Longitudinal studies have been inconclusive in identifying alcohol as a risk factor for anxiety and depression.
To examine whether excessive alcohol consumption is a risk factor for anxiety and depression in the general population, and whether anxiety and depression are risk factors for excessive alcohol consumption.
Data were analysed from the 18-month follow-up of the Psychiatric Morbidity Among Adults Living in Private Households, 2000 survey.
Hazardous and dependent drinking were not associated with onset of anxiety and depression at follow-up. Binge-drinking was non-significantly associated with incident anxiety and depression (adjusted OR= 1.36, 95% CI 0.74–2.50). Abstainers were less likely to have new-onset anxiety and depression at follow-up. Anxiety and depression or sub-threshold symptoms at baseline were not associated with incident hazardous or binge-drinking at follow-up, but there was weak evidence linking sub-threshold symptoms with onset of alcohol dependence (adjusted OR=2.04, 95% CI 0.84–4.97).
Excessive alcohol consumption was not associated with the onset of anxiety and depression but abstinence was associated with a lower risk. Sub-threshold symptoms were weakly associated with new-onset alcohol dependence.
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