The authors examined the 2-year course of alcoholism as defined by
Research Diagnostic Criteria (RDC) in 127 newly admitted patients with
major affective syndromes and concurrent alcoholism at intake. The
cumulative probability of remission (at least 6 months free of alcohol
problems) in these patients was 0.67. Many of the remissions began within a
few weeks of intake; the remaining were distributed over the follow-up
period. Of the patients without remissions, 17% died, half by suicide.
Diagnoses of schizoaffective disorder, indicators of alcohol dependence,
and previous chronicity of alcohol problems predicted poor outcome of
alcoholism, but none of these variables predicted subsequent relapse.