Respuestas autonómicas reducidas ante estímulos emocionales en el alcoholismo: la relevancia de la impulsividad

Martina Carmona-Perera, Xavier Sumarroca-Hernández, Angelina Santolaria-Rossell, Miguel Pérez-García, Gustavo A. Reyes del Paso


La dependencia al alcohol está asociada con anormalidades en el procesamiento de las emociones y comportamientos impulsivos en la búsqueda de alcohol. Sin embargo, pocos estudios han analizado las respuestas emocionales hacia estímulos motivacionalmente relevantes en personas dependientes al alcohol usando medidas tanto autonómicas como subjetivas. En este estudio se analizó la tasa cardiaca (TC), la conductancia de la piel (CP) y las respuestas subjetivas a estímulos emocionales cotidianos en individuos dependientes al alcohol, y su asociación con la impulsividad y el consumo de alcohol. La TC y la CP fueron registradas en 28 participantes dependientes al alcohol y en 31 participantes sanos durante la visualización pasiva de imágenes emocionales placenteras, desagradables y neutras. Posteriormente, los participantes evaluaron valencia, activación y dominancia de las imágenes y completaron la Escala de Impulsividad de Barratt. Los participantes dependientes mostraron respuestas reducidas en TC y CP, tanto hacia las imágenes emocionales positivas como negativas. En el caso de la CP, estas respuestas se asociaron a la impulsividad. Los participantes dependientes al alcohol mostraron una disociación entre las respuestas fisiológicas y subjetivas, con unas respuestas autonómicas disminuidas y unas respuestas subjetivas normales. Estos resultados sugieren que los individuos dependientes al alcohol tienen problemas en utilizar el feedback fisiológico emocional al responder a estímulos emocionales relevantes, y proporcionan una evidencia inicial de la contribución de la impulsividad a los déficits de procesamiento emocional en esta población. Estos resultados son congruentes con el papel clave que juega la experiencia emocional y la impulsividad en el abuso de sustancias.

Palabras clave

Dependencia al alcohol; Respuestas autonómicas; Rxperiencia emocional; Impulsividad; Tasa cardíaca; Conductancia de la piel.

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