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Cortisol, the primary glucocorticoid in humans, is intimately involved in the regulation of biological processes as diverse and critical as emotion, cognition, reward, immune function, and energy utilization. A sustained increase in cortisol concentration as a result of chronic intoxication could therefore lead to alcohol-related disorders such as sleep disturbances, cognitive deficits, diabetes, and mood disorders.
Although moderate acute alcohol intake has been reported to cause an increase in cortisol levels, it is uncertain whether cortisol remains permanently elevated during long-term chronic intoxication.
Salivary cortisol and breath alcohol concentrations (BAC) were determined in 73 individuals with primary alcohol dependence at initial presentation for treatment and in 22 alcohol-dependent individuals who participated in an inpatient treatment program.
Chronic alcohol-dependent individuals have continuously elevated cortisol concentrations both during intoxication and withdrawal. Elevated cortisol concentrations during chronic intoxication appear to increase progressively with the onset of withdrawal.
This suggests a daily cycle of hypercortisolemia during the active drinking phase, with further increases at cessation of drinking and onset of withdrawal symptoms. Persistently elevated cortisol levels can cause a costly allostatic load, leading to significant central nervous system and peripheral organ morbidity.
Alcoholismn: Increased Salivary Cortisol Concentrations During Chronic Alcohol Intoxication in a Naturalistic Clinical Sample of Men
Found at Alkohol adé (german)
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