Animal models of binge drinking, current challenges to improve face validity

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2019 Nov;106:112-121. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2018.05.002. Epub 2018 May 5.


Binge drinking (BD), i.e., consuming a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time, is an increasing public health issue. Though no clear definition has been adopted worldwide the speed of drinking seems to be a keystone of this behavior. Developing relevant animal models of BD is a priority for gaining a better characterization of the neurobiological and psychobiological mechanisms underlying this dangerous and harmful behavior. Until recently, preclinical research on BD has been conducted mostly using forced administration of alcohol, but more recent studies used scheduled access to alcohol, to model more voluntary excessive intakes, and to achieve signs of intoxications that mimic the human behavior. The main challenges for future research are discussed regarding the need of good face validity, construct validity and predictive validity of animal models of BD.

Keywords: Alcohol; Animal models; Binge drinking; Rodents; Validity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binge Drinking*
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / administration & dosage*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Ethanol / administration & dosage*
  • Humans


  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • Ethanol