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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 39 (1997) 5, 375 - 387

Short report

Alcohol and anxiety

E. de Beurs, R. van Dyck, W. van den Brink, M. Bosman

An overview of the literature on the comorbidity of alcohol dependence and anxiety is presented. High rates of comorbidity between these disorders suggest a link between them. Research data further indicate that the onset of phobic disorders usually precedes alcohol dependence, whereas Generalized Anxiety Disorder follows the onset of alcohol dependence. Family studies reveal a relation between anxiety and alcoholism as well, with the offspring of anxiety disorder patients having a greater risk of developing alcohol dependence. The article concludes with recommendations for research into the interplay of alcoholism and anxiety and urges to develop specific treatments for patients who suffer from alcohol dependence which is complicated by a comorbid anxiety disorder.