Psychiatric disorders among at-risk consumers of alcohol in the general population

Karin Bott*, Christian Meyer, Hans Jürgen Rumpf, Ulfert Hapke, Ulrich John

*Corresponding author for this work
32 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: At-risk consumption of alcohol has increasingly become the focus of primary and secondary prevention efforts. Little is known about the co-occurrence of psychiatric disorders with at-risk drinking. We examined patterns of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, (DSM-IV) lifetime co-occurrence of psychiatric disorders in individuals in the general population with at-risk consumption of alcohol, alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence and moderate drinking/abstention, considering potential gender differences. Method: Cross-sectional data of a representative general population-based study were analyzed. Based on DSM-IV criteria, participants aged 18-64 (N = 4,074; 2,045 men) were diagnosed using a standardized computer-assisted version of the Munich Composite International Diagnostic Interview (M-CIDI). Nonpsychotic Axis-I lifetime diagnoses were examined. At-risk consumption of alcohol was defined as an average of more than 20 g (0.71 oz) pure alcohol consumption per day for women and 30 g (1.06 oz) for men, with alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence excluded. Results: Almost 9% of participants were identified as at-risk drinkers. Prevalence rates for at-risk drinkers were 16.9% for affective, 18.1% for anxiety and 17.8% for somatoform disorders. Compared with moderate drinkers/abstainers, atrisk drinkers showed a twofold increased risk of having a psychiatric disorder. Subjects with alcohol abuse showed a comparable level of risk and individuals with alcohol dependence showed an even greater risk. Female at-risk drinkers were twice as likely to have a psychiatric disorder as their male counterparts. The odds ratios for psychiatric disorders in at-risk drinkers compared with moderate drinkers/abstainers, however, did not differ in men and women. Conclusions: Rates of psychiatric co-occurrence among at-risk drinkers were considerably elevated when compared with moderate drinkers/abstainers. These findings underline the relevance of at-risk consumption of alcohol and represent an important challenge to public health efforts regarding screening of psychiatric disorders and referral to appropriate treatment services.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)246-253
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 03.2005

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


Dive into the research topics of 'Psychiatric disorders among at-risk consumers of alcohol in the general population'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this