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Vol. 16, No. 2, 2010
Issue release date: March 2010
Section title: Research Report
Eur Addict Res 2010;16:108–114
(DOI:10.1159/000294362)

Impact of Childhood Trauma on Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Activity in Alcohol-Dependent Patients

Schäfer I.a, b · Teske L.a · Schulze-Thüsing J.a · Homann K.a · Reimer J.a, b · Haasen C.a, b · Hissbach J.c · Wiedemann K.a
aDepartment of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy; bCenter for Interdisciplinary Addiction Research, University of Hamburg, c/o Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center, and cDepartment of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology II, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Research Report

Published online: 3/11/2010
Issue release date: March 2010

Number of Print Pages: 7
Number of Figures: 2
Number of Tables: 2

ISSN: 1022-6877 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-9891 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/EAR

Abstract

Aims: Studies in animals and humans suggest that early life stress alters hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity. The same alterations are related to the symptoms and course of alcohol dependence. This study examined relationships between childhood trauma and HPA axis activity in alcohol-dependent patients controlling for psychopathology and characteristics of dependence. Methods: Thirty-eight consecutive patients (42% female) were examined at admission to detoxification (t1) and 14 days later (t2). Morning plasma levels of cortisol and adrenocorticotropin-releasing hormone (ACTH) were determined. Participants completed the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) and measures of anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Results: Sexual abuse was related to higher levels of cortisol during acute withdrawal (r = 0.38, p = 0.02). Levels of ACTH were negatively correlated with the CTQ total score (t2: r = –0.42, p < 0.01), emotional abuse (t2: r = –0.33, p = 0.04), emotional neglect (t2: r = –0.33, p = 0.04), and physical neglect (t2: r = –0.33, p = 0.05) controlling for psychopathology and characteristics of dependence. Conclusions: Our findings suggest, that childhood trauma is related to blunted ACTH and increased cortisol during withdrawal in alcohol-dependent patients. Early life stress might be a confounding variable in studies of HPA function in alcohol dependence and future studies should examine potential clinical consequences of these relationships.

© 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel


  

Author Contacts

Ingo Schäfer, MD, MPH
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf
Martinistrasse 52, DE–20246 Hamburg (Germany)
Tel. +49 40 7410 59290, Fax +49 40 7410 55545, E-Mail i.schaefer@uke.uni-hamburg.de

  

Article Information

Published online: March 11, 2010
Number of Print Pages : 7
Number of Figures : 2, Number of Tables : 2, Number of References : 44

  

Publication Details

European Addiction Research

Vol. 16, No. 2, Year 2010 (Cover Date: March 2010)

Journal Editor: van den Brink W. (Amsterdam), Haasen C. (Hamburg)
ISSN: 1022-6877 (Print), eISSN: 1421-9891 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/EAR


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Research Report

Published online: 3/11/2010
Issue release date: March 2010

Number of Print Pages: 7
Number of Figures: 2
Number of Tables: 2

ISSN: 1022-6877 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-9891 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/EAR


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