Co-occurring alcohol use disorder and major depression (C-ALDP) is a major public health problem. Yet, the available evidence is mixed regarding the implications of C-ALDP for alcohol involvement. The purpose of this research was to examine the associations between past 12-month co-occurring AUDs (abuse and dependence) and major depressive episode (MDE) and alcohol involvement in a representative community sample.
The National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) is a national household survey of 43,083 adults ages 18 and older. For the NESARC, the target population is the civilian noninstitutionalized population, 18 years of age and older, living in the United States and the District of Columbia.
All NESARC interviews were conducted with the Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule – DSM IV Version (AUDADIS-IV; Grant et al., 2003).
Prevalence of past 12-month co-occurring AUD (abuse or dependence) and MDE was 1.2%, corresponding to about 2.4 million adults ages 18 and older. Among males with alcohol dependence, comorbid MDE was associated with a greater number of days drinking at home alone. Among females and males with alcohol abuse and dependence, comorbid MDE was associated with higher prevalence of drinking to enhance depressed mood. Comorbid MDE was also associated with lower levels of some drinking behaviors among those with alcohol abuse.
Co-occurring AUDs and MDE are associated with specific dimensions of alcohol involvement, and this association is more consistent for alcohol dependence than abuse.
Keywords: Comorbidity, Alcohol Use Disorders, Major Depressive Episode, Solitary Drinking, Affect Regulation