Understanding alcohol use disorders with neuroelectrophysiology

Handb Clin Neurol. 2014:125:383-414. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-62619-6.00023-9.


Neurocognitive deficits associated with impairments in various brain regions and neural circuitries, particularly involving frontal lobes, have been associated with chronic alcoholism, as well as with a predisposition to develop alcohol use and related disorders (AUDs). AUD is a multifactorial disorder caused by complex interactions between behavioral, genetic, and environmental liabilities. Neuroelectrophysiologic techniques are instrumental in understanding brain and behavior relationships and have also proved very useful in evaluating the genetic diathesis of alcoholism. This chapter describes findings from neuroelectrophysiologic measures (electroencephalogram, event-related potentials, and event-related oscillations) related to acute and chronic effects of alcohol on the brain and those that reflect underlying deficits related to a predisposition to develop AUDs and related disorders. The utility of these measures as effective endophenotypes to identify and understand genes associated with brain electrophysiology, cognitive networks, and AUDs has also been discussed.

Keywords: EEG; ERP; alcoholism; cognition; oscillations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / physiopathology
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Animals
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Comprehension*
  • Electroencephalography / methods*
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Humans