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Alcoholics More Likely to Have Personality Disorders

Even More Prevalent in Drug Addicts

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Updated November 05, 2013

The prevalence of personality disorders among patients with alcohol and drug use disorders is significant in the United States population, according to an article in the April 2004 issue of The Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Very little information is available on the co-occurrence of different personality disorders (PDs) and alcohol and drug use disorders in the U.S. population, according to background information in the article. Therefore, Bridget F. Grant, Ph.D., of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Bethesda, Md., and colleagues investigated this issue.

The researchers used data collected during interviews conducted as part of the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions . Respondents to the survey were 18 years and older, and lived in the United States.

The prevalence rates of any alcohol or drug use disorder for the previous year were 8.5 percent, and 2.0 percent, respectively. The researchers found that among individuals with a current alcohol use disorder, 28.6 percent had at least 1 personality disorder, and 47.7 percent of those with a current drug use disorder had at least 1 personality disorder. personality disorders and alcohol and drug use disorders were significantly associated, the researchers write.

Individuals with alcohol use disorders were almost five times as likely to have antisocial personality disorder or histrionic personality disorder, and were three times as likely to have a dependent personality disorder. Individuals with drug use disorders were 11 times more likely to have antisocial personality disorder and dependent personality disorder, and eight times as likely to have histrionic personality disorder.

The researchers also found that associations between obsessive-compulsive, histrionic, schizoid, and antisocial personality disorders and specific alcohol and drug use disorders were significantly stronger among women than men, whereas the association between dependent personality disorder and drug dependence were significantly greater among men than women.

"The co-occurrence of personality disorders with alcohol and drug use disorders is pervasive in the U.S. population," write the authors. "Results highlight the need for further research on the underlying structure of these disorders and the treatment implications of these disorders when comorbid [when they occur together]."

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