Interactions among the brain, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands (i.e., the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal [HPA] axis) help regulate the body's response to stress. The adrenal hormone cortisol plays a key role in stress reduction through its effects on multiple body systems. Excessive cortisol activity during both chronic alcohol administration and withdrawal may underlie some of the clinical complications of alcoholism, including increased risk of infectious diseases; bone, muscle, and reproductive system changes; altered energy metabolism; and disorders of mood and intellect. Despite excessive cortisol levels during intoxication and withdrawal, however, the HPA axis becomes less responsive to stress during abstinence, potentially resulting in an impaired capacity to cope with relapse-inducing stressors.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Alcohol health and research world|
|State||Published - 1998|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)