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Impulsivity analysis can help detect alcohol vulnerability


The problem of alcoholism is soaring continuously across the United States. It seems, drinking has become a favorite pastime in the country. However, unlike other pastimes, it comes with a hefty price. One in every 12 adults is a victim of alcohol abuse or dependence, along with several millions indulging in risky drinking behaviors that lead to addiction, said a 2015 report published in the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD).

Studies have shown that those suffering from addiction problem have a family history of alcoholism, where at least a parent, close relative or any family member is an alcoholic. Thus, children of alcoholics face a higher risk than those with no family history of alcohol.

In a recent study, experts from the Research Society of Alcoholism have established a connection between higher levels of impulsivity and an increased vulnerability to alcoholism. Waiting impulsivity, a tendency to prematurely respond to a reward generally corresponds to an uncontrollable drug-seeking behavior. Waiting impulsivity is the outcome of living with alcoholic parents or relatives, which leads to an increased exposure to alcohol during one’s early years or later in youth.

High waiting impulsivity in those with a family history of alcoholism

As part of the study, the researchers observed 64-member group of men and women aged between 18 and 33 years, who were social drinkers with either a positive or negative family history of drinking. They were split into two groups, one of 24 people with a close relative suffering from alcohol addiction, and another of 40 adolescents without a family history of drinking.

Both the groups were made to consume doses of alcohol, before performing the Five-Choice Serial Reaction Time task to assess their impulsivity levels. Their impulsivity levels were also tested through specific tools, such as the Stop Signal Reaction Time, Information Sampling Task, Delay Discounting Questionnaire, Two-Choice Impulsivity Paradigm and Time Estimation.

Those with a positive family history of alcohol displayed high waiting impulsivity levels as compared to those with a negative history. But on the Stop Signal Reaction Time test, all 64 participants exhibited inhibitory control due to alcohol-induced impairments.

The findings revealed that children with a family history of alcoholism, who are at a greater risk of developing drug-seeking behavior, can be identified by measuring their waiting impulsivity levels.

New killer in America

Most Americans consider alcohol as an ideal way to relax, but in reality they end up drinking heavily, endangering their own life as well as of others. Alcohol destroys more lives in the country than all other drugs, road accidents or gunshots.

Alcohol is a highly damaging and compulsive intoxicant, which affects anybody consuming it directly or indirectly. It is responsible for serious issues that can destroy the happiness of millions of alcoholics as well as their kith and kin.

Over a period of time, excessive alcohol consumption can not only trigger a plethora of health-related problems, chronic diseases, neurological impairments and social problems, but also jeopardize the reputation and integrity of the alcoholic.

Leading an alcohol-free life

America’s drinking culture is one of the major reasons why most of its people choose to ignore the harmful effects of alcohol. Alcohol-related problems don’t just affect the drinker. Families of alcoholics are often victims of physical violence and their children may suffer neglect and sexual abuse, or develop a whole range of psychological issues.

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