In the Mood for Drinking? Study Tracks College Students’ Emotion Dynamics During Drinking and Non-drinking Days

A study reported in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research has highlighted the link between emotional functioning and alcohol use. Previous research has shown that mood regulation is a core component of problematic drinking, and that emotions have a role in reinforcing repeated alcohol use – whether via the mood- and social-enhancing effects of alcohol (‘positive reinforcement’), or through drinking as a coping strategy to alleviate negative feelings of stress and anxiety (‘negative reinforcement’). According to theoretical models of addiction, alcohol reinforcement can act as a pathway to development of alcohol misuse and dependence over the longer-term. However, it is also important to understand the daily impact of emotional regulation and alcohol associations. In the latest study, researchers from the University of Central Florida examined snapshots of mood in college students in real time across drinking and non-drinking days, using a technique called ecological momentary

Subtypes of alcohol dependence: Predicting relapse and death following treatment

Long-term heavy drinking and alcohol dependence are linked to multiple health problems, including premature death. The risk of serious harm is higher for women than men, and also depends on the person’s current level of drinking. However, it is not known if other factors, such as previous drinking history and co-existing psychiatric conditions, might also contribute to early death in people with alcohol dependence. One way to evaluate the impact of these factors is to group patients based on clusters of characteristics and assess outcomes in each group. Alcohol dependence ‘subtypes’ have previously been used to group patients for treatment planning purposes, but have not been assessed for their role in predicting long-term outcomes of alcohol dependence. A new study, reported in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, has evaluated four alcohol dependence subtypes as predictors of relapse in the year after treatment, and as predictors of mortality over 36 years of follow-up.