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According to WHO, excessive alcohol consumption is one of the most important lifestyle factors in high income countries. Alcohol is related to more than 200 medical conditions with huge economic consequences for Danish society. The Danish population has a high average alcohol intake, more than 90% of all adults drink, and 20% of the adult population has a risky alcohol intake.

A substantial proportion of patients Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) have a concomitant psychiatric diagnosis, most frequently anxiety disorders and depression. AUD has a heritability of approximately 50%, but only little is known about how differences in genetic background influence the development of alcohol use disorders and related complications. The importance of co-morbidity, hereditary and other factors for development, remission and relapse of AUD is sparsely studied.


The overall hypothesis is that heredity, cognitive function, anxiety disorders, depression, personality disorders and other psychiatric disorders affect the development, cessation and relapse of alcohol abuse.
The objectives are:

  • To study risk factors for transmission of AUD over generations
  • To examine the pre-morbid and post-morbid factors associated with AUD
  • To identify risk factors for adverse social, psychiatric and somatic outcomes in children with parents suffering from AUD
  • To study the association and interaction between cognitive function, psychiatric co-morbidity, and AUD
  • Do men in outpatient treatment for AUD have lower cognitive function, lower socio-economic status and more psychiatric problems compared to controls


The study is based on 3 cohorts: 1) More than 30,000 patients with AUD from the outpatient clinic of Copenhagen; 2) A comprehensive clinical and register based 50 year follow-up on a high risk cohort and first degree relatives, and; 3) A large cohort drawn from young men presenting for the draft boards in the 1950s.The cohorts will be linked to socio-economic, medical and psychiatric registers. The participants and selected first-degree relatives will be asked to participate in a follow-up examination.
The study aims at translating and combining clinical medicine, psychiatry, and psychology within an epidemiological framework.


2013-2019. Results are published on a continuous basis.

Collaboration and funding

  • Unit for medical psychology, Section of Environmental Health, Department of Public Health, Copenhagen University
  • Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, University of Kansas Medical Center, USA

Funded by The Danish Strategic Research Council/Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education.

Last Updated 26.03.2019