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Treatment seeking and barriers to treatment for alcohol use in persons with alcohol use disorders and comorbid mood or anxiety disorders

Abstract

Purpose

This study compared the prevalence and patterns of treatment seeking and barriers to alcohol treatment among individuals with alcohol use disorders (AUD) with and without comorbid mood or anxiety disorders.

Methods

We used data from the national epidemiologic survey on alcohol and related conditions to examine alcohol treatment seeking, treatment settings and providers, perceived unmet need for treatment and barriers to such treatment. Our sample consisted of 5,003 individuals with AUD with a comorbid mood or anxiety disorder and 6,734 individuals with AUD but without mood or anxiety disorder comorbidity.

Results

The group with mood or anxiety disorder comorbidity was more likely to seek alcohol treatment than the group without such comorbidity (18 vs. 12 %, p < 0.001). The comorbid group was also more likely to perceive an unmet need for such treatment (8 vs. 3 %, p < 0.001) and to report a larger number of barriers (2.81 vs. 2.20, p = 0.031). Individuals with AUD with comorbid mood or anxiety disorders were more likely than those without to report financial barriers to alcohol treatment (19 vs. 10 %, p = 0.032).

Conclusions

Individuals with AUD and comorbid mood or anxiety disorders would likely benefit from the expansion of financial access to alcohol treatments and integration of services envisioned under the Affordable Care Act.

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Acknowledgments

This study was supported in part by funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA030460-02 and T32DA007292) and from National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (AA016346).

Conflict of interest

Dr. Mojtabai has received consulting fees from Lundbeck pharmaceuticals in the past 3 years. Other authors report no conflict of interest.

Author information

Correspondence to Christopher N. Kaufmann.

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Kaufmann, C.N., Chen, L., Crum, R.M. et al. Treatment seeking and barriers to treatment for alcohol use in persons with alcohol use disorders and comorbid mood or anxiety disorders. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 49, 1489–1499 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-013-0740-9

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Keywords

  • Substance use services
  • Alcohol use disorders
  • Barriers
  • Perceived need