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Br J Psychiatry. 1984 Jan;144:58-63.

Alcohol dependence and phobic anxiety states. II. A retrospective study.


Twenty-four hospitalised problem drinkers who were currently suffering from a phobic anxiety state served as subjects for this study. Each was given a detailed retrospective interview concerned with the development over time of both their alcohol dependence and phobic problems. The test-retest and inter-rater reliabilities of the data collected were found to be high. In accordance with previous experimental work, periods of heavy drinking and dependence upon alcohol were associated with an exacerbation of agoraphobia and social phobias. Subsequent periods of abstinence were associated with substantial improvements in these phobic anxiety states. It is suggested that both learning and psychobiological processes underly these observed relationships and that the implications of this finding for treatment of both disorders should be explored.

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