Why Some Are More Susceptible to Alcohol Addiction: A New Study
By Jacqueline Marshall, August 22, 2013addiction have brains that respond to alcohol by releasing a large amount of dopamine in pathways related to reward and pleasure. “There is accumulating evidence that there are multiple pathways to alcoholism, each associated with a distinct set of personality traits and neurobiological features,” said Professor Marco Leyton, author of the research. “Our study suggests that a tendency to experience a large dopamine response when drinking alcohol might contribute to one (or more) of these pathways.”
Call now to discuss treatment options. We understand. 877-425-7312
About the Research
The Study Setup
- The study subjects were 26 social drinkers, 18 to 30 years old and in good health. There were 18 men and eight women.
- Those at higher-risk for alcohol addiction were identified based on personality traits and their low intoxication response to alcohol (did not feel as drunk after consuming the same amount of alcohol).
- Each subject had two PET brain scans, one after drinking fruit juice and the other after consuming about three alcoholic drinks within 15 minutes.
The Study Results
- Those earlier identified as being at higher-risk for addiction showed unusually large dopamine responses after drinking alcohol.
- Researchers believe receiving a big blast of dopamine may counteract the sedative effect of alcohol and excite reward-seeking behaviors. This pleasurable response makes it more likely that the individual will reach for a second drink, and then a third.
- Those who have smaller dopamine responses to alcohol are more likely to experience the sedative effects of drinking alcohol. A less pleasurable response means they are less likely to want a second or third drink.