Impulsivity predicts individual susceptibility to high levels of alcohol self-administration

Behav Pharmacol. 1995 Dec;6(8):810-814.


Clinical studies indicate large individual differences in susceptibility to alcohol abuse. Poor behavioral self -regulation has been proposed to reflect a predisposing factor. Like humans, only some rats regularly consume large and intoxicating amounts of alcohol. We hypothesized that clinical indications of impaired behavioral self-regulation should be reflected in an animal model of impulse control, and in this study we assessed impulsivity with a delay-of-reward paradigm. We found that three groups representing three levels of impulsivity predicted augmenting levels of alcohol self-administration. Also, overall impulsivity scores were found to be significantly correlated with magnitude of alcohol self-administration. The finding that high impulsivity is linked to elevated consumption represents an animal model that may mirror clinical depictions of an alcohol abuse syndrome. This animal model may help elucidate the neurobiological basis of individual susceptibility to alcohol addiction.