Experimental models for the modification of human drug self-administration

Methodological developments in the study of ethanol self-administration by alcoholics
  • George Bigelow
  • Roland Griffiths
  • Ira Liebson
Part of the FASEB Monographs book series (FASEBM, volume 4)


Experimental studies of human ethanol self-administration are reviewed, and a description is provided of the procedural evolution that has occurred in the experimental study of the determinants of human ethanol self-administration. Human experimental models of alcoholism have been established within residential laboratories which permit chronic availability of ethanol to volunteer alcoholic subjects. Experimentation within such environments has progressed from observational and descriptive studies of experimental intoxication to studies that manipulate experimental variables so as to modify (reduce) ethanol self-administration by alcoholic subjects. To observe systematic effects of manipulated variables it has been necessary to develop sensitive baselines of ethanol self-administration. When ethanol intake has been relatively unrestricted, wide spontaneous fluctuations have made difficult the evaluation of manipulated variables. When a variety of restrictions on ethanol availability have been imposed, sensitive self-administration baselines have been established which have permitted the direct experimental assessment of some of the determinants of ethanol self-administration. Six methodological principles are suggested for enhancing the information yield of future research on the determinants of ethanol self-administration. The same general methodology is suggested for research with other varieties of drug self-administration.—Bigelow, G., R. Griffiths and I. Liebson. Experimental models for the modification of human drug self-administration: methodological developments in the study of ethanol self-administration by alcoholics. Federation Proc. 34: 1785-1792, 1975.


Drinking Behavior Chronic Alcoholic Ethanol Intake Methodological Principle Manipulate Variable 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • George Bigelow
    • 1
    • 2
  • Roland Griffiths
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ira Liebson
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesThe Johns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryBaltimore City HospitalsBaltimoreUSA

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