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See detailAffective impairments in binge drinking: Investigation through emotional facial expression decoding
Lannoy, Séverine; Dormal, Valérie; Brion, Mélanie et al

in Comprehensive Psychiatry (2018), 83

Objective: Binge drinking, an excessive alcohol consumption pattern frequently observed in young people, is known to be associated with psychological and cerebral deficits. While cognitive dysfunctions ... [more ▼]

Objective: Binge drinking, an excessive alcohol consumption pattern frequently observed in young people, is known to be associated with psychological and cerebral deficits. While cognitive dysfunctions have been widely investigated, emotional abilities have scarcely been explored. Such an exploration would however offer a more exhaustive understanding of the deficits associated with binge drinking, as well as of the possible transition towards alcohol-dependence. Methods: 46 young adults (23 binge drinkers, 12 women; 23 control participants, 12 women) were recruited among university students. They performed an emotional recognition task consisting of the visual decoding of six basic emotions (i.e. anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, and sadness). Accuracy scores and detection thresholds were collected for each emotion. Results: Binge drinkers showed lower performance than control participants for the decoding of all emotions and increased detection thresholds, this later reflecting less ability to capture an emotion. Binge drinking is thus associated with a need for higher emotional intensity to perform correct detection. Moreover, these emotional difficulties appear specifically related to alcohol consumption. Conclusion: These findings reinforce previous experimental evidence of altered emotional processing among binge drinkers, and extend these results for various emotional contents. They support the hypothesis of a continuum between binge drinking and alcohol-dependence, in which massive emotional impairments have been documented. Indeed, these impairments could be involved in the onset and maintenance of excessive alcohol consumption, notably through the established relationship between emotional deficits and social distress. [less ▲]

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