Is there a genetic relationship between alcoholism and depression?

John I. Nurnberger, Tatiana Foroud, Leah Flury, Eric T. Meyer, Ryan Wiegand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations


The Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COCA) seeks to identify genes contributing to alcoholism and related traits (i.e., phenotypes), including depression. Among alcoholic subjects the COGA study found an increased prevalence of depressive syndrome (i.e., depression that may or may not occur in conjunction with increased drinking). This combination of alcoholism and depression tends to run in families. Comorbid alcoholism and depression occurred substantially more often in first-degree relatives of COGA participants with alcoholism than in relatives of control participants. Based on these data, COGA investigators defined three phenotypes-"alcoholism," "alcoholism and depression," and "alcoholism or depression"-and analyzed whether these phenotypes were linked to specific chromosomal regions. These analyses found that the "alcoholism or depression" phenotype showed significant evidence for genetic linkage to an area on chromosome 1. This suggests that a gene or genes on chromosome 1 may predispose some people to alcoholism and others to depression (which may be alcohol induced).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-240
Number of pages8
JournalAlcohol Research and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002


  • AOD dependence
  • AODR (alcohol and other drug related) genetic markers
  • Chromosome
  • Comorbidity
  • Gender differences
  • Genetic theory of AODU (alcohol and other drug use)
  • Genetic trait
  • Major depression
  • Mood and affect disturbance
  • Phenotype
  • Prevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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