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Co-Occurring Alcohol Use Disorder and Anxiety: Bridging the Psychiatric, Psychological, and Neurobiological Perspectives

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

—George Santayana

Few observations in psychiatry have been documented as long and as consistently as the association between anxiety (and general negative affect) and the chronic misuse of alcohol. Research has shown that up to 50% of individuals receiving treatment for problematic alcohol use also met diagnostic criteria...

Neuroplasticity and Predictors of Alcohol Recovery

Recovery from alcoholism is a complex and long-term process with high relapse rates. Therefore, understanding why people relapse has been critically important to improving treatment outcomes. To that end, researchers are looking for clinical and biological markers that predict relapse after treatment and to use those risk factors to develop effective treatments to reduce relapse rates. One...

Advances in Medications and Tailoring Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

Despite decades of research on various methods for treating alcohol use disorder (AUD), AUD remains prevalent throughout the world, making it critical to develop a more comprehensive approach to address the issue. Heavy drinking is the third largest risk factor for global disease burden, leading to enormous social and economic decline (World Health Organization 2014). Each year, alcohol misuse...

Co-Occurring Alcohol Use Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - Editor's Note

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a chronic, relapsing brain disease characterized by a reduced ability to stop or control alcohol use despite negative social, work, or health consequences. Often, it co-occurs and interacts with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which may develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, such as combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or...

Alcohol Use Disorder and Co-Occurring Mental Health Conditions - From the Editors

This issue of Alcohol Research: Current Reviews (ARCR) delves into studies on co-occurring alcohol use disorder (AUD) and mental health conditions, exploring how this co-occurrence affects symptom severity, prognosis, and outcomes. Increased risk because of co-occurrence, challenges because of disorder heterogeneity, and efficacy of treatment interventions are reviewed.

Among people with AUD...

Women and Alcohol - From the Editors

Recent epidemiological research has identified alarming trends in drinking patterns of girls and women in the United States. In recent years, the amount and frequency of alcohol use are increasing in White and Hispanic girls and young women in contrast to decreasing patterns of heavy alcohol use in boys and young men.1,2 Similarly, current and binge alcohol use is rising among older women,3,4 resu...

NIH’s Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study (ABCD Study)

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ABCD Study logo

Adolescence is the stage of life during which most people begin using alcohol, and it is also a time of considerable social, psychological, and physiological change. The brain, particularly the frontal cortex, continues to develop throughout adolescence and does not fully mature until early adulthood. Adolescent alcohol exposure can impair brain development, compromise short- and long-term...

Brain Structure and Function in Recovery

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) commonly is associated with compromise in neurobiological and/or neurobehavioral processes. The severity of this compromise varies across individuals and outcomes, as does the degree to which recovery of function is achieved. This narrative review first summarizes neurobehavioral, neurophysiological, structural, and neurochemical aberrations/deficits that are frequently...

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...