Common genetic mechanisms in alcohol, drug, and mental disorder comorbidity

Roy W. Pickens, Dace S. Svikis, Matt McGue, Michele C. LaBuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Comorbid drug and mental disorders were assessed in 63 monozygotic (MZ) and 67 dizygotic (DZ) twin pairs. DSM-III alcohol dependence was heritable in males when probands had a comorbid DSM-III drug or mental disorder but not when probands had only alcohol dependence. For males, significantly higher cross-MZ than cross-DZ correlations were found between alcohol dependence in probands and certain mental and drug disorders in cotwins. In contrast, females showed higher within-twin than cross-MZ correlations and similar cross-MZ and cross-DZ correlations between alcohol dependence and all mental and drug disorders. These results suggest comorbidity between alcohol and certain drug and mental disorders in males in epidemiological surveys may be due in part to genetic influences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-138
Number of pages10
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcoholism
  • Comorbidity
  • Drug abuse
  • Genetics
  • Mental disorders
  • Twins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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