholism. One mechanism for increases in alcohol intake may be that stress alters the subjective effects produced by the drug. METHODS: 58 healthy volunteers, divided into two groups of family history positive (FHP) and two groups of family history negative (FHN) participated in two laboratory sessions, in which they performed in one out of two sessions a stress task. Then subjects were allowed to choose up to six additional drinks of ethanol or placebo depending on which session they were randomly assigned to start with. RESULTS: It was found that FHP subjects increased their consumption of alcohol after stress. CONCLUSIONS: It is possible that both stress and alcohol specifically exaggerate the feelings of the reward in the FHP individuals in such way that it may increase the likelihood of consuming more alcohol.

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