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Immune Function Genes, Genetics, and the Neurobiology of Addiction

The nervous system and the immune system interact closely to regulate the body’s immune responses, including inflammatory responses. Accordingly, the term “neuroimmune system” refers to the immune system and those components of the nervous system that help regulate immune responses and also encompasses the hormones and other signaling molecules that convey signals between the immune and nervous...

Identifying Gene Networks Underlying the Neurobiology of Ethanol and Alcoholism

The multiple genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors that play a role in the development of alcohol use disorders (AUDs) make it difficult to identify individual genes linked to these disorders. Nevertheless, some genetic risk factors (i.e., specific variants) associated with AUDs have been identified within many genes, some of which code for proteins involved in known biological pathways...

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...

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...

Forebrain-Midbrain Circuits and Peptides Involved in Hyperalgesia After Chronic Alcohol Exposure

Introduction

Chronic pain increases the risk for development of alcohol use disorder (AUD). Given that acute alcohol consumption can reduce pain, humans sometimes drink alcohol for relief of pain. Chronic alcohol consumption, however, can increase pain sensitivity during withdrawal and facilitate pain sensitization related to comorbid pain conditions.1 Ascending and descending nociceptive...

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...

Treatment of Alcohol Dependence With Drug Antagonists of the Stress Response

Although alcohol dependence affects 4 percent of the adult population and is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 2009), fewer than 15 percent of people with alcoholism receive treatment (Hasin et al. 2007). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders–Fourth Edition Text Revision (DSM–IV–TR) ...

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...