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Biology, Genetics, and Environment: Underlying Factors Influencing Alcohol Metabolism

Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that drinking patterns and the prevalence of alcohol-related adverse consequences, including alcohol use disorder (AUD), differ substantially among racial/ethnic groups in the United States. For example, analyses comparing drinking patterns and their consequences among Whites, Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics found the following: Whites have the highest...

Genetic and Environmental Determinants of Stress Responding

The development of alcohol dependence is a complex process influenced by both genetic and environmental risk factors (Prescott and Kendler 1999). The relative contributions of genetic and environmental influences fluctuate across development. During adolescence the initiation of alcohol use is strongly influenced by environmental factors (Dick et al. 2007; Heath et al. 1997; Karvonen 1995...

Alcohol Use As a Risk Factor in Infections and Healing: A Clinician's Perspective

Alcohol use and misuse have been part of human society for centuries. Early physicians recognized since the 1800s that alcohol produced not only impairment of the senses but also higher predisposition for tuberculosis. William Osler, the father of scientific medicine, reported in 1905 that patients who misused alcohol had higher predisposition to pneumonia (Osler 2001).

Between 2006 and 2010...

Cognitive-Affective Transdiagnostic Factors Associated With Vulnerability to Alcohol and Prescription Opioid Use in the Context of Pain

Introduction

Pain is a complex, near-universal phenomenon, which can be conceptualized as a motivational state that engenders goal-directed action.1 Motivational models of substance use highlight the role of expected effects and suggest that individuals become motivated to use substances when such use is perceived as holding greater value than other available objects or events.2,3 A rapidly...

Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Mutual Help Group Participation for Substance Use Problems

Introduction

Racial/ethnic minority groups comprise a large proportion of the U.S. population and evidence a substantial need for treatment of substance use disorder (SUD). Analysis of the most recent, reliable data available—the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)1—found that the prevalence of past-year SUD among those age 12 and older was higher among some racial/ethnic...

The Impact of Gene–Environment Interaction on Alcohol Use Disorders

This article explores interactions between genetic and environmental effects on alcohol use disorders (AUDs). Two contrasting ideas define what it means to have genes and environment interact. The first approach—the one that this article will focus on—is a statistical perspective. This approach is based on statistical models in which genetic and environmental factors are sometimes measured...

The Effects of Stress on Alcohol Consumption

This issue of Alcohol Research: Current Reviews focuses on the impact of stress on alcohol consumption. The significance of stress on alcohol abuse recently has been reemphasized by the alcohol use problems following posttraumatic stress disorder, such as those seen with some combat veterans. Behavior is described as an interaction between genetic constitution and environmental influences. Of the...

Alcohol and Stress in the Military

Problematic alcohol use within the United States military has been linked to substantial financial and productivity losses. Data from 2006 revealed that excessive alcohol consumption cost the U.S. military $1.12 billion per year (Harwood et al. 2009). Regarding medical expenditures, studies have found that excessive alcohol use by military members results in an annual cost of $425 million...

Epigenetics—New Frontier for Alcohol Research - Editor's Note

The term “epigenetics” is rapidly becoming one of the more important watchwords in the field of alcohol research. Put simply, epigenetics is the study of changes in gene function that occur without a change in the body’s genetic code, instead relying on epigenetic markers on, among others, the DNA and certain nuclear proteins to turn genes “on” and “off.” Epigenetic changes also are brought about...

Alcohol Use Among Special Populations - Editor's Note

Do characteristics such as race, ethnicity, age, sex, gender, occupation, or even geographical location influence how likely people are to drink alcohol or to experience problems related to alcohol use? This issue of Alcohol Research: Current Reviews (ARCR) explores this question with an in-depth look at special populations, or groups of people who may be at increased risk for—or protected from...