Predicting persistency of DSM-5 alcohol use disorder and examining drinking patterns of recently remitted individuals: a prospective general population study

Addiction. 2013 Dec;108(12):2091-9. doi: 10.1111/add.12309. Epub 2013 Aug 28.


Aims: To establish the 3-year persistency rate of alcohol use disorder (AUD) and its predictors, and to examine drinking patterns of recently remitted individuals.

Design and setting: The Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study-2 (NEMESIS-2) surveyed a nationally representative sample of adults (aged 18-64 years) at baseline (response = 65.1%) and 3-year follow-up (response = 80.4%).

Participants: People with AUD at baseline, as defined by DSM-5 (n = 198).

Measurements: AUD, drinking patterns and mental disorders were assessed using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview 3.0. Other predictors were assessed with an additional questionnaire. Predictors of persistency were examined with univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses.

Results: The AUD persistency rate was 29.5% [95% confidence intervals (CI) = 20.0-39.0]. In the multivariable model, the older (25-34 and 35-44) age groups had lower AUD persistency [odds ratio (OR) = 0.05; 95% CI = 0.00-0.49 and OR = 0.14; 95% CI = 0.02-0.79, respectively] than the youngest age group (18-24). A higher number of weekly drinks and a comorbid anxiety disorder predicted AUD persistency (OR = 1.03; 95% CI = 1.00-1.07 and OR = 4.56; 95% CI = 1.04-20.06, respectively). Furthermore, remission was associated with a reduction of six drinks per week between T0 and T1 . It should be noted, however, that 35.8% (95% CI = 22.4-49.2) of people in diagnostic remission still drank more than the recommended maximum (more than seven/14 drinks weekly for women/men).

Conclusions: Only a minority of people in the Netherlands with alcohol use disorder as defined by DSM-5 still have the disorder 3 years later. Factors that help to identify people at risk of alcohol use disorder persistence are: younger age, a higher number of weekly drinks and a comorbid anxiety disorder. A substantial number of people recently in diagnostic remission still drink above the maximum recommended level.

Keywords: Alcohol consumption; DSM-5; alcohol use disorder; persistency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Young Adult