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November 1987

Decreased Epinephrine in Familial Alcoholism: Initial Findings

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, University of Health Sciences/Chicago Medical School (Dr Swartz), and the Veterans Administration Medical Center (Ms Drews), North Chicago, Ill; and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (Dr Cadoret), Iowa City.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1987;44(11):938-941. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1987.01800230018004

• Stress-induced epinephrine release, measured in urine, was less in a group of 17 nonalcoholic adoptee probands, aged 18 to 36 years, with alcoholic biologic relatives than in 12 similar controls with no alcoholic relatives. This result is similar to previous observations of small stress-induced epinephrine release in humans with aggressive or hyperactive character traits. Resting epinephrine levels and epinephrine released by alcohol in soft drink were also lower in our probands than in controls. Familial alcoholism might be associated with a trait of globally decreased epinephrine responsiveness.