Associations of common mental disorder with alcohol use in the adult general population: a systematic review and meta-analysis

JO-ANNE PUDDEPHATT*, Patricia Irizar, A Jones, S Gage, L Goodwin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Aims
Research has shown that alcohol use and common mental disorders (CMDs) co-occur; however, little is known about how the global prevalence of alcohol use compares across different CMDs. We aimed to (i) report global associations of alcohol use (alcohol use disorder (AUD), binge drinking and consumption) comparing those with and without a CMD, (ii) examine how this differed among those with and without specific types of CMDs and (iii) examine how results may differ by study characteristics.

We used a systematic review and meta-analysis. Cross-sectional, cohort, prospective, longitudinal and case–control studies reporting the prevalence of alcohol use among those with and without a CMD in the general population were identified using PsycINFO, MEDLINE, PsyARTICLES, PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science until March 2020. Depression, anxiety and phobia were included as a CMD. Studies were included if they used a standardized measure of alcohol use. A random-effects meta-analysis was conducted to generate pooled prevalence and associations of AUD with CMD with 95% confidence intervals (CI). A narrative review is provided for binge drinking and alcohol consumption

A total of 512 full-texts were reviewed, 51 included in our final review and 17 in our meta-analyses (n = 382 201). Individuals with a CMD had a twofold increase in the odds of reporting an AUD [odds ratio (OR) = 2.02, 95% CI = 1.72–2.36]. The odds of having an AUD were similar when stratified by the type of CMD (mood disorder: OR = 2.00, 95% CI = 1.62–2.47; anxiety/phobic disorder: OR = 1.94, 95% CI = 1.35–2.78). An analysis of study characteristics did not reveal any clear explanations for between-study heterogeneity (I2 > 80%). There were no clear patterns for associations between having a CMD and binge drinking or alcohol consumption, respectively.

People with common mental disorders (depression, anxiety, phobia) are twice as likely to report an alcohol use disorder than people without common mental disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1543-1572
Issue number117
Early online date2 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • alcohol
  • anxiety disorders
  • associations
  • comorbidity
  • epidemiology
  • mood disorders


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