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 Deep stimulation improves cognitive control by augmenting brain rhythms
04.04.2019 | Picower Institute at MIT

nachricht Black nanoparticles slow the growth of tumors
04.04.2019 | Technische Universität München

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: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>