The relationship between alcoholism and anxiety disorders is complex and has been the subject of much investigation. While data from community samples as well as samples of treatment-seeking populations indicate that these disorders co-occur far more commonly than would be expected by chance, the nature of the relationship is unclear. It is clear from both prevalence as well as order of onset data that various anxiety disorders have differing associations with alcohol problems. There is much overlap in symptomatology of panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and alcohol withdrawal. This observation has led to speculation about common neurochemical perturbations and a kindling phenomenon as a possible connection between these disorders. Cognitive theories have been used to connect alcohol abuse and phobic disorders. Treatment of patients with co-morbid anxiety and alcoholism is discussed.
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