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May 1991

Mental Disorders Among Alcoholics: Relationship to Age of Onset and Cerebrospinal Fluid Neuropeptides

Author Affiliations

From the Laboratory of Clinical Studies, Division of Intramural Clinical and Biological Research, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1991;48(5):423-427. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1991.01810290035006

• Eighty-one percent of 339 alcoholics participating in a research program were found to have associated mental disorders. Alcoholics with onset of heavy drinking before 20 years of age had significantly more antisocial personality traits, drug abuse, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, suicide attempts, and paternal alcoholism than alcoholics with onset after age 20 years. Alcoholics with onset before and after 20 years of age also differed significantly from each other for cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of diazepam-binding inhibitor and somatostatin. These results support the notion that age of onset may delineate subgroups of alcoholics with significant clinical and neurochemical differences.

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