Correlates of Alcohol Use Among Anxious and Depressed Primary Care Patients

Published In: General Hospital Psychiatry, v. 28, no. 1, Jan.-Feb. 2006, p. 37-42

Posted on on July 28, 2016

by Joanna J. Arch, Michelle G. Craske, Murray Stein, Cathy D. Sherbourne, Peter Roy-Byrne

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The purpose of this study is to determine the patterns of alcohol use for primary care patients with anxiety disorders and/or major depression in three urban university-affiliated outpatient clinics.


A waiting room sample of adults was screened for anxiety disorders and major depression. Six hundred fourteen screened patients were assessed using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview [World Health Organization. Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) 2.1. Geneva: World Health Organization, 1997] and frequency-quantity alcohol use questions. Adjusted for age and gender, logistic regression analyses were used to determine associations between panic disorder, social phobia, PTSD, major depression and typical heavy (three drinks/two or more times a week) and frequent (four or more times a week) alcohol use.


Of the patients, 6.19% (38/614) reported typical heavy drinking and 8.31% (51/614) reported frequent drinking in the preceding 3 months. PTSD was associated with heavy drinking (adjusted OR=3.1; 95% CI, 1.3–7.3). Panic disorder was associated with frequent alcohol use (adjusted OR=2.2; 95% CI, 1.2–4.2) but reduced heavy drinking (adjusted OR=0.4; 95% CI, 0.2–0.9). There was no significant relationship between alcohol use and the co-occurrence of two or more anxiety and/or mood disorders.


In an examination of primary care patients diagnosed, the majority of whom were with at least one anxiety disorder and/or major depression; current heavy and frequent alcohol use was associated with specific individual anxiety disorders and/or major depression.

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