Addiction, not surprisingly, behaves like other mental disorders. No one is too shocked when a patient with a history of major depression develops a new episode. The same is true of alcoholism: it often follows a relapsing-remitting course characterized by partial remission.
Alcoholism and anxiety go hand in hand. The extent of this comorbidity is clear from the numbers: as many as 45% of patients with alcohol disorders meet diagnostic criteria for a co-occurring anxiety disorder.
Over 20 years ago, at the time of planning for DSM-IV, alcohol abuse was thought to be a milder form of alcohol dependence, or perhaps even something separate involving more episodic, as opposed to daily or near daily, drinking. However, new research has proven this is not so.
Dr. Aiken is the Editor in Chief of The Carlat Psychiatry Report; director of the Mood Treatment Center in North Carolina, where he maintains a private practice combining medication and therapy along with evidence-based complementary and alternative treatments; and Assistant Professor NYU Langone Department of Psychiatry. He has worked as a research assistant at the NIMH and a sub-investigator on clinical trials, and conducts research on a shoestring budget out of his private practice. Follow him on Twitter and find him on LinkedIn.