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Alcohol Alcohol. 2002 Nov-Dec;37(6):609-12.

Anxiety as a predictor of relapse in detoxified alcohol-dependent patients.

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  • 1Department of General Psychiatry, University Hospital for Psychiatry, Vienna and University of Economics, Vienna, Austria.



To evaluate the impact of mood, affect, and personality on predicting relapse in detoxified alcohol-dependent patients to uncontrolled drinking during a 1-year treatment study.


A total of 521 patients with a DSM-III-R diagnosis of alcohol dependence, excluding those with major depressive disorder, took part in a European multicentre study (11 centres in the United Kingdom, Irish Republic, Switzerland, and Austria). Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Hamilton Depression Scale, whereas symptoms of anxiety were measured using the 'STAI-X2' of the self-rating scale State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and personality traits were measured by the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire.


High anxiety as a stable trait, and personality traits such as high novelty seeking and low harm avoidance covering exploratory excitability, impulsiveness, extravagance, disorderliness and uninhibited optimism, predicted relapse.


These measures could have a direct clinical application for predicting relapse to uncontrolled drinking in male and female detoxified alcohol-dependent patients. The findings indicate the importance of additional therapeutic treatment.

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