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07-08-2018 | Uitgave 11/2018

Quality of Life Research 11/2018

Psychiatric comorbidity and quality of life in South African alcohol use disorder patients

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 11/2018
Charnotte M. Gabriels, Muiruri Macharia, Lize Weich



Understanding the psychopathology accompanying alcohol use disorder (AUD) is important as it impacts negatively on quality of life (QoL) with subsequent implications for treatment and recovery. We evaluated the association of psychiatric comorbidity with QoL among treatment-seeking South African AUD patients.


Cross-sectional assessment of 101 (Male, n = 65; 64.5%) patients with AUD was done using the World Health Organisation Quality of Life (WHOQoL)-Bref, the World Health Organisation Disability Assessment Scale (WHODAS) and Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) to collect QoL, disability and psychopathology data, respectively.


Psychiatric comorbidity was noted in 63 (62.3%) of the patients with most (55.6%) having more than one disorder. Mood (39; 61.9%) and anxiety (33; 52.4%) were the most common co-occurring disorders. Disability scores were not significantly different between comorbidity and gender groups However, QoL scores were significantly lower for participants with comorbidity in three of the four WHOQOL domains and declined with increasing number of psychiatric disorders. Focussing on the two main psychopathologies, participants with anxiety alone consistently had the lowest QoL scores compared to those with neither or both disorders (p < 0.05).


The results confirm the well-known high rate of psychiatric comorbidity in patients with AUD and the negative impact it has on QoL. The results should alert clinicians managing AUD patients to screen for comorbid psychopathology and include findings into their treatment plan as this may impact on the patient’s QoL.

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