How are psychiatric disorders and alcoholism differentiated?

Updated: Nov 27, 2018
  • Author: Warren Thompson, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Answer

Patients commonly use a psychiatric disorder to deny alcohol abuse. Unless strong evidence indicates that the psychiatric disorder clearly precedes the alcoholism or is present during a long period of sobriety, the best plan is to proceed as if alcoholism is the primary diagnosis. Arrange a consultation with a psychiatrist for difficult cases because some patients who are treated for psychiatric conditions stop drinking and do very well.


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