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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2002 Jun;26(6):827-35.

Biphasic alcohol response differs in heavy versus light drinkers.

Author information

1
University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Illinois 60637, USA. aking@yoda.bsd.uchicago.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Most studies of risk factors for alcohol-related problems have focused on biological family history as a primary risk factor. However, other factors, such as early-age heavy drinking, are also risk factors for sustained or progressive heavy consumption. Little is currently known about the mechanisms underlying binge or heavy drinking.

METHODS:

This study examined the acute subjective and objective effects of ethanol in heavy drinkers versus light drinkers. Thirty-four subjects participated in this within-subjects study consisting of three early-evening testing sessions in which subjects consumed a beverage containing either 0.8 or 0.4 g/kg ethanol or placebo.

RESULTS:

Compared with lighter drinkers, heavy drinkers were more sensitive to the positive stimulant-like effects of ethanol (p < 0.05), especially during the increasing limb of the blood alcohol curve. Heavy drinkers also showed less sedation and cortisol response after alcohol than the light drinkers (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS:

The results indicate that young adult binge drinkers show a biphasic alcohol response, with heightened sensitivity to stimulant-like alcohol effects and greater tolerance to sedative alcohol effects compared with their light-drinking counterparts.

PMID:
12068251
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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