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Alcohol Alcohol. 1998 Jan-Feb;33(1):66-72.

Alcohol, aggression and serotonin: metabolic aspects.

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  • Cardiff Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Biomedical Research Laboratory, Whitchurch Hospital, UK.


The role of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) in alcohol-induced aggressive behaviour is discussed. Considerable evidence exists in support of an association between aggression and serotonin deficiency and between aggression and alcohol consumption, and it is also known that alcohol consumption exerts major effects on serotonin metabolism. These links are synthesized into the serotonin deficiency hypothesis of alcohol-induced aggressive behaviour, which postulates that individuals susceptible to aggression after alcohol consumption exhibit a marked depletion of their brain serotonin rendering them prone to aggression in response to environmental or psychological stimuli or situations. This hypothesis has already received support from experimental studies in non-aggressive subjects, but remains to be examined in those known to be aggressive after alcohol consumption.

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