Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Stud Alcohol. 2000 Jan;61(1):111-20.

Drinking patterns among individuals with and without DSM-IV alcohol use disorders.

Author information

  • 1Division of Biometry and Epidemiology, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-7003, USA.



The purpose of this study was to compare alcohol consumption patterns among individuals with and without alcohol use disorders, using a representative sample of the general population that would not exaggerate differences as a result of selection biases associated with treatment for alcohol problems.


Based on data from 18,352 past-year drinkers selected from a nationally representative sample of U.S. households, 11 measures of past-year alcohol consumption were compared for three diagnostic groups: (1) individuals who did not meet the criteria for either alcohol abuse or dependence, i.e., those without a DSM-IV alcohol use disorder (AUD); (2) those classified with abuse only; and (3) those classified with alcohol dependence, with or without abuse.


For all measures reflecting frequency and quantity of drinking, frequency of heavy drinking and intoxication, and frequency of atypical temporal drinking patterns, the values for abusers lay midway between those for individuals without an AUD and those with dependence. Individuals with alcohol use disorders drank a greater proportion of their ethanol intake in the form of beer and a lower proportion in the form of wine than did those without an AUD. Of all the consumption measures considered, frequency of intoxication showed the strongest association with the probability of having an AUD, followed by frequency of drinking 5 + drinks, prevalence of morning drinking and total volume of intake. The ratios of consumption measures for individuals with disorders relative to those without an AUD showed relatively little significant variation across demographic subgroups of the population.


The findings supported the distinction between the disorders of alcohol abuse and dependence, and implicated loss of control as an important element of this distinction. They also indicated that even among individuals with alcohol use disorders, demographic differentials reflecting cultural, physiological and normative forces were maintained and should be considered in approaches to treatment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Dartmouth Journal Services
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk