Research Article

Psychiatric morbidity in patients with alcoholic liver disease.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983; 287 doi: (Published 12 November 1983) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983;287:1417
  1. I Ewusi-Mensah,
  2. J B Saunders,
  3. A D Wodak,
  4. R M Murray,
  5. R Williams


    Seventy one patients with alcoholic liver disease and an equal number with non-alcoholic liver disease were interviewed using the schedule for affective disorders and schizophrenia. Forty seven (66%) of the group with alcoholic liver disease had or had had psychiatric illnesses compared with 23 (32%) of the control group (p less than 0.001). Affective disorder, particularly major depression, neurotic disorders, and antisocial personality, were all more common among the patients with alcoholic liver disease than the controls. No patient had schizophrenia or other forms of psychosis. Among the patients with alcoholic liver disease 11 men (24%) and 14 women (54%) had an affective or a neurotic disorder that had antedated their heavy drinking, and 30 (77%) of those who had had such a problem at any time had symptoms at the time of interview. Abstinence from alcohol is essential for patients with severe alcoholic liver disease. In view of the high prevalence of psychiatric disorders in these patients psychiatric assessment is important to increase the patients' likelihood of complying with such advice.