HAMS: Harm Reduction for Alcohol

The Prevalence of Co-Occurring Issues (Dual Diagnosis)

According to the American Medical Association 13.5 % of the US population has an Alcohol Use Disorder. Roughly one out of three people with an Alcohol Use Disorder (37% according to the AMA) also meet the diagnostic criteria for Mental Illness according to the DSM-IV. This means that about 5% of the US population falls into the category of Dual Diagnosis. We illustrate this graphically in Figure 1.

It also seems likely that many heavy drinkers also show sub-clinical depression, anxiety, etc. We are going to venture a guess that as many as two out of three heavy drinkers have some sort of co-occurring issue with their heavy drinking.

For more information about this topic please visit our web page Alcohol and Mental Health: A Harm Reduction Approach to Dual Diagnosis.

We also recommend NAMIís page: Dual Diagnosis and Integrated Treatment of Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Disorder.


Regier DA, Farmer ME,; Rae DS, Locke BZ, Keith SJ, Judd LL, Goodwin FK. (1990). Comorbidity of Mental Disorders With Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse: Results From the Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) Study JAMA. 264(19):2511-2518.

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