Using cluster analysis of alcohol use disorders to investigate 'diagnostic orphans': Subjects with alcohol dependence symptoms but no diagnosis

Kathleen K. Bucholz, Deborah L. Phelps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to examine the characteristics of community subjects with one or two alcohol dependence symptoms who did not satisfy the criteria for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) alcohol dependence or abuse (sub-diagnostic group or diagnostic orphans). Variables not included in the DSM-IV alcohol abuse and dependence criteria are used to compare the different alcohol statuses. The results indicate that the sub-diagnostic group 'diagnostic orphans' formed a cluster distinct from that of the non-problem drinkers group, and appeared to be closer to those with alcohol abuse than to those with alcohol dependence. The diagnosis of DSM-IV alcohol dependence (with three, four, or five or more symptoms) appeared to be its own entity. The findings lend credence to the requirement of three symptoms (in any 12 months) for the diagnosis of alcohol dependence in DSM-IV. However, those with one or two symptoms of alcohol dependence should be considered along with alcohol abuse as an entity in future DSM classifications. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-302
Number of pages8
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Volume60
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 10 2000

Keywords

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Alcohol dependence
  • Dependence symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Nosology

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