Cycles of alcohol and stress are hypothesized to contribute to alcohol use disorders. How this occurs is poorly understood, although both alcohol and stress activate the neuroimmune system – the immune molecules and cells that interact with the nervous system. The effects of alcohol and stress on the neuroimmune system are mediated in part by peripheral signaling molecules.
Coping strategies have been associated with differential stress responsivity, perhaps providing a valuable neurobiological marker for susceptibility to the emergence of depressogenic symptoms or vulnerability to other anxiety-related disorders. Rats profiled with a flexible coping phenotype, for example, exhibit increased neurobiological markers of emotional regulation compared to active and passive copers (Bardi et al., 2012; Lambert et al., 2014).