The Ring of Fire and Alcohol Induced Violencegreenspun.com : LUSENET : Unk's Wild Wild West : One Thread
The Ring of Fire and
Alcohol Induced Violence
20-year-old single male, who often became violent when he drank alcohol, even though he reported that alcohol made him feel better. From the age of 18 to 20 he was arrested 10 times for violent, aggressive behavior, all while he was intoxicated. The arrests were mostly for drunk and disorderly in public, one was for assault his girlfriend, and the last one, which precipitated the study, was for armed robbery.
On the night of the last crime this man started drinking about 10:00 PM. He drank 750 milliliters of peach schnapps within a half-hour followed by 40 ounces of malt liquor beer the next half-hour. He then "drag raced" a friend on the street and became involved in a motor vehicle accident. He fled the scene on foot. A short while later he called a taxicab. He had the cab driver drive him and a friend around for about 20 minutes. At exactly 12:10 AM he pointed a loaded gun at the cab driver's head and demanded all his money. He got $25 and ran away on foot. The next morning, after sobering up, he turned himself into the police.
At the request of his defense attorney SPECT imaging was performed. Since he seemed to only be aggressive when he drank alcohol he was imaged with and without alcohol. The first SPECT study was performed "drug and alcohol" free. The second study was performed after he consumed 750 milliliters of peach schnapps, followed by 40 ounces of malt liquor beer (the alcohol was the same brand he drank on the night of the crime consumed in the same time frame).
The "non-alcohol" study revealed marked overactivity in the cingulate gyrus, right and left frontal lobes, right and left parietal lobes and the right temporal lobe - the "ring of fire." As noted, these findings are often associated with anxiety, cyclic mood tendencies and irritability.
For the alcohol study, his blood alcohol level was 0.2g/dl(%). This study showed an overall dampening effect on the hyperactive areas of the brain (frontal, parietal and right temporal lobe), with only the cingulate gyrus showing excessive activity (although significantly less activity than on the non-alcohol study). In addition, the right and left prefrontal cortex was now significantly underactive, as were the left and right temporal lobes.
Given the marked hyperactivity in his brain in a drug and alcohol free state, along with his report that he felt more relaxed when he drank, it is not unreasonable to assume he may have been using alcohol as a way to settle down his brain and feel more comfortable (self-medication). Unfortunately, by self-medicating, he was inducing a "violent" pattern in his brain. Increased cingulate activity, abnormal left temporal lobe activity and decreased prefrontal cortex activity is the triad of symptoms that have been found in violent patients. He drank himself into a violent state as a way to medicate underlying abnormalities in his brain.
Alcohol Intoxicated State
-- Cherri (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 01, 2001