Psychiatric Symptomatology Among Alcoholics: Comparisons Between African Americans and Caucasians

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Using data collected on 190 patients in a hospital-based substance abuse treatment center in a large midwestern city, this study compared psychiatric symptomatology between African Americans and Caucasians. Although the 2 groups were equivalent in consumption and frequency of usage, African-American alcoholics in the study used significantly more substances (beyond alcohol) than did Caucasians. With regard to psychiatric symptomatology, African Americans reported higher levels of somatization, obsessive-compulsive behavior, depression, hostility, paranoid ideation, and psychoticism and an overall higher degree of stress. Although the overall level of alcoholic self-reported severity did not distinguish the 2 groups, African Americans exhibited lower levels of global functioning as assessed by trained clinical staff. The implications of the findings are discussed.

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