Onset of Alcohol Use Disorders and Comorbid Psychiatric Disorders in a Military Cohort: Are there Critical Periods for Prevention of Alcohol Use Disorders? Academic Article uri icon


  • Alcohol use disorders (AUD) are commonly comorbid with anxiety and mood disorders; however, a strategy for AUD prevention remains unclear in the presence of three competing etiological models that each recommends different high-risk groups. Therefore, the investigation of the three hypotheses in a characteristically unique cohort is critical to identifying pervasive characteristics of AUD that can inform a universal prevention strategy. The current study evaluated the temporality and onset of comorbid AUD and psychiatric disorders in a representative sample of 528 Ohio Army National Guard soldiers using structured clinical interviews from 2009 to 2012. We examined temporality both statistically and graphically to identify patterns that could inform prevention. General estimating equations with dichotomous predictor variables were used to estimate odds ratios between comorbid psychiatric disorders and AUDs. An annualized rate of 13.5 % persons per year was diagnosed with any AUD between 2010 and 2012. About an equal proportion of participants with comorbid psychiatric disorders and AUD initiated the psychiatric disorder prior to the AUD and half initiated the psychiatric disorder after the AUD. Regardless of onset, however, the majority (80 %) AUD initiated during a short interval between the ages of 16 and 23. Focused primary prevention during this narrow age range (16-23 years) may have the greatest potential to reduce population mental health burden of AUD, irrespective of the sequencing of comorbid psychiatric disorder.

altmetric score

  • 6.6

author list (cited authors)

  • Fink, D. S., Gallaway, M. S., Tamburrino, M. B., Liberzon, I., Chan, P., Cohen, G. H., ... Galea, S.

citation count

  • 12

publication date

  • December 2015