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Drug Alcohol Depend. 1998 Nov 1;52(3):201-9.

The comorbidity of alcohol dependence and affective disorders: treatment implications.

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  • 1National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.


This paper reviews recent literature on the prevalence of alcohol dependence and affective disorders (major depression, dysthymia), the comorbidity of these conditions and the effects of comorbid affective disorders on the outcome of treatment for alcohol dependence. Alcohol dependence and affective disorders co-occur at significantly higher rates than would be expected by chance within the general population. This comorbidity is further elevated in samples of people seeking treatment for alcohol dependence, suggesting that the co-occurrence of affective disorders may be an important determinant of treatment seeking. The results of a number of recent placebo-controlled studies have suggested that pharmacological treatment with anti-depressants may enhance the efficacy of treatment for alcohol dependence in individuals with comorbid affective disorders.

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