The Handbook of Alcohol Use - Chapter 4: Alcohol and mental health: Co-occurring alcohol use and mental health disorders

Elsevier, The Handbook of Alcohol Use Understandings from Synapse to Society 2021, Pages 81-106
Raffaella Margherita, Milani Luisa Perrino

There is a strong link between alcohol use and mental health, yet research often fails to provide a comprehensive understanding of the complex interaction between the two aspects. In relation to treatment, alcohol and mental health services often work in a disjointed manner; likewise, policies and guidelines for the two sectors are generally developed in isolation from one another. The result of this silo mentality is that the needs of individuals with comorbid alcohol and mental health disorders, commonly referred to as “Dual Diagnosis”, are often unmet, leading to serious harmful consequences for the affected individuals, their families and society as a whole. This generates further stigma and isolation for an already vulnerable and high-risk population. The present Chapter provides an overview of the epidemiology, and the main etiological theories of co-occurring Alcohol Use Disorders (AUD) and Mental Health Disorders (MHD). It is hoped that this chapter can inform treatment and policies for this population.