Depression and Anxiety among Alcoholics and Non-Alcoholics

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Abstract Alcohol is one of the most widely used drug substances in the world. For many people, drinking alcohol is nothing more than a pleasant way to relax. People with alcohol use disorders, however, drink to excess, endangering both themselves and others.  In the mental health area alcoholism is caused mostly by depression, anxiety and stress, on the other hand it also leads to depression and stress. The present study aims to compare depression and anxiety among alcoholics and non- alcoholics. It was assumed that depression and anxiety may be the risk factors for alcoholism. A sample of 100 people (50 alcoholics and 50 non-alcoholics) was randomly selected from Delhi. Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) were used to collect data on depression and anxiety. t-test was administered to compare two groups. The result of the study showed that alcoholic group was higher on depression as well as anxiety than the non alcoholic group, and it was also found that there is no clear cut casual relationship between alcoholism and depression and anxiety.

Alcoholism is perhaps most strongly associated with antisocial personality disorder and drug abuse, but its relationship to other forms of psychopathology has become increasingly evident. In particular, investigations of alcoholic samples indicate a strong co-occurrence of alcoholism with diverse form of anxiety and depressive disorder (Barbor et al, 1992; Chambless et al, 1987; Hasegawa 1991; keller 1994; Nunes, Quitkin & Berman, 1988; Penick, 1994; Schuckit, Irwin & Brown, 1990). ______________________________________________________________________ *Associate professor, Deptt. Of Psychology, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh **Research scholar, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh.

According to Nijhawan (1972) Anxiety, one of the most pervasive psychological phenomenons of the modern era refers to a “persistent distressing psychological state arising from an inner conflict”. Depression can be defined as “a state of mind, or more specifically, a mental disorder, characterized by lowering of the individual’s vitality, his mood, his desires, hopes, aspirations and of his self-esteem. It may range from no more than a mild feeling of tiredness and sadness to the most profound state of apathy with complete, psychotic disregard for reality.” (Mendelssohn, 1963). Alcoholism can lead people into serious trouble, and can be physically and mentally destructive. Currently alcohol use is involved in half of all crimes, murders, accidental deaths, and suicides. There are also many health problems associated with alcohol use such as brain damage, cancer, heart disease, diseases of the liver, depression anxiety and other mental disorders.  Results from community surveys and epidemiologic samples indicate that substantial comorbidity also exists for depression, anxiety and alcoholism in the general population (Regier et al, 1990; Helzer & Pryzbeck, 1988; Kendler et al, 1995). The high co-occurrence of these syndromes, therefore, represents a significant clinical and public health issue that is likely to affect a substantial proportion of the general population.

Although the comorbidity of alcoholism with anxiety and depressive disorders has been extensively documented in both clinical and epidemiologic investigations, the specific mechanisms underlying these associations remain a source of debate. One widely accepted hypothesis is that these forms of comorbidity reflect a causal relationship of alcoholism with anxiety and depression. Support for a causal association is based partly on observations that alcohol is commonly used to self- medicate symptoms of negative affect, and so, alcoholism often develops as a secondary diagnosis to anxiety and depression (Meyer...
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