Background and Aims
Research shows that sensitivity to certain alcohol responses conveys risk for problem drinking. This study aimed to determine if high‐risk adolescent drinkers infuse more alcohol and experience greater alcohol‐induced stimulation and wanting and less sedation than low‐risk adolescent drinkers.
Design and Participants
Ninety‐two low‐ (n = 38) and high‐risk (n = 54) adolescent drinkers, as determined by Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test scores of < 6 or ≥ 6, respectively, participated in the Dresden Longitudinal Study on Alcohol Use in Young Adults in which intravenous alcohol self‐administration was examined in a mixed within‐ and between‐subjects design.
Technische Universität Dresden. Dresden, Germany.
Predictors were drinking status (high‐ versus low‐risk), time and their interactions. Outcomes were arterial blood alcohol concentration (aBAC); alcohol‐induced stimulation, sedation and wanting assessed at baseline, 10 (alcohol prime), 45, 65, 85, 105, 125 and 145 minutes. Covariates were family history of alcohol use disorder, sex and aBAC.
The alcohol prime dose produced similar sharp increases in stimulation and sedation in high‐ and low‐risk drinkers (time P < 0.001; group × time P > 0.05). During self‐administration, high‐risk drinkers reached higher aBACs (P = 0.028) at a faster rate (group × time P < 0.001), and experienced further increases in stimulation (group × time P = 0.005) but with similar sedation (group × time P = 0.794) than in low‐risk drinkers. High‐risk drinkers also exhibited greater tonic alcohol wanting (group P = 0.003) throughout the session.
High‐risk adolescent drinkers appear to have heightened sensitivity to alcohol‐induced stimulation and tonic high levels of wanting compared with low‐risk adolescent drinkers.