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J Stud Alcohol. 2006 Sep;67(5):770-7.

Alcohol craving in outpatients with alcohol dependence: rate and clinical correlates.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55417, USA.



The present study was undertaken to assess the rate and severity of alcohol craving symptoms among registered alcohol-dependent patients at a Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic. We also examined the relationship between alcohol craving and the clinical characteristics of alcohol-dependent patients.


Participants included 101 alcohol-dependent veterans enrolled in an outpatient addiction clinic. Alcohol craving was measured by the Penn Alcohol Craving Scale. Alcoholism severity and clinical characteristics were assessed with the Addiction Severity Index, Timeline Followback method, and other instruments. Three alcohol-craving groups (low, moderate, and high) were identified and compared using their demographic and clinical characteristics. Multiple regression analysis was performed to evaluate the relationship between the potential predictors and alcohol craving.


The rate of alcohol craving was as follows: low craving (46%), moderate craving (29%), and high craving (25%). When these three craving groups were compared using univariate analyses, patients with higher alcohol craving had significantly higher alcohol composite scores (last 30 days) and severe alcohol dependence (last 1 year). In multiple regression analysis, the model explained 50% of the variance in alcohol craving, with alcoholism severity (42%), withdrawal symptoms (5%), and depression (3%) as significant predictors.


Patients in an outpatient treatment setting had a wide range of alcohol cravings. Level of alcohol craving was directly associated with several increased indices of alcohol- and non-alcohol-related morbidity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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