Examining the alcohol-related consequences of adult drinkers who self-report medicating low mood with alcohol: an analysis of the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions survey data.

Rachel McHugh, Orla McBride

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to examine the alcohol-related consequences experienced by adults who experienced a two-week period of low mood and identify as a ‘self-mediator’ compared to those who do not. Our focus is on assessing whether the conceptualization of alcohol use disorder severity differs across adult drinkers who self-medicate with alcohol during a period of low mood, compared to those who do not. This study used secondary data from the NESARC survey. The analytic sample consisted of 5945 participants who answered questions from the alcohol abuse/dependence (alcohol experiences) section, in the last 12 months. The sample was split into four groups by whether they self-medicated with alcohol or not, and drank alcohol in the last year and their drinking class. The findings indicated that a one factor model was the best fit and all items were a strong indicator of alcohol use disorder. The two-parameter model had the best fit, indicating that the diagnostic criteria were placed as a good fit along a continuum of severity. It was revealed that the hazardous drinking group who self-medicated, experienced more consequences even at low levels of severity. As the self-medicating hazardous drinking group also showed the highest estimates for alcohol use disorder severity, this may indicate that this group are high functioning self-medicators who are trying to regulate their drinking, and may not be as clinically high risk as expected, due to their drinking patterns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-15
JournalAlcohol
Volume94
Early online date3 Apr 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021

Keywords

  • self-medication
  • alcohol
  • depression
  • drinking patterns

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