NIH Research Festival
Alcohol dependence represents a widespread disease affecting nearly 10% of the general population in the United States, yet only 7% of affected individuals ever receive treatment. Although research has been conducted to investigate the behavioral and medical factors that inform the success of treatment, much less has been done to identify the characteristics of this population that lead them to treatment. In this study, we analyzed data from treatment-seeking alcoholic patients and compared it to alcohol-dependent individuals who were not interested in treatment. We sought to identify features of treatment and nontreatment seeking alcohol-dependent research participants to gain insight into what causes individuals to pursue treatment for alcohol dependence. We extracted 7 years of data from two screening protocols conducted at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, analyzing behavioral and psychological factors such as drinking behavior, smoking behavior, stress, anxiety and depression as well as various medical measures (through laboratory tests) such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and Gamma-Glutamyltransferase (GGT) levels. Statistical analysis revealed significant differences in drinking (e.g.: average drinks per day, heavy drinking days), smoking (cigarettes per day), stress (early life stress events), anxiety and depression (comprehensive psychopathological rating scale, structured clinical interview for DSM disorders). Concurrently, we investigated correlations between laboratory tests and psychological features; notably, we found a correlation between CRP levels and anxiety in treatment seekers. It is hoped that results from this study will help health care providers in identifying pertinent characteristics to promote treatment in alcohol-dependent individuals.
Scientific Focus Area: Social and Behavioral Sciences
This page was last updated on Friday, March 26, 2021