Psychiatric Disorders pp 205-230

Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 829)

Models of Chronic Alcohol Exposure and Dependence



Alcoholism is a chronic treatment-resistant disorder typically presenting with recurrent/cyclic periods of abusive drinking, withdrawal, abstinence, and relapse. Various strategies that attempt to model these processes in animals have been developed to elucidate the behavioral and neural processes underlying alcoholism. Many of these have involved chronic ethanol exposure and withdrawal with the most widely employed methods involving mice or rats. Prominent features of these methods include alcohol vapor or intragastric forced exposure, cyclic or intermittent periods of alcohol availability with various lengths of forced abstinence, voluntary consumption, the use of genetically alcohol-preferring animals, and inclusion of various pharmacological or environmental challenges to worsen or mitigate symptoms. This chapter emphasizes alcohol exposure and withdrawal and discusses representative metrics used to monitor the consequences of employing these methods. These include but are not limited to intensity and pattern of alcohol exposure, seizure sensitivity during withdrawal, and emotional responding.

Key words

Alcohol Repeated Intermittent Binge Chronic Withdrawal Sensitization Animal models Anxiety-like behavior Seizures Drinking 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, School of MedicineUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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