File(s) under embargo
Reason: Publisher requirement.
until file(s) become available
Does an acute bout of moderate exercise reduce alcohol craving in university students?
journal contributionposted on 14.09.2021, 10:54 by Aleksandra GaworAleksandra Gawor, Eef HogervorstEef Hogervorst, Thom WilcocksonThom Wilcockson
Craving is considered to be a vital contributor to the onset and maintenance of alcohol misuse. However, there is little known about its potential moderators and there are few interventions that specifically target these cravings. Exercise generates multiple psychological and physiological effects that in theory may reduce craving, and therefore we hypothesised that a short exercise circuit may potentially alter reward circuits. Recent research centred around neuroimaging studies suggests that similar reward circuits in the brain stimulated through exercise are also found to be activated by commonly misused substances such as alcohol. Peripheral levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, as well as the release of endorphins that would otherwise be artificially stimulated using alcohol are hypothesised to increase via alternate substitution induced by exercise. Exercise would thus replace effects of alcohol use to a substantial extent, and therefore was theorised to decrease craving and subsequently reduce hazardous alcohol use. A university student sample who reported hazardous drinking levels participated in either an exercise, colouring (as an active control) or a passive control intervention, and self-reported alcohol craving, mood, anxiety, and positive and negative affect scores were assessed. The present study found that a short exercise circuit significantly reduced alcohol craving, whilst also eliciting beneficial effects on mood and anxiety. This knowledge will help aid the utilisation of exercise as a potential therapeutic tool to reduce alcohol craving, prevent hazardous alcohol use and develop a greater understanding of the mechanisms that underlie addictive behaviour.
- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences