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Relationships among independent major depressions, alcohol use, and other substance use and related problems over 30 years in 397 families

Marc A. Schuckit, Tom L. Smith, Jelger Kalmijn

Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 2013, Volume 74, pages 271–279

Editorial comment
There is ample evidence of important relationships between heavy drinking and mood changes as well as between alcohol use disorders and major depressive episodes. However, the mechanisms that underlie these relationships and the clinical implications of these syndromes are complex. The authors present data from a 30-year longitudinal study of almost 400 families where careful efforts were made to identify independent depressions separately from substance-induced depressions. The study showed a relatively high prevalence of alcohol-induced versus independent major depressive episodes in individuals with alcohol abuse or dependence (data collected from male probands). This finding is important to clinicians because the clinical course, overall prognoses, and optimal treatments for these induced conditions are different from independent depressive episodes.


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