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Alcohol, Opioids, and Pain - From the Editors

Opioids and alcohol are both effective analgesics under certain pain conditions. However, although the analgesic or pain-relieving properties of opioids are well known, information about the use of alcohol and its potential for misuse in the context of pain management has begun to emerge more recently. Alcohol doses required to alleviate pain are commensurate with binge drinking,1 defined as...

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...

The Convergent Neuroscience of Affective Pain and Substance Use Disorder

Introduction

A central feature of substance use disorder (SUD) is the emergence of negative affective or emotional states that influence the motivational properties of misused substances.1 Individual propensity to experience pain-related negative affect, for example, is hypothesized to be associated with the maintenance of both opioid use disorder (OUD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD). Chronic...

Maternal Substance Use: Consequences, Identification, and Interventions

Alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis are the substances most frequently used during pregnancy, and opioid-exposed pregnancies have increased fourfold. The purpose of this review is to describe the prevalence and consequences of prenatal exposure to alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, and opioids. Currently available screening questionnaires for prenatal substance use are summarized and contrasted with the...

Alcohol Use Disorder: The Role of Medication in Recovery

Introduction

It is estimated that nearly 14.6 million Americans currently meet the diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder (AUD)1 included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5),2 and approximately 88,000 die from alcohol-related causes in the United States each year.3 An older term, “alcohol dependence,” is equivalent to the DSM-5 criteria for...

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...

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) ...

Circadian Genes, the Stress Axis, and Alcoholism

Alcohol abuse and dependence are estimated to affect 1 in 8 adults in the United States and several hundred million people worldwide (Grant et al. 2004). To define at-risk populations and develop better treatments, it is important to further identify the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to alcohol addiction. Recent evidence suggests that the body’s internal system that helps...

Stress and the HPA Axis: Role of Glucocorticoids in Alcohol Dependence

Stress, generally defined as any stimulus that disrupts the body’s internal balance (i.e., physiological homeostasis), has long been suggested to be an important correlate of uncontrolled alcohol consumption or relapse to drinking following a period of abstinence. Large epidemiological studies have reported that a variety of stressors are associated with increased alcohol consumption and binge...

Alcohol and Puberty: Mechanisms of Delayed Development

Adolescence represents a vulnerable period for developing youth. Alcohol use and misuse are especially problematic behaviors during this time. Adolescents are more sensitive to alcohol and less tolerant of its detrimental effects than are adults. Research in humans and animals has revealed that early alcohol consumption can result in delayed pubertal development. Animal studies have shown that...