Stress Hormone May Affect Alcohol Recovery

LIVERPOOL, England, Sept. 24 (UPI) — A British researcher says cortisol — a stress hormone — adversely affects recovery from alcoholism.

Lead author Dr. Abi Rose of the University of Liverpool in England says the hormone is often found in chronic alcoholics as well as in recovering alcoholics.

The study, published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, finds those trying to recover who have high levels of cortisol — a hormone produced by the adrenal gland in response to stress — have an increased risk of relapse.

Rose and colleagues also find cortisol levels may continue to be elevated even after long periods of abstinence.

“Both drinking and withdrawal from alcohol can affect cortisol function in humans,” Rose says in a statement. “Cortisol dysfunction, including the high levels of cortisol observed during alcohol withdrawal, may contribute to the high rates of relapse reported in alcohol dependence, even after many months of abstinence. Drugs targeting the effects of cortisol in the brain might reduce the chances of relapse and reduce the cognitive impairments that interfere with treatment.”

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