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J Clin Psychiatry. 1994 Mar;55(3):109-13.

Correlates and outcomes of alcohol use disorder among rural outpatients with schizophrenia.

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Division of Demonstration Programs, Center for Mental Health Services, Rockville, MD 20857.



The use of alcohol by persons with schizophrenia is common and has been associated with increased severity of psychiatric symptoms, multiple psychosocial problems, abuse of other drugs, and poor treatment outcomes. Most of the previous research in this area has been with urban patients.


The authors examined the correlates and outcomes of alcohol use in a rural sample of 75 DSM-III-R outpatients with schizophrenia. Based on multiple measures, 25% (N = 19) of 75 rural patients with schizophrenia were diagnosed with current co-occurring alcohol use disorders. Clinicians' ratings and self-reported symptoms were used to examine correlates of alcohol use, and the study group was followed prospectively for 1 year to identify all episodes of rehospitalization, incarceration, or literal homelessness.


Alcohol use disorder was statistically significantly associated with unstable housing, conceptual disorganization, denial of mental illness, and rehospitalization during 1-year follow-up. Several trends suggested that alcohol use was also related to positive symptoms of psychosis.


Among rural patients with schizophrenia, alcohol use appears to play a significant role in destabilizing psychosocial adjustment. These results replicate similar findings in urban settings.

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