JOURNAL ARTICLE

Prospective follow-up of empirically derived Alcohol Dependence subtypes in wave 2 of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol And Related Conditions (NESARC): recovery status, alcohol use disorders and diagnostic criteria, alcohol consumption behavior, health status, and treatment seeking

Howard B Moss, Chiung M Chen, Hsiao-Ye Yi
Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research 2010, 34 (6): 1073-83
20374206

BACKGROUND: We have previously reported on an empirical classification of Alcohol Dependence (AD) individuals into subtypes using nationally representative general population data from the 2001 to 2002 Wave 1 of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) and latent class analysis. Our results suggested a typology of 5 separate clusters based upon age of onset of AD, multigenerational familial AD, rates of antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), endorsement of specific AD and Alcohol Abuse (AA) criteria, and the presence of comorbid mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders (SUD). In this report, we focus on the clinical follow-up of these cluster members in Wave 2 of the NESARC (2004 to 2005).

METHODS: The mean interval between NESARC Wave 1 and NESARC Wave 2 interviews was 36.6 (SD = 2.6) months. For these analyses, we utilized a Wave 2 NESARC sample that was comprised of a total of 1,172 individuals who were initially ascertained as having past-year AD at NESARC Wave 1 and initially subtyped into one of 5 groupings using latent class analysis. We identified these subtypes as: (i) Young Adult, characterized by very early age of onset, minimal family history, and low rates of psychiatric and SUD comorbidity; (ii) Functional, characterized by older age of onset, higher psychosocial functioning, minimal family history, and low rates of psychiatric and SUD comorbidity; (iii) Intermediate Familial, characterized by older age of onset, significant familial AD, and elevated comorbid rates of mood disorders SUD; (iv) Young Antisocial, characterized by early age of onset and elevated rates of ASPD, significant familial AD, and elevated rates of comorbid mood disorders and SUD; (v) Chronic Severe, characterized by later onset, elevated rates of ASPD, significant familial AD, and elevated rates of comorbid mood disorders and SUD. In this report, we examine Wave 2 recovery status, health status, alcohol consumption behavior, and treatment episodes based upon these subtypes.

RESULTS: Significantly fewer of the Young Adult and Functional subtypes continued to meet full DSM-IV AD criteria in Wave 2 than did the Intermediate Familial, the Young Antisocial, and the Chronic Severe subtypes. However, we did not find that treatment seeking for alcohol problems increased over Wave 1 reports. In Wave 2, Young Antisocial and Chronic Severe subtypes had highest rates of past-year treatment seeking. In terms of health status, the Intermediate Familial, the Young Antisocial, and the Chronic Severe subtypes had significantly worse mental health scores than the Young Adult and Functional subtypes. For physical health status, the Functional, Intermediate Familial, Young Antisocial, and the Chronic Severe subtypes had significantly worse scores than the Young Adult subtype. In terms of alcohol consumption behavior, the Young Adult, Functional, and Young Antisocial subtypes significantly reduced their risk drinking days between Wave 1 and Wave 2, whereas the Intermediate Familial and the Chronic Severe subtypes did not.

DISCUSSION: The results suggest that the empirical AD typology predicts differential clinical outcomes 3 years later. Persistence of full AD, treatment seeking, and worse mental health status were associated most strongly with those subtypes manifesting the greatest degree of psychiatric comorbidity. Reductions in alcohol consumption behavior and good physical health status were seen among the 2 younger subtypes. Overall, the least prevalent subtype, the Chronic Severe, showed the greatest stability in the manifestations of AD, despite having the highest rate of treatment seeking.

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