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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...

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...

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, 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...

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...

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...

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...

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...