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Binge Drinking - Editor's Note

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as a pattern of consumption that causes blood alcohol concentration to rise to .08%—the legal limit for adults ages 21 or older operating a motor vehicle—or more. This level typically occurs after a woman consumes four drinks or a man consumes five drinks—in about 2 hours. Research suggests that three out of four...

NIAAA's College Alcohol Intervention Matrix

The College Alcohol Intervention Matrix (CollegeAIM) is a user-friendly, interactive decision tool based on a synthesis of the substantial and growing literature on campus alcohol use prevention. It includes strategies targeted at both the individual and environmental levels. Commissioned by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), CollegeAIM reflects the collective...

Binge Drinking’s Effects on the Body

Alcohol misuse is the fifth-leading risk factor for premature death and disability worldwide, and, adjusting for age, alcohol is the leading risk factor for mortality and the overall burden of disease in the 15 to 59 age group. According to the World Health Organization, in 2004, 4.5% of the global burden of disease and injury was attributable to alcohol: 7.4% for men and 1.4% for women.

Co-Occurring Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder in U.S. Military and Veteran Populations

Co-occurring post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) are costly and consequential public health problems that negatively affect the health and well-being of U.S. military service members and veterans. The disproportionate burden of comorbid PTSD and AUD among U.S. military service members and veterans may be due to unique factors associated with military service, such...

Early Life Stress as a Predictor of Co-Occurring Alcohol Use Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

During the critical developmental periods of childhood when neural plasticity is high, exposure to early life stress (ELS) or trauma may lead to enduring changes in physiological stress systems and enhanced vulnerability for psychopathological conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) in adulthood. Clinical and preclinical studies have sought to...

Common Biological Mechanisms of Alcohol Use Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) are highly comorbid. Although recent clinical studies provide some understanding of biological and subsequent behavioral changes that define each of these disorders, the neurobiological basis of interactions between PTSD and AUD has not been well-understood. In this review, we summarize the relevant animal models that parallel...

Functional and Psychiatric Correlates of Comorbid Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) are common comorbid conditions that affect large segments of the population. Individuals with comorbid PTSD/AUD face greater clinical and functional stressors than those with diagnoses of either PTSD or AUD alone. The purpose of this article is to review the phenomenology and functional associations of PTSD/AUD and address the...

The Epidemiology of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder

For more than 40 years, research has shown that individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) use alcohol and experience alcohol use disorder (AUD) to a greater degree than those with no PTSD. AUD and PTSD have shown a durable comorbidity that has extended through decades and through changes in disorder definitions. Some research shows that veterans who have experienced PTSD have a high...

Behavioral Treatments for Alcohol Use Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are highly prevalent and debilitating psychiatric conditions that commonly co-occur. Individuals with comorbid AUD and PTSD incur heightened risk for other psychiatric problems (e.g., depression and anxiety), impaired vocational and social functioning, and poor treatment outcomes. This review describes evidence-supported...

Pharmacotherapy for Co-Occurring Alcohol Use Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Targeting the Opioidergic, Noradrenergic, Serotonergic, and GABAergic/Glutamatergic Systems

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are highly comorbid, and treatment outcomes are worse in individuals with both disorders. Several neurobiological systems have been implicated in the development and maintenance of AUD and PTSD, and pharmacologic interventions targeting these systems for singular diagnoses of AUD or PTSD have proven effective. However, there are...