The considerable comorbidity of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol use disorders (AUD) poses a greater public health burden than either condition alone. Although there is a substantial body of evidence linking the direct neurotoxic effect of heavy drinking to gray matter (GM) deficits, as well as a growing body of literature supporting a strong association between PTSD and GM alterations, there is scant research interrogating the direct interaction of the two disorders. In order to generate data-driven, specific hypotheses regarding the overlapping neural substrates of PTSD and AUD, we conducted a meta-analysis of GM volumes in each disorder relative to healthy control subjects. We found shared GM deficits in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) across both disorders relative to healthy control participants. These findings suggest that reduced volumes of the ACC across PTSD and AUD may have implications for the development, expression, or treatment of symptoms linked to these frequently co-existing disorders. Recommendations are made for future work aimed at delineating the specific and shared effects of traumatic stress and alcoholism on neural integrity.
Klaming, R., Harlé, K. M., Infante, M. A., Bomyea, J., Kim, C., & Spadoni, A. D. (2019). Shared gray matter reductions across alcohol use disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder in the anterior cingulate cortex: A dual meta-analysis. Neurobiology of Stress, 10, . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ynstr.2018.09.009