Rejection of adolescent female rats by their peers has long-term effects on alcohol-seeking behavior, according to a study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, and could provide a tool for studying alcohol relapse in humans. There is growing evidence from experimental studies that women who had adverse social experiences in childhood are more susceptible to alcohol relapse following abstinence. This is not observed in men, despite men having higher rates of alcohol dependence overall. Laboratory-bred rodents are important for studying the molecular and neurobiological underpinnings of addiction and alcohol dependence, but few animal studies have assessed the sex-dependent effects of adverse social experiences on later alcohol-seeking behavior. Recently, researchers in Germany have developed a rat model for adolescent peer rejection which has allowed them to study the long-term consequences of these experiences in adult male and female rats.
Tag: alcohol abstinence
Novel Interventions May be Needed to Tackle Poor Social Cognition in People With Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol dependence is associated with impairments in social cognition – for example, the ability to identify the emotional state of others – that persist despite abstinence from alcohol during inpatient treatment, according to new study findings. Cognitive deficits are common in alcohol use disorder (AUD), and often involve difficulties with working memory, flexible thinking, and self-control; however, it has become clear that social cognition, including the ability to recognize facial emotion, can also be affected. Poor social cognition contributes to interpersonal difficulties and conflicts. It may also have an important clinical impact, in that poorer recognition of facial emotion has been linked to poorer outcomes of treatment for alcohol dependence and a greater risk of relapse. However, research on social cognition is lacking, and it was not known if social cognitive deficits persist or might naturally improve with abstinence from alcohol. The study at the Medical University of I
Challenging Dogma, Recovery from Alcohol Use Disorder Can Sometimes Include Heavy Drinking
Recovering from alcohol use disorder (AUD) can sometimes involve drinking reductions that do not come close to abstinence, according to recent research — challenging the dogma that recovery from AUD requires abstinence or infrequent drinking. In a new study, one in five participants achieved stable recovery while occasionally drinking heavily. These participants reported success in various measures of life satisfaction, functioning, and health several years after treatment for AUD, according to the study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Their experience highlights the value of any drinking reduction. This study expands a body of work that is calling into question the longstanding emphasis — in research and recovery programs, including Alcoholics Anonymous — on drinking practices as a primary measure of success. A similar shift is taking place around other psychiatric disorders, with recovery increasingly measured by improved health and functioning over the absence of