DSM-IV and DSM-5 alcohol use disorder among young Swiss men

Addiction. 2015 Mar;110(3):429-40. doi: 10.1111/add.12800. Epub 2015 Jan 5.


Background and aims: Previous studies suggest that the new DSM-5 criteria for alcohol use disorder (AUD) will increase the apparent prevalence of AUD. This study estimates the 12-month prevalence of AUD using both DSM-IV and DSM-5 criteria and compares the characteristics of men in a high risk sample who meet both, only one and neither sets of diagnostic criteria.

Design, setting and participants: 5943 Swiss men aged 18-25 years who participated in the Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors (C-SURF), a population-based cohort study recruited from three of the six military recruitment centres in Switzerland (response rate = 79.2%).

Measurements: DSM-IV and DSM-5 criteria, alcohol use patterns, and other substance use were assessed.

Findings: Approximately 31.7% (30.5-32.8) of individuals met DSM-5 AUD criteria [21.2% mild (20.1-22.2); 10.5% moderate/severe (9.7-11.3)], which was less than the total rate when DSM-IV criteria for alcohol abuse (AA) and alcohol dependence (AD) were combined [36.8% overall (35.5-37.9); 26.6% AA (25.4-27.7); 10.2% AD (9.4-10.9)]. Of 2479 respondents meeting criteria for either diagnoses, 1585 (63.9%) met criteria for both. For those meeting DSM-IV criteria only (n = 598, 24.1%), hazardous use was most prevalent, whereas the criteria larger/longer use than intended and tolerance to alcohol were most prevalent for respondents meeting DSM-5 criteria only (n = 296, 11.9%). Two in five DSM-IV alcohol abuse cases and one-third of DSM-5 mild AUD individuals fulfilled the diagnostic criteria due to the hazardous use criterion. The addition of the craving and excluding of legal criterion, respectively, did not affect estimated AUD prevalence.

Conclusions: In a high-risk sample of young Swiss males, prevalence of alcohol use disorder as diagnosed by DSM-5 was slightly lower than prevalence of DSM-IV diagnosis of dependence plus abuse; 63.9% of those who met either criterion met criteria for both.

Keywords: Alcohol abuse and dependence; DSM-5; DSM-IV; alcohol use disorder; young men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / diagnosis
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • Young Adult