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Alcohol, Anxiety, and Depressive Disorders.


Alcoholics frequently experience episodes of intense depression and/or severe anxiety. Depressed or anxious alcohol-dependent people often believe that they drink to relieve symptoms of sadness or nervousness. However, research does not unanimously support the prior existence of severe depressive or anxiety disorders as a usual cause of alcoholism. A review of recent literature (from family studies, prospective investigations, and studies of children of alcoholics) on the complex interaction between alcohol dependence and independent anxiety/depressive disorders reveals that if an association between alcoholism and anxiety/depressive disorders does exist, it likely operates in a relatively small subgroup of alcoholics at the same time. Psychological symptoms may carry a worse prognosis for alcohol-related problems, and these symptoms must be addressed early in alcoholism treatment.

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