Mental Health | Perfectionism linked w/ severe alcohol use disorder

Mental Health MNMental Health | Perfectionist traits are associated with severe alcohol use disorder (AUD)...

..., according to a new study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Perfectionism—striving for unrealistic performance standards and being prone to self-criticism—has been shown to generate feelings of failure and thoughts in individuals that they are not attaining standards they believe others expect from them. These traits can lead to social isolation, as well as increased vulnerability to stress and depression.

For the study, researchers in Belgium evaluated 65 adults with severe AUD who were undergoing inpatient detoxification and 65 healthy adults matched for sex and age.

All study participants completed 3 questionnaires to evaluate self-oriented, socially prescribed, and other-oriented perfectionism. Depressive symptoms, anxiety experienced in specific situations, and generalized (trait) anxiety also were evaluated.

Patients with severe AUD reported higher depressive symptoms and trait anxiety, as well as higher self-oriented and socially oriented perfectionism. The 2 groups reported similar levels of other-oriented perfectionism.

“Severe AUD was related to unrealistic personal standards and increased sensitivity to other people’s expectations, even after accounting for the role of depressive symptoms and anxiety, but not to being demanding of others,” according to a Research Society on Alcoholism news release announcing the study’s findings.

Mental Health“This is consistent with what is known about self-related and interpersonal factors in severe AUD, such as reduced self-esteem, a tendency to self-blame, and a divergence between people’s ideal and actual selves.”

The findings suggest that the potential role of perfectionism in developing and maintaining severe AUD could be a valuable target in the treatment of alcohol addiction, the researchers concluded.


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