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Alcohol craving, limbic irritability, and stress

Denisa Jasova, Petr Bob, Peter Fedor-Freybergh

Med Sci Monit 2007; 13(12): CR543-547

ID: 563763


Background: Recent findings indicate that craving during alcohol withdrawal, also in abstinent patients, can relate to kindling phenomena caused by sensitization in temporo-limbic structures. Because limbic structures are involved in stress, anxiety, and emotional processing, kindling and temporolimbic seizure-like activity are also closely related to various psychiatric symptoms frequently presented without seizure disorders. Recent findings also show that these seizure-like processes are related to limbic irritability, which may also be significantly influenced by stressful life events.
Material and Method: The hypothesis tested in the present study is that limbic irritability could be closely related to craving symptoms. Therefore, limbic irritability and craving were assessed using psychometric measures in 40 alcohol-dependent patients and the results were compared with those of 40 healthy controls.
Results: Statistical analysis showed highly significant correlation (r=0.75, p<0.0000001) between limbic irritability (LSCL-33) and craving (ACQ-R) and highly increased limbic irritability scores in the patients compared with the healthy controls.
Conclusions: The results indicate that craving symptoms are related to the kindling process presented in the form of cognitive, affective, sensory, somatic, behavioral, and memory symptoms linked to limbic irritability and temporo-limbic seizure-like activity.

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