Chapter

Recent Developments in Alcoholism

Volume 16 of the series Recent Developments in Alcoholism pp 361-374

Alcohol and Psychiatric Comorbidity

  • Jack R. CorneliusAffiliated withPittsburgh Adolescent Alcohol Research Center, Center for Education and Drug Abuse Research, University of Pittsburgh
  • , Oscar BuksteinAffiliated withPittsburgh Adolescent Alcohol Research Center, Center for Education and Drug Abuse Research, University of Pittsburgh
  • , Ihsan SalloumAffiliated withPittsburgh Adolescent Alcohol Research Center, Center for Education and Drug Abuse Research, University of Pittsburgh
  • , Duncan ClarkAffiliated withPittsburgh Adolescent Alcohol Research Center, Center for Education and Drug Abuse Research, University of Pittsburgh

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Abstract

Comorbid psychiatric disorders and drug use disorders (DUDs) are common among alcoholics (Regier, Farmer, Rae, Locke, Keith, Judd, & Goodwin, 1990; Kessler, McGonagle, Zhao, Nelson, Hughes, Eshleman, Wittchen, & Kendler, 1994). These comorbid disorders often predict a shorter time to relapse of alcoholism (Greenfield, Weiss, Muenz, Vagge, Kelly, Bello, & Michael, 1998). However, despite the prevalence and the adverse effects of this comorbidity, few controlled treatment studies have been conducted involving this dual diagnosis population (Litten & Allen, 1999). To date, most of these few studies of alcoholics with comorbid disorders have been restricted to studies of alcoholics with either comorbid major depression or comorbid anxiety disorders (Litten & Allen, 1995). The results of these trials suggest efficacy for SSRI antidepressants and tricyclic antidepressants for treating alcoholics with comorbid major depression and suggest efficacy for buspirone for treating alcoholics with comorbid anxiety disorders (Mason, Kocsis, Ritvo, & Cutler, 1996; Cornelius, Salloum, Ehler, Jarrett, Cornelius, Perel, Thase, & Black, 1997; Kranzler, Burleson, Del Boca, Babor, Korner, Brown, & Bohn, 1994). However, controlled treatment studies involving alcoholics with other comorbid disorders are almost totally lacking. Consequently, to date, no empirically proven treatment exists for most of these comorbid disorders.