An Evoked Potential Study of Endogenous Affective Disorders in Alcoholics

  • Donald C. Martin
  • Joseph Becker
  • Veronica Buffington
Part of the The Downstate Series of Research in Psychiatry and Psychology book series (DSRPP, volume 2)


This study investigated the hypothesis that some alcohol abusers have variations in neurophysiological response patterns akin to those found in endogenous affective disorders. VERs were obtained from three groups of alcohol abusers using procedures developed by Buchsbaum and Silverman (1968). The groups consisted of alcohol abusers with 1) a family history of bipolar affective disorder 2) a negative family history of affective disorders and 3) a family history of unipolar depression. Changes in VER with variation in stimulus intensity analogous to those reported for bipolar (augmenters) and unipolar (reducers) depressives were expected and obtained for Groups 1 and 3 respectively.

This interim report is based upon a sample of 43 (7,22 and 14 respectively). Two global VER amplitude measurements taken over 500 milliseconds, the mean absolute deviation and the mean squared deviation, showed significant differences (p=.02 and .01 respectively) in the predicted direction. Although none of the groups were VER reducers, Group 1 showed the largest VER augmentation and Group 3 the least. Two specific VER amplitude measurements, (P90–N140) and (P200–N140), failed to show significant differences although the latter measurement showed some trend in the hypothesized direction.


Affective Disorder Stimulus Intensity Unipolar Depression Bipolar Affective Disorder Negative Family History 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald C. Martin
    • 1
  • Joseph Becker
    • 2
  • Veronica Buffington
    • 2
  1. 1.Departments of Biostatistics and PsychiatryUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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