Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Adult alcoholism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are connected

15.10.2003


  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms include inattention, motor hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
  • Researchers have found a distinct phenotype or "profile" of adults with co-existing ADHD and alcoholism.
  • ADHD is five to 10 times more frequent among adult alcoholics than among the normal population.

Investigation of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTT) and the 5-HT2c receptor Cys23Ser polymorphism does not support a genetic commonality of ADHD and alcoholism.

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms include inattention, motor hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Roughly half of the adults who report ADHD symptoms also report a co-existing substance-abuse disorder. New findings published in the October issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research have identified a distinct phenotype or "profile" of individuals with co-existing ADHD and alcoholism. Although prior studies have suggested a genetic commonality of ADHD and alcoholism, the study found no significant contribution of two specific candidate genes, the promoter polymorphism of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTT) and the 5-HT2c receptor Cys23Ser polymorphism.



"Our results indicate that individuals with persisting ADHD symptoms in adulthood seem to be at high risk of developing an alcohol-use disorder," said Monika Johann, medical doctor and research associate at the University of Regensburg and first author of the study. "Moreover, there is evidence for a highly increased severity of alcohol dependence in subjects with ADHD."

Researchers examined 314 adult alcoholics (262 males, 52 females) as well as 220 unrelated healthy control subjects, all of German descent. Each participant was assessed for psychiatric disorders, such as substance-use disorders (including alcoholism), ADHD, and antisocial personality disorder (APD). Patients with a history of major psychiatric disorders, including depression and schizophrenia, and those with addictions to drugs other than alcohol and nicotine, were excluded from the investigation. Genotyping was performed without knowledge of diagnostic status, with a focus on the 5-HTT promoter and the 5-HT2c Cys23Ser polymorphism.

"Prior neuroendocrine challenge studies with a drug called fenfluramine in subjects with ADHD or alcoholism revealed similar differences in the serotonergic neurotransmission when compared to normal subjects," explained Johann. "The usual response to fenfluramine administration is a measurable increase in the circulating prolactin. This usual increase is blunted in subjects with ADHD or alcoholism. The main structures responsible for the fenfluramine-induced prolactin release are the 5-HTT and the 5-HT2c receptors. Therefore, both seemed plausible as overlapping sources of genetic liability of ADHD and alcoholism."

Neither of them, however, appear to be genetic risk factors in the sample examined. "Our data demonstrate that the 5-HTT promoter and the 5-HT2c Cys23Ser polymorphism do not contribute to the putative common genetic predisposition for ADHD and alcohol dependence," said Johann. "However, several other candidate genes have yet to be investigated."

Nonetheless, the findings do indicate a distinct phenotype, a way to measure an observable trait or behavior. Adult alcoholics with ADHD had a significantly higher daily and record intake of alcohol per month, an earlier age of onset of alcohol dependence, a higher frequency of thoughts about suicide, a greater number of court proceedings, and a greater occurrence of APD.

Thus, despite the lack of support for a common genetic predisposition, "the data show once again that to have ADHD means to be at high risk for developing alcohol dependence," said Ema Loncarek, a medical doctor and clinician at the psychiatric clinic of the University of Regensburg. Loncarek works on a ward for illegal drug addiction, providing detoxification and therapy.

"Dr. Johann’s findings of a phenotype are very close to what we see in drug addicts with ADHD, and what has been described before by other authors. We see on a regular basis that drug addicts with ADHD are difficult to handle. They start to abuse drugs earlier than other people, change earlier to "hard" drugs, take longer to start treatment, and take longer to successfully finish therapy."

Johann described in more detail the phenotypic variations she and her colleagues found. "Within this group of alcoholics, subjects with ADHD in adulthood are five to 10 times more frequent than in the normal population," she said. "Compared to alcoholics without ADHD, alcoholics with ADHD in adulthood were at least four years younger at onset of alcoholism, drank about 50 grams pure alcohol more per day during the previous month, had a nearly twofold higher rate of first-degree positive family history of alcoholism, had a nearly three times higher frequency of antisocial personality disorder, had a nearly seven times higher frequency of court proceedings, and had a more than two times higher frequency of suicidal thoughts."

Both Johann and Loncarek spoke of a need for the development and evaluation of specialized treatment programs that address "phenotypical specifics" as well as co-existing disorders such as alcoholism and ADHD. While pharmacological remedies, they noted, have been extensively evaluated for the treatment of ADHD in childhood, little attention has been given to substance-abusing individuals with ADHD in adulthood."

"ADHD seems to be highly underestimated in adulthood," said Johann, "yet seems to be an important risk factor for the development of alcohol dependence."


###
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research (ACER) is the official journal of the Research Society on Alcoholism and the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism. Co-authors of the ACER paper included Gabriela Bobbe, Albert Putzhammer, and Norbert Wodarz of the University of Regensburg. The study was partially funded by the University of Regensburg.

Monika Johann | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uni-regensburg.de/
http://www.alcoholism-cer.com/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht How prenatal maternal infections may affect genetic factors in Autism spectrum disorder
22.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht Camouflage apples
22.03.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pulverizing electronic waste is green, clean -- and cold

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers hazard a ride in a 'drifting carousel' to understand pulsating stars

22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New gel-like coating beefs up the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>