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J Stud Alcohol. 1988 Sep;49(5):412-7.

Changes in depression among abstinent alcoholics.

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Veterans Administration Medical Center, San Diego, California 92161.


The rate and pattern of change in depressive symptoms among male primary alcoholics (no preexisting major psychiatric disorder) were studied throughout inpatient treatment for alcoholism. A sample of 191 alcoholics was interviewed with the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale within 48 hours of admission and again at each of the 4 weeks of treatment. Results indicate that 42% of alcoholics have clinically significant levels of depression (Hamilton greater than or equal to 20) at intake but only 6% remain clinically depressed at Week 4. Depressive symptoms of alcoholics abate quickly with the largest reduction in scores at Week 2. Mood related symptoms constitute the largest portion of presenting depression and abate most rapidly. Vegetative symptoms remain the most prevalent type of depressive symptom at discharge. Results suggest that antidepressant medication should not be considered prior to 4 weeks of abstinence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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