Understanding alcohol use disorders and their treatment

As we have shown in this Series paper, alcohol use disorder co-occurs with a wide range of other psychiatric disorders. This disorder is most commonly comorbid with disorders on the externalising spectrum, including substance use disorders, nicotine dependence, antisocial personality disorder, and other disorders characterised by unconstrained and socially unadjusted behaviour. Mechanisms that explain comorbidity remain under investigation, but generally involve both common liability (eg, genetic and environmental https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/how-long-does-alcohol-stay-in-your-system-blood-and-urine/ underpinnings), and reinforcing and reciprocal direct causal relationships. With regard to unpredictability and being dangerous, alcohol-dependent persons ranked similarly or worse than people suffering from schizophrenia, and much worse than people suffering from depression (Table 2). In the UK survey in 1998, 71% rated an alcoholic to be unpredictable, and 65% to be a danger to others. No significant changes of the public’s view on alcohol-dependent persons were observed 5 years later (Crisp et al., 2005).

  • Injection drug use is the major source of hepatitis C infection in the United States.
  • Consequently, it should not be surprising that there is a high rate of comorbidity between addiction and other mental illnesses.
  • A 2020 review of research found that CBT allowed people with AUD to build coping and emotional regulation skills.
  • Once detox is complete, a person will be able to enter an inpatient or outpatient treatment program to continue their recovery journey.

Numerous studies found high rates of comorbid AUDs in patients suffering from bipolar disorders. The Epidemiological Catchment Area Study, conducted in the USA, found that bipolar patients have a 46 % lifetime prevalence is alcohol use disorder a mental illness of AUDs [29]. The National Comorbidity Study, also conducted in the USA, revealed that patients with a diagnosis of alcohol dependence during their life have higher risk of developing comorbid mania [8].

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On the other hand, patients with AUDs multiply by 10 their risk to develop social anxiety disorders as compared to persons without AUDs [8]. Anxiety disorders can also appear in alcohol-dependent patients during specific periods of withdrawal [21, 22] in which patients cite that relapse provides relief from these anxious symptoms thanks to the anxiolytic properties of alcohol. Posttraumatic stress disorders (PTSDs) that may appear after life-threatening events (war, car accident, sexual aggression) have also been extensively investigated in the past 15 years.

In 2017, CDC reports 9.3 percent of all new HIV infections occur among injection drug users. Contributors to this article for the NIAAA Core Resource on Alcohol include the writers for the full article, reviewers, and editorial staff. These contributors included both experts external to NIAAA as well as NIAAA staff. More resources for a variety of healthcare professionals can be found in the Additional Links for Patient Care. It is important to realize that while some individuals are open and honest about their well-being, others may deny having a problem at all.

Bipolar Disorder

Those with an alcohol use disorder often center activities around alcohol, need to consume increasingly greater amounts of alcohol to achieve the desired effect and have withdrawal symptoms when drinking stops. Medical treatment of drug addictions and alcoholism involves several evidence-based approaches. Treatment centers develop a customized plan for each patient depending on the severity of the alcohol use disorder and the presence of another co-occurring disorder. Environmental factors influencing alcoholism are also taken into account.

Alcohol Use Disorder and Other Mental Illnesses

There are many mental health conditions that can co-occur with alcohol abuse. Some of the most common conditions include depression, bipolar disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Each mental illness affects alcoholism in a different way, depending on the longevity and severity of the disorder.

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