CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY 2003 (PART 12B)

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CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY 2003 (PART 12B)

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Chronic consumption For benefits of chronic alcohol consumption, see page 187. Central nervous system. The development of dependence on alcohol appears to involve alterations in central nervous system neurotransmission. The acute effect of alcohol is to block NMDA receptors for which the normal agonist is glutamate, the main excitatory transmitter in the brain. Chronic exposure increases the number of NMDA receptors and also 'L type' calcium channels, while the action of the (inhibitory) GABA neurotransmitter is reduced. The resulting excitatory effects may explain the anxiety, insomnia and craving that accompanies sudden withdrawal of alcohol (and may explain why resumption of...

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