Alcohol Addiction: One Entity or Different Entities? A DSM-4-Based Attempt Toward a Geographicization of Alcohol Addiction and Abuse



To examine whether in Europe perceptions of ‘alcoholism’ differ in a discrete manner according to geographical area.


Secondary analysis of a data set from a European project carried out in 2013–2014 among 1767 patients treated in alcohol addiction units of nine countries/regions across Europe. The experience of all 11 DSM-4 criteria used for diagnosing ‘alcohol dependence’ and ‘alcohol abuse’ were assessed in patient interviews. The analysis was performed through Multiple Correspondence Analysis.


The symptoms of ‘alcohol dependence’ and ‘alcohol abuse’, posited by DSM-IV, were distributed according to three discrete geographical patterns: a macro-area mainly centered on drinking beer and spirit, a culture traditionally oriented toward wine and a mixed intermediate alcoholic beverage situation.


These patterns of perception seem to parallel the diverse drinking cultures of Europe.