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Alcohol Alcohol. 2015 Jan;50(1):24-9. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agu085. Epub 2014 Nov 28.

Relationship between the thyroid axis and alcohol craving.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University Medical School, Providence, RI, USA.
  • 2Section on Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology, Laboratory of Clinical and Translational Studies, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
  • 3Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.
  • 4Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University Medical School, Providence, RI, USA Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Providence, RI, USA.
  • 5Institute of Internal Medicine, Catholic University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
  • 6Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University Medical School, Providence, RI, USA Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.
  • 7Section on Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology, Laboratory of Clinical and Translational Studies, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD, USA lorenzo.leggio@nih.gov.

Abstract

AIMS:

A few studies have suggested a relationship between thyroid hormones and alcohol dependence (AD) such as a blunted increase of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in response to thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), lower levels of circulating free triiodothyronine (fT3) and free thyroxine (fT4) levels and down regulation of the TRH receptors. The current study aimed to explore the relationship between the hormones of the thyroid axis and alcohol-seeking behaviors in a sample of alcohol-dependent patients.

METHODS:

Forty-two treatment-seeking alcohol-dependent individuals enrolled in a 12-week treatment study were considered. The Timeline Follow Back (TLFB) was used to assess the number of drinks consumed during the 12-week period. Blood levels of thyroid hormones (TSH, fT3 and fT4) were measured prior to and at the end of treatment. Questionnaires were administered to evaluate craving for alcohol [Penn Alcohol Craving Scale (PACS) and the Obsessive Compulsive Drinking Scale (OCDS) and its two subscales ODS for obsessions and CDS for compulsions] as well as anxiety [State and Trait Inventory (STAI)], depression [the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale (Zung)] and aggression [the Aggressive Questionnaire (AQ)].

RESULTS:

At baseline, we found significant positive correlations between fT3 and OCDS (r = 0.358, P = 0.029) and CDS (r = 0.405, P = 0.013) and negative correlations between TSH levels and STAI (r = -0.342, P = 0.031), and AQ (r = -0.35, P = 0.027). At the end of the 12-week study period, abstinent patients had a greater change in TSH than those who relapsed (-0.4 vs. -0.25, F(1,24) = 5.4, P = 0.029).

CONCLUSION:

If confirmed in larger samples, these findings could suggest that the thyroid axis might represent a biomarker of alcohol craving and drinking.

PMID:
25433251
PMCID:
PMC4266183
DOI:
10.1093/alcalc/agu085
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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