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Drug Alcohol Depend. 1995 Oct;39(3):197-206.

Comorbidity between DSM-IV alcohol use disorders and major depression: results of a national survey.

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  • 1Division of Biometry and Epidemiology, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Bethesda, MD 20892-7003, USA.


The purpose of this study was to describe detailed patterns of comorbidity between Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders--Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) alcohol use disorders and major depression using a representative sample of the United States. Comorbidity rates and associations between DSM-IV alcohol use disorders and major depression were expressed as odds ratios with confidence intervals adjusted for the complex design characteristics of the NLAES. Comorbidity analyses were presented by sex, ethnicity and age for past year, prior to past year and lifetime diagnoses. Virtually all odds ratios were significantly greater than 1.0, demonstrating that comorbidity of alcohol use disorders and major depression is pervasive in the general population. The magnitude of the association remained stable across the three time frames but diagnostic and subgroup variations in comorbidity were noted. The association between alcohol dependence and major depression was greater than the association between abuse and major depression and the association between alcohol abuse and major depression was consistently greater for females and blacks, compared to their male and non-black counterparts. Implications of the results are discussed in terms of professional help seeking, the self-medication hypothesis, and differential social control theory.

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