Researchers have identified a novel stress-sensitive pathway in the reward system of the brain that releases corticotropin-releasing hormone in response to stress. Adverse experiences cause this pathway to become overactive.
Researchers report the reward system in the brains of female alcoholics are larger than in women who are not addicted to alcohol. By contrast, this area is smaller in alcoholic men than non-alcoholic men.
Researchers have uncovered a mechanism in the BNST that senses the negative effects of alcohol and modulates the urge to drink. The study reports that when this mechanism doesn't function correctly, we lose the ability to recognize that we have had enough to drink.
Researchers have identified a gene that appears to be implicated in depression in both animal and human models of the disorder. The gene, Slc6a15 can either amplify or reduce stress, depending on its level of activity.