Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Childhood emotional abuse dramatically strong among male alcohol-dependent individuals

Date:
February 5, 2013
Source:
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research
Summary:
Alcohol dependent (AD) individuals have reduced central serotonergic neurotransmission. Childhood maltreatment can also have a negative impact on central serotonergic neurotransmission. A new study has found that self-reported childhood emotional abuse is associated with a 90-percent reduction in central serotonergic neurotransmission in male AD individuals.

Individuals who drink excessively or are alcohol dependent (AD) have reduced central serotonergic neurotransmission, which can have an impact on planning, judgment, self-control, and emotional regulation. Childhood maltreatment has also been found to have a negative impact on central serotonergic neurotransmission. A new evaluation of the impact of childhood maltreatment on central serotonergic dysfunction in AD individuals has found that self-reported childhood emotional abuse is associated with a 90-percent reduction in central serotonergic neurotransmission in male AD individuals.

Results will be published in the May 2013 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

"We know that reduced central serotonergic neurotransmission may also be involved in anxiety and depressive disorders, impulsivity, and sleep disorders," said Kristina J. Berglund, associate professor at the University of Gothenburg as well as corresponding author for the study. "It is not known how long these behavioral effects last, but it is possible that reduced central serotonergic neurotransmission may recover after several years of abstinence from alcohol."

"The 'size' or 'capacity' of the serotonin system has for a long time been associated with temperament and behavior," added Lars Oreland, a professor emeritus in the department of neuroscience at the University of Uppsala. "Generally, a low serotonergic capacity has been associated with lower impulse control and higher degree of aggressiveness. Low capacity can either be of advantage where risk-taking or extraversion is beneficial, or a disadvantage involving an increased risk of antisocial behaviour, drug abuse, vulnerability for depression, and alcoholism."

Oreland said that a low serotonergic capacity can be the result of mainly two factors: genetic inheritance and the environment. "When those two factors interact, the result is greater than just addition," he said. "Several studies indicate that environmental factors affect the activity of genes, irreversibly in the individual, by so called epigenetic mechanisms. This means that chemical groups are attached to the DNA, or other components of the chromosome, as an effect of life-events, especially early ones. Early adverse life events or chronic stress might induce such mechanisms by way of an effect of increased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol."

"This is the first study to look at the effects of central serotonergic dysfunction of both AD and childhood maltreatment in humans," noted Berglund.

She and her colleagues recruited 18 adult men with an AD diagnosis from outpatient treatment units. Central serotonergic neurotransmission was assessed by a prolactin response to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor citalopram. Childhood maltreatment was assessed retrospectively through use of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ).

"We found that self-reported maltreatment, particularly emotional abuse, is associated with a dramatic reduction -- 90 percent -- in central serotonergic neurotransmission in male AD individuals," said Berglund. "Emotional abuse was defined according to the established and often used CTQ, and includes verbal insults and derogatory words such as lazy, ugly, and stupid."

"The authors have used a reliable method for estimating serotonin capacity, the prolactine hormone in the blood," said Oreland. "This simple but very clever approach by the authors was also a more sensitive method than previously used, which might better reflect serotonergic capacity in brain areas with a greater sensitivity for decrease/damage, possibly due to epigenetic effects, that have been induced by adverse life events."

Both Berglund and Oreland were surprised by the dramatic nature of the findings.

"Such a dramatic effect, or rather, a high order of magnitude of early adverse life events, is indeed almost shocking," said Oreland. "It is tempting to speculate that the method used by the authors happened to pinpoint the exact spot where hormonal, here prolactine, regulation and central serotonin sensitivity for childhood maltreatment converge on a certain area in the brain."

"It is already known that childhood trauma may increase the risk for various psychiatric disorders, including AD, and that dysfunction in central serotonin neurotransmission may also increase the risk for psychiatric disorders," said Berglund. "The contribution of our findings is that there seems to be a strong relationship between childhood trauma and dysfunctional serotonin neurotransmission in AD individuals. While the mechanism behind this relationship is still unknown, it would be wise for a clinician to assess for possible childhood trauma since the combination of childhood trauma and excessive alcohol intake seems to be extremely deleterious for brain."

Both Berglund and Oreland noted the small number of patients in this study and recommended future research. "It would be interesting to examine how the combination of childhood maltreatment and genetic constitution on central serotonergic function might lead to the development of a certain type of alcoholism, as there are several ways of classifying alcoholism," said Oreland.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kristina J. Berglund, Jan Balldin, Ulf Berggren, Arne Gerdner, Claudia Fahlke. Childhood Maltreatment Affects the Serotonergic System in Male Alcohol-Dependent Individuals. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2013; DOI: 10.1111/acer.12023

Cite This Page:

Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. "Childhood emotional abuse dramatically strong among male alcohol-dependent individuals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130205162522.htm>.
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. (2013, February 5). Childhood emotional abuse dramatically strong among male alcohol-dependent individuals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130205162522.htm
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. "Childhood emotional abuse dramatically strong among male alcohol-dependent individuals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130205162522.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins