Alcohol cue-reactivity in heavy and light social drinkers as revealed by event-related potentials.


An elevated cue-reactivity evoked by alcohol-related stimuli (cues) in alcohol-dependent patients has been described for different physiological variables, including electrophysiological measures, such as event-related potentials (ERPs). Cue-reactivity has, however, also been reported for social drinkers. The aim of this study is to assess the effect of the drinking behaviours of social drinkers on cue-reactivity as measured with ERPs. Forty alcohol-related and 40 neutral pictures were presented to 15 heavy and 15 light drinkers (all males). ERPs were recorded using 21 scalp electrodes. Stimuli were presented for 500 ms with an inter-stimulus interval of 2000 ms. Heavy social drinkers displayed a cue-reactivity of significantly higher amplitude at the frontal electrode location Fz, elicited by alcohol-related, as compared to neutral, pictures. This effect was not found in light social drinkers. The results indicate that the cue-reactivity previously found in alcohol-dependent patients is also present in social drinkers, and that electrophysiological cue-reactivity is associated with alcohol consumption.

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@article{Herrmann2001AlcoholCI, title={Alcohol cue-reactivity in heavy and light social drinkers as revealed by event-related potentials.}, author={Martin J. Herrmann and H Gerd Weijers and Gerhard Adam Wiesbeck and J. A. L. Boening and Andreas J. Fallgatter}, journal={Alcohol and alcoholism}, year={2001}, volume={36 6}, pages={588-93} }