BACKGROUND: Inconsistent findings have been reported on the role of comorbid alcohol use disorders as risk factors for a persistent course of depressive and anxiety disorders.
AIMS: To determine whether the course of depressive and/or anxiety disorders is conditional on the type (abuse or dependence) or severity of comorbid alcohol use disorders.
METHOD: In a large sample of participants with current depression and/or anxiety (n = 1369) we examined whether the presence and severity of DSM-IV alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence predicted the 2-year course of depressive and/or anxiety disorders.
RESULTS: The persistence of depressive and/or anxiety disorders at the 2-year follow-up was significantly higher in those with remitted or current alcohol dependence (persistence 62% and 67% respectively), but not in those with remitted or current alcohol abuse (persistence 51% and 46% respectively), compared with no lifetime alcohol use disorder (persistence 53%). Severe (meeting six or seven diagnostic criteria) but not moderate (meeting three to five criteria) current dependence was a significant predictor as 95% of those in the former group still had a depressive and/or anxiety disorder at follow-up. This association remained significant after adjustment for severity of depression and anxiety, psychosocial factors and treatment factors.
CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol dependence, especially severe current dependence, is a risk factor for an unfavourable course of depressive and/or anxiety disorders, whereas alcohol abuse is not.
Bibliographical notePublished online: 02 January 2018
- Alcohol-Related Disorders/psychology
- Anxiety Disorders/etiology
- Chronic Disease
- Depressive Disorder/etiology
- Diagnosis, Dual (Psychiatry)
- Middle Aged
- Risk Factors
- Young Adult