Insomnia in alcohol dependent subjects is associated with greater psychosocial problem severity

Addict Behav. 2015 Nov;50:165-72. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2015.06.021. Epub 2015 Jun 20.


Introduction: Although psychosocial problems are commonly associated with both alcohol misuse and insomnia, very little is known about the combined effects of insomnia and current alcohol dependence on the severity of psychosocial problems. The present study evaluates whether the co-occurrence of insomnia and alcohol dependence is associated with greater psychosocial problem severity.

Methods: Alcohol dependent individuals (N = 123) were evaluated prior to participation in a placebo-controlled medication trial. The Short Index of Problems (SIP), Addiction Severity Index (ASI), Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), and Time Line Follow Back (TLFB), were used to assess psychosocial, employment, and legal problems; insomnia symptoms; and alcohol consumption, respectively. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to evaluate the relations between insomnia and psychosocial problems.

Results: Subjects' mean age was 44 years (SD = 10.3), 83% were male, and their SIP sub-scale scores approximated the median for normative data. A quarter of subjects reported no insomnia; 29% reported mild insomnia; and 45% reported moderate-severe insomnia. The insomnia groups did not differ on alcohol consumption measures. The ISI total score was associated with the SIP total scale score (β = 0.23, p = 0.008). Subjects with moderate-severe insomnia had significantly higher scores on the SIP total score, and on the social and impulse control sub-scales, and more ASI employment problems and conflicts with their spouses than others on the ASI.

Conclusion: In treatment-seeking alcohol dependent subjects, insomnia may increase alcohol-related adverse psychosocial consequences. Longitudinal studies are needed to clarify the relations between insomnia and psychosocial problems in these subjects.

Keywords: Alcoholism; Insomnia and sleep and maintenance disorders; Psychosocial factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Employment / psychology
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data
  • Family Conflict / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Pennsylvania / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / psychology
  • Social Behavior
  • Surveys and Questionnaires