Unhealthy Drinking Habits Seen With Some Psychiatric Disorders

People with depression, anxiety disorder, or bulimia more likely to exceed daily, weekly alcohol limits

FRIDAY, Nov. 6, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Patients with anxiety disorder, depression, and bulimia nervosa who drink alcohol are likely to exceed recommended limits, according to a study published online Nov. 5 in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Vanessa A. Palzes, M.P.H., from Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, and colleagues assessed unhealthy alcohol use among individuals with psychiatric disorders in primary care using electronic medical record data from 2,720,231 adult primary care patients (53 percent female; 48 percent White; mean age, 46 years) screened for unhealthy alcohol use between 2014 and 2017.

The researchers found that patients with psychiatric disorders (except eating disorders) had lower odds of reporting low-risk and unhealthy alcohol use versus no use. There were 861,427 patients reporting any alcohol use, and among these patients, those with depression and anxiety disorder had higher odds of exceeding only weekly limits and both daily and weekly limits, respectively. Patients with bulimia nervosa were also more likely to exceed both daily and weekly alcohol limits.

“Health systems and clinicians may wish to consider implementing more robust screening, assessment, and intervention approaches to support these vulnerable subgroups in limiting their drinking,” the authors write.

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