Neurochemical Aspects of Tolerance to and Dependence on Ethanol

  • Henrik Wallgren
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 35)


It is my intention to discuss a few aspects of the biochemical mechanisms concerned in tolerance and dependence rather than to attempt a comprehensive review of this complex subject. I intend to rely mainly on recent experimental work, primarily performed by our group in Finland. Tolerance is here defined as better functioning at given concentrations of the depressant drug (alcohol) in the central nervous system, resulting from administration of the drug. Dependence is understood in the pharmacological sense. The chief criterion is that a latent state of hyperexcitability develops during prolonged intoxication with a depressant drug (alcohol) and becomes manifest, if administration is discontinued suddenly, as the specific symptoms and signs termed withdrawal illness. Physical dependence on alcohol does not necessarily imply addiction. In fact, as the word addiction lacks a universally accepted meaning I have avoided it altogether.


Cerebral Tissue Physical Dependence Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome Alcohol Dose Squid Giant Axon 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henrik Wallgren
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Laboratories of the State Alcohol Monopoly (Alko)Helsinki 10Finland

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