Home > Anxiety and depression among patients with alcohol dependence: co-morbid or substance-related problems?

Gallagher, C and Radmall, Z and O'Gara, C and Burke, T (2018) Anxiety and depression among patients with alcohol dependence: co-morbid or substance-related problems? Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine , 35 , (2) , pp. 121-126.

There are conflicting reports on the levels of anxiety and depression in individuals with alcohol problems and whether these conditions are substance-related or independent of the alcohol problem. The aim of this study was to characterise rates of co-morbid psychiatric symptoms among a group of individuals commencing treatment for alcohol dependence, and to examine the stability of these symptoms following treatment of the alcohol problem.

Symptoms of anxiety and depression were examined in a group of individuals (n=93) undergoing residential treatment for alcohol dependence. Symptoms were measured at treatment entry and again at treatment completion using the Beck Anxiety Inventory and the Beck Depression Inventory – II. High levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms were reported at treatment entry, but on completion of treatment (28 days later) the majority of participants were no longer reporting symptoms suggestive of a possible co-morbid condition.

The significant change in rates of reported symptoms following completion of treatment suggests that a large proportion of symptoms reported at treatment entry were substance related. Diagnosing co-morbid conditions is best left until after a period of abstinence during which the alcohol problem has been treated. Assessing for co-morbidity at time of treatment seeking is likely to result in inappropriate co-morbid diagnoses being made and inappropriate or unnecessary treatments being prescribed for such individuals.

Item Type:Article
Page Range:pp. 121-126
Related URLs:
Subjects:B Substances > Alcohol
F Concepts in psychology > Emotion (anxiety, emotional pain)
G Health and disease > State of health > Mental health
G Health and disease > Substance related disorder > Dual diagnosis (comorbidity)
G Health and disease > Substance use disorder > Alcohol use > Alcohol dependence
G Health and disease > Substance related disorder > Substance related mental disorder
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Care by type of problem > Mental health care
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland

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