NIH Research Festival
Few attempts have been made to elucidate whether risky drinking patterns are present in high risk individuals prior to the development of an alcohol use disorder (AUD). In order to study this, a cross-sectional sample of social and heavy drinkers (n = 211) completed an intravenous alcohol self-administration session. Drinkers were divided into light and moderate social and heavy drinkers using 90-day Timeline Followback interviews. Social drinkers were then regrouped according to known AUD risk factors (family history of alcoholism, sex, and impulsivity) to compare high and low risk social drinkers to heavy drinkers. Rates of binging during the intravenous alcohol self-administration session were analyzed using Cox proportional hazards models which controlled for age, sex, and nicotine use. After adjusting for covariates, heavy drinkers achieved binge-level exposure at significantly higher rates throughout the session compared to both light (Hazard Ratio = 2.33, 95% CI 1.34 to 4.04) and moderate (Hazard Ratio = 2.03, 95% CI 1.12 to 3.68) social drinkers. When social drinkers were re-categorized into high and low risk for AUD, there were no significant differences in rate of binging throughout the session between high risk social and heavy drinkers (Hazard Ratio = 0.74, 95% CI 0.42 to 1.31). These findings suggest that a risky consumption phenotype may be present prior to the development of an AUD. Improved clinical characterization of individual drinking patterns could therefore help identify individuals at high risk for an AUD in order to provide early intervention.
Scientific Focus Area: Neuroscience
This page was last updated on Friday, March 26, 2021