The co-occurrence of DSM-IV alcohol abuse in DSM-IV alcohol dependence: results of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions on heterogeneity that differ by population subgroup.

Division of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
Archives of General Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 13.75). 10/2004; 61(9):891-6. DOI: 10.1001/archpsyc.61.9.891
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In DSM-IV, an alcohol abuse diagnosis is preempted by dependence, although the symptoms of each disorder are different. Consequently, little is known about the extent to which dependence occurs with or without abuse. The distinction is important because of potential heterogeneity in dependence as a phenotype in genetic research, as well as potential underestimation of alcohol dependence when surveys cover dependence symptoms only among those who screen positive for alcohol abuse.
To present the prevalence of DSM-IV alcohol dependence with and without alcohol abuse in national and population subgroups.
Face-to-face interviews.
The United States, including Alaska, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia.
Household and group-quarters residents, 18 years and older, in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (N = 42 392).
DSM-IV alcohol dependence with and without DSM-IV alcohol abuse, assessed with the Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule.
Among respondents with current alcohol dependence, 33.7% did not additionally meet criteria for abuse (29.0% among men and 46.1% among women). Current dependence without abuse was especially common among minority women (48.5% among African Americans, 55.2% among Hispanics). Among respondents with lifetime diagnoses of dependence, 13.9% did not additionally meet criteria for abuse (10.1% among men, 22.1% among women): proportions were highest among minorities, eg, 29.1% among Hispanic women and 19.2% among Hispanic men.
Alcohol abuse does not always accompany alcohol dependence in the general population, especially among women and minorities. Dependence with and without abuse may represent heterogeneous phenotypes for genetic research. Use of alcohol abuse as a screening method for alcohol dependence in large epidemiologic studies will differentially underestimate the prevalence of dependence by subgroup, affecting time trend and comorbidity research. Such underestimation may also perpetuate a lack of services for traditionally underserved groups.

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