Sleep and the cholinergic rem sleep induction test in patients with primary alcoholism.

H. J. Gann*, A. Faulmann, A. Kiemen, T. Klein, D. Ebert, J. Backhaus, M. Hornyak, U. Voderholzer, F. Hohagen, M. Berger, D. Riemann

*Corresponding author for this work
9 Citations (Scopus)


Sleep disturbances of alcoholics while actively drinking and at the beginning of, and during, abstinence were frequently reported. Recently, Gillin et al. (1994) showed that a high "REM sleep pressure" at the time of admission to a 1-month inpatient alcohol treatment program predicted the relapse in nondepressed patients with primary alcoholism at 3 months following hospital discharge. We investigated 24 patients with primary alcoholism after 2-3 weeks abstinence in the sleep laboratory; in 15 of these patients the cholinergic REM sleep induction test (CRIT) with 10 mg galanthamine was performed additionally. In comparison with an age- and sex-matched healthy control group, patients had a heightened "REM sleep pressure" including shortened REM latency and increased REM density. A decrease of serotonergic neurotransmission is proposed as being the neurochemical mechanism to explain the results in alcoholic subjects. Follow-up investigations will clarify whether the sleep abnormalities in alcoholism are state- or trait-markers and whether they are suitable to predict the relapse risk.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSleep research online : SRO
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)92-95
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 1998

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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