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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...

Stress Glossary

Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH): Also known as corticotropin, is a hormone produced and secreted by the anterior pituitary gland. It is an important component of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis and often is produced in response to biological stress (along with corticotropin-releasing factor from the hypothalamus). Its principal effects are increased production and release of...

Stress, Epigenetics, and Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a complex disorder characterized by compulsive alcohol seeking and consumption that also is impacted by related psychiatric states, such as anxiety (Koob 2003; Pandey 2003). Both environmental and genetic factors influence alcohol drinking patterns and may increase susceptibility to the development of alcohol addiction (Cloninger 1987; Crabbe 2002). The presence or development of...

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...

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...

Stress and Alcohol: Epidimiologic Evidence

Exposure to varying forms of stress is an integral life experience that can provoke a variety of reactions. In research on alcohol, drug, and psychiatric disorders, the term “stress” often is understood to indicate any experience denoting adversity (Dohrenwend 2000). Stress exposures consist of external stimuli that are threatening or harmful; elicit fear, anxiety, anger, excitement, and/or...

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...

Overview: Stress and Alcohol Use Disorders Revisited

In the 13 years since Alcohol Research & Health (now titled Alcohol Research: Current Reviews) first visited the topic of “Alcohol and Stress” (see Vol. 23, No. 4, 1999), there has been a sustained flow of new information in the field prompting us to publish this updated edition. Indeed, one could argue that this second look at the topic is long overdue. An entirely new lexicon of terms1 has been...

Biobehavioral Interactions Between Stress and Alcohol

In this review, the effects of stress on alcohol drinking are discussed. The interactions between biological stress systems and alcohol drinking are examined, with a focus on the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, corticotropin releasing factor, dynorphin, neuropeptide Y, and norepinephrine systems. Findings from animal models suggest that these biological stress systems may be useful targets...

How Does Stress Lead to Risk of Alcohol Relapse?

It has long been known that stress increases the risk of alcohol relapse (Sinha 2001). Clinical observations, surveys, and epidemiological studies document an association between self-reports of stressors and subsequent return to drinking. Studies assessing alcohol relapse after treatment completion and discharge also indicate the contribution of highly stressful events independent of alcohol use...