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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013 Dec 1;133(2):480-5. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2013.07.006. Epub 2013 Aug 1.

Vitamin D deficiency in alcohol-use disorders and its relationship to comorbid major depression: a cross-sectional study of inpatients in Nepal.

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  • 1Norwegian Centre for Addiction Research (SERAF), University of Oslo, N-0407 Oslo, Norway. Electronic address:



Mounting evidence suggests that deficiency of vitamin D may be associated with major health problems, including alcohol-use disorders (AUD) and major depression (MD). This study aimed to identify the vitamin D status of Nepalese inpatients with an AUD. We explored socio-demographic and alcohol-use related correlates and the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and comorbid MD.


A cross-sectional study was conducted on AUD inpatients (N=174) at eight alcohol/drug treatment centres around Kathmandu. Structured questionnaires were administered to assess the socio-demographic and alcohol-use parameters and to establish DSM-IV diagnoses of AUD and MD. Vitamin D deficiency was defined as a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration of <50 nmol/L.


The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was 64%. Higher age, having a stable job or business, shorter time since last alcohol intake and winter serum samples were related to having lower 25(OH)D levels. Several features of AUD severity were associated with low vitamin D levels: guilt about drinking, using alcohol as eye-opener, and history of relapse after alcohol treatment (p ≤ 0.03). Patients with a comorbid major depression, in particular secondarily depressed cases, were less likely to have vitamin D deficiency (X(2)=6.8; p=0.01).


This study confirms high rates of vitamin D deficiency in alcohol treatment sample and shows a positive association between vitamin D deficiency and severity of alcohol-use disorders. Competing risk and other confounders may help explain the vitamin D status among patients with alcohol-use disorders and comorbid major depression.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


Alcohol-use disorders; Comorbidity; Major depression; Nepal; Vitamin D deficiency

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