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Analysis/Report, Nov/22: Alcohol use disorder with comorbid anxiety disorder...


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The full title of this Canadian meta-analysis/case report is "Alcohol use disorder with comorbid anxiety disorder: a case report and focused literature review".







Background: Alcohol use disorder (AUD) and anxiety disorders (AnxD) are prevalent health concerns in clinical practice which frequently co-occur (AUD-AnxD) and compound one another. Concurrent AUD-AnxD poses a challenge for clinical management as approaches to treatment of one disorder may be ineffective or potentially counterproductive for the other disorder.


Case presentation: We present the case of a middle-aged man with anxiety disorder, AUD, chronic pain, and gamma-hydroxybutyrate use in context of tapering prescribed benzodiazepines who experienced severe alcohol withdrawal episodes during a complicated course of repeated inpatient withdrawal management. After medical stabilization, the patient found significant improvement in symptoms and no return to alcohol use with a regimen of naltrexone targeting his AUD, gabapentin targeting both his AUD and AnxD, and engagement with integrated psychotherapy, Alcoholics Anonymous, and addictions medicine follow-up.


Conclusion: Proper recognition and interventions for AUD and AnxD, ideally with overlapping efficacy, can benefit individuals with comorbid AUD-AnxD. Gabapentin, tobacco cessation, and integrated psychotherapy have preliminary evidence of synergistic effects in AUD-AnxD. Meta-analysis evidence does not support serotoninergic medications (e.g. selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) which are commonly prescribed in AnxD and mood disorders as their use has not been associated with improved outcomes for AUD-AnxD. Additionally, several double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trials have suggested that serotonergic medications may worsen alcohol-related outcomes in some individuals with AUD. Areas for future investigation are highlighted.




EW served as the Chief Medical Officer at Numinus Wellness, a Canadian company interested in medical application of psychedelic substances. Numinus Wellness was not involved in the conception, planning, writing or decision to submit this manuscript for publication. EW is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research through the Canada Research Chairs Program. No other competing interests were declared.


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