Drinking Impacts Emotions

Published Online: Sunday, February 1, 2004

Alcohol and lack of feelings go hand in hand-at least for some men. A study of male alcoholics with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), reported in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (December 2003), found that they have abnormally low emotional reactivity. Emotional reactivity refers to the way people respond to pleasant and unpleasant events.

All of the participants (17 men who had ASPD and were alcohol-dependent, 24 men without ASPD who were alcohol-dependent, and 21 healthy men) completed questionnaires, clinical interviews, and testing to gauge their emotional states. The results of the study showed that the emotional responses of the men with ASPD who were alcohol-dependent were blunted, compared with those of the men in the other 2 groups.

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