Alcohol Use Disorder Among Adults Recovered From Substance Use Disorders

Taeho Greg Rhee, Robert A. Rosenheck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Alcohol use is often overlooked and underestimated among patients recovered from substance dependence. The prevalence and correlates of alcohol use disorder (AUD) among adults recovered from substance use disorders (SUDs) are estimated in this study.

METHODS: A nationally representative cross-sectional analysis of the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions Wave-III was used in this study. Survey respondents, aged 18 or older, who recovered from SUDs, based on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) criteria (n = 2061 unweighted), were included. A total of three comparison groups were identified using DSM-5 criteria (1) current AUD, (2) former AUD, and (3) never had AUD. The prevalence of these groups was estimated; medical and psychiatric comorbidities and health-related quality of life were compared; and factors associated with having a current AUD when compared with those with former AUD and those who never had AUD were examined, controlling for other covariates.

RESULTS: About 5.7% of US adults, nationally representative of 14.2 million, have been reported to have recovered from past SUDs. Of these, 28.9% met criteria for current AUD and 48.4% had former AUD. When compared with those who never had AUD, factors associated with having a current AUD included the following: living in urban areas (P = .019), having a bipolar 1 disorder (P < .001), and a history of lifetime incarceration (P = .004).

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Nearly one-third of adults recovered from SUDs had current AUD, and several behavioral factors were associated with having a current AUD when compared with those who never had AUD.

SCIENTIFIC SIGNIFICANCE: Our study highlights the substantial risk of AUD in adults who have successfully recovered from SUDs. (Am J Addict 2020;00:00-00).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-339
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal on Addictions
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
. In the past 3 years, Rhee received funding support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (#T32AG019134). The funding agency, NIH, had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; and preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript, and decision to submit the manuscript for publication

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking/prevention & control
  • Alcoholism/diagnosis
  • Behavior, Addictive
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders/diagnosis
  • United States

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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