Theoretical frameworks and mechanistic aspects of alcohol addiction: alcohol addiction as a reward deficit disorder.
ABSTRACT Alcoholism can be defined by a compulsion to seek and take drug, loss of control in limiting intake, and the emergence of a negative emotional state when access to the drug is prevented. Alcoholism impacts multiple motivational mechanisms and can be conceptualized as a disorder that includes a progression from impulsivity (positive reinforcement) to compulsivity (negative reinforcement). The compulsive drug seeking associated with alcoholism can be derived from multiple neuroadaptations, but the thesis argued here is that a key component involves the construct of negative reinforcement. Negative reinforcement is defined as drug taking that alleviates a negative emotional state. The negative emotional state that drives such negative reinforcement is hypothesized to derive from dysregulation of specific neurochemical elements involved in reward and stress within the basal forebrain structures involving the ventral striatum and extended amygdala, respectively. Specific neurochemical elements in these structures include not only decreases in reward neurotransmission, such as decreased dopamine and γ-aminobutyric acid function in the ventral striatum, but also recruitment of brain stress systems, such as corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), in the extended amygdala. Acute withdrawal from chronic alcohol, sufficient to produce dependence, increases reward thresholds, increases anxiety-like responses, decreases dopamine system function, and increases extracellular levels of CRF in the central nucleus of the amygdala. CRF receptor antagonists also block excessive drug intake produced by dependence. A brain stress response system is hypothesized to be activated by acute excessive drug intake, to be sensitized during repeated withdrawal, to persist into protracted abstinence, and to contribute to the compulsivity of alcoholism. Other components of brain stress systems in the extended amygdala that interact with CRF and that may contribute to the negative motivational state of withdrawal include norepinephrine, dynorphin, and neuropeptide Y. The combination of loss of reward function and recruitment of brain stress systems provides a powerful neurochemical basis for a negative emotional state that is responsible for the negative reinforcement driving, at least partially, the compulsivity of alcoholism.
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ABSTRACT: Nearly half of individuals with substance use disorders relapse in the year after treatment. A diagnostic tool to help clinicians make decisions regarding treatment does not exist for psychiatric conditions. Identifying individuals with high risk for relapse to substance use following abstinence has profound clinical consequences. This study aimed to develop neuroimaging as a robust tool to predict relapse. 68 methamphetamine-dependent adults (15 female) were recruited from 28-day inpatient treatment. During treatment, participants completed a functional MRI scan that examined brain activation during reward processing. Patients were followed 1 year later to assess abstinence. We examined brain activation during reward processing between relapsing and abstaining individuals and employed three random forest prediction models (clinical and personality measures, neuroimaging measures, a combined model) to generate predictions for each participant regarding their relapse likelihood. 18 individuals relapsed. There were significant group by reward-size interactions for neural activation in the left insula and right striatum for rewards. Abstaining individuals showed increased activation for large, risky relative to small, safe rewards, whereas relapsing individuals failed to show differential activation between reward types. All three random forest models yielded good test characteristics such that a positive test for relapse yielded a likelihood ratio 2.63, whereas a negative test had a likelihood ratio of 0.48. These findings suggest that neuroimaging can be developed in combination with other measures as an instrument to predict relapse, advancing tools providers can use to make decisions about individualized treatment of substance use disorders. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.Drug and alcohol dependence 04/2015; 152. DOI:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.04.018 · 3.28 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The central nucleus of amygdala (CeA) has a role for mediating fear and anxiety responses. It is also involved in emotional imbalance caused by alcohol abuse and dependence and in regulating relapse to alcohol abuse. Growing evidences suggest that excitatory glutamatergic and inhibitory γ-aminobutyric acid-ergic (GABAergic) transmissions in the CeA are affected by chronic alcohol exposure. Human post-mortem CeA samples from male alcoholics (n=9) and matched controls (n=9) were assayed for the expression level of ionotropic glutamate and GABA-A receptors subunit mRNAs using quantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-qPCR). Our data revealed that out of the 16 ionotropic glutamate receptor subunits, mRNAs encoding two AMPA [2-amino-3-(3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazol-4-yl)propanoic acid] receptor subunits GluA1 and GluA4; one kainate receptor subunit GluK2; one NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor subunit GluN2D and one delta receptor subunit GluD2 were significantly decreased in the CeA of alcoholics. In contrast, of the 19 GABA-A receptor subunits, only the mRNA encoding the α2 subunit was significantly down-regulated in the CeA of the alcoholics as compared with control subjects. Our findings imply that the down-regulation of specific ionotropic glutamate and GABA-A receptor subunits in the CeA of alcoholics may represent one of the molecular substrates underlying the new balance between excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission in alcohol dependence. Online available: http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fncel.2014.00288/abstractFrontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 08/2014; 8. DOI:10.3389/fncel.2014.00288 · 4.18 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Alcoholism (alcohol dependence) is characterized by a compulsion to seek and ingest alcohol (ethanol), loss of control over intake, and the emergence of a negative emotional state during withdrawal. Animal models are critical in promoting our knowledge of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying alcohol dependence. Here, we review the studies involving operant alcohol self-administration in rat models of alcohol dependence and withdrawal with the focus on the alcohol vapor model. In 1996, the first articles were published reporting that rats made dependent on alcohol by exposure to alcohol vapors displayed increased operant alcohol self-administration during acute withdrawal compared with nondependent rats (i.e., not exposed to alcohol vapors). Since then, it has been repeatedly demonstrated that this model reliably produces physical and motivational symptoms of alcohol dependence. The functional roles of various systems implicated in stress and reward, including opioids, dopamine, corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), glucocorticoids, neuropeptide Y (NPY), γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), norepinephrine, and cannabinoids, have been investigated in the context of alcohol dependence. The combination of models of alcohol withdrawal and dependence with operant self-administration constitutes an excellent tool to investigate the neurobiology of alcoholism. In fact, this work has helped lay the groundwork for several ongoing clinical trials for alcohol dependence. Advantages and limitations of this model are discussed, with an emphasis on what future directions of great importance could be.Alcohol (Fayetteville, N.Y.) 11/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.alcohol.2013.08.006 · 2.04 Impact Factor