Background: There is undisputed evidence linking alcohol consumption and violence and other forms of aggressive behaviour, and also linking aggression with dysfunction of the brain indolylamine serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT). Alcohol consumption also causes major disturbances in the metabolism of brain serotonin. In particular, acute alcohol intake depletes brain serotonin levels in normal (non-alcohol-dependent) subjects. On the basis of the above statements, it is suggested that, at the biological level, alcohol may induce aggressive behaviour in susceptible individuals, at least in part, by inducing a strong depletion of brain serotonin levels.
Aims: In this article, evidence supporting these interrelationships and interactions will be summarized and discussed, the alcohol serotonin aggression hypothesis will be reiterated, and potential intervention strategies will be proposed.