Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New research reveals the emotional costs of alcoholism

01.03.2002


Alcoholics, especially those who relapse after frequent attempts to “dry out”, are damaging areas of their brain that recognise emotions, a University of Sussex study suggests.



Research on people’s responses to photographs of different emotional facial expressions shows that heavy drinkers who had previously tried to kick the bottle are more likely than either non-alcoholics, or alcoholics who had not previously experienced withdrawal symptoms, to read fear and sadness in all emotional expressions.

The study, by experimental psychologist Dr Theodora Duka and research fellow Julia Townshend, has important implications for the treatment of alcoholics.


“If rehabilitation fails, we are left with alcoholics who are misinterpreting or exaggerating the emotions of those around them,” says Dr Duka. “This can lead to more conflict in their environment, and more mental health problems.”

The area of the brain that encodes the emotions of fear and sadness is the amygdala. Previous experiments using animals have shown that the repeated effects of alcohol withdrawal impair the functions of this area. For alcoholics with a history of detoxification, damage to the amygdala would result in them no longer being able to accurately interpret particular emotions.

The research also reveals that alcoholics in general are more likely to confuse the facial expressions of anger and disgust - emotions that are believed to be encoded in the basal ganglia and orbitofrontal cortex of the brain. This confusion, however, is not related to the frequency of alcohol withdrawal but is likely to be a symptom of long-term abuse.

Dr Duka’s study was carried out on 15 alcoholic inpatients attending a London clinic. The participants had abstained from alcohol at the time of the experiment. At least two weeks had passed since admission to the clinic and they had all been medically supported with standard, detoxification treatments. They had been free from all medication for at least one week before testing. A control group of 15 social drinkers matched with the patient population were recruited from the postgraduate student and staff population of the University of Sussex.

Jacqui Bealing | alphagalileo

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht The genes are not to blame
20.07.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Targeting headaches and tumors with nano-submarines
20.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

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: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>