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Fortschr Neurol Psychiatr. 2008 Jan;76(1):14-20. Epub 2007 Jul 3.

[Nicotine dependence as comorbidity of alcohol dependence--epidemiology, etiology and therapy].

[Article in German]

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Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit-Klinik für Abhängiges Verhalten und Suchtmedizin.


There is a high association between alcohol and nicotine dependence. Compared to one particular dependence, associated nicotine and alcohol dependence are more severe and the course is more unfavourable for each dependence. This also applies to the sequels of dependence regarding physical health and cognitive functions. Possible biological causes for this high comorbidity are 1) an additive rewarding effect by combined consumption, 2) substance interaction with an impact on receptor activation and metabolism which results in reduction of adverse acute alcohol effects, and 3) a combined genetic disposition for both addictions. From a psychological point of view the association of both acts of use is learned. There is no evidence for the commonly presumed fundamental lack of interest, motivation, and ability for smoking cessation in alcohol dependent patients. The outcome of smoking cessation programs, however, is less successful compared to smokers without alcohol problems. Respective studies have used the common therapeutic strategies for nicotine addiction. Specifically adapted strategies for patients with a dual dependence are required.

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