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date: 25 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Alcoholism is associated with disparate and widespread negative consequences for brain anatomy and function. Consistent with a diffuse neurobiological profile, alcoholism is marked by a heterogeneous mix of cognitive and emotional abnormalities. Alcohol use disorders arise through diverse origins and follow an uncertain clinical course, with severity and consequences depending on many factors. The identification of specific alcoholism-related deficits is constrained both by methodological techniques employed and the distinct populations studied. To understand alcoholism-related alterations in brain structure and function, it is critical to consider the influence of contextual factors on clinical course. The optimal approach for understanding alcohol use disorders leverages a variety of scientific methodologies and clinical settings. The resulting confluence of data can provide evidence linking alterations in neurobiology with behavioral and neuropsychological effects of alcoholism. Critically, these data may help determine the degree to which abstinence and treatment facilitate the reversal of brain atrophy and dysfunction.

Keywords: Alcoholism, cognition, emotion, neuroimaging, frontal brain systems, limbic systems, reward circuitry

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