Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci.  2018 Aug;16(3):282-289. 10.9758/cpn.2018.16.3.282.

Increased Bone Mineral Density after Abstinence in Male Patients with Alcohol Dependence

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Inje University Busan Paik Hospital, Busan, Korea.
  • 2Department of Pharmacology, Inje University Busan Paik Hospital, Busan, Korea.
  • 3Shim Joo Cheol Psychiatry Clinic, Busan, Korea.


This study aimed to compare the bone mineral density of male patients with alcohol dependence with that in healthy controls and to assess changes in bone density after abstinence.
Forty-four inpatients with confirmed the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition diagnosis of alcohol abuse and 42 controls were recruited. Bone density was determined with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in the lumbar spine as well as in the femoral neck, trochanter, and Ward’s triangle regions of the proximal right femur.
There were no significant differences in age and body mass index between patients with alcohol dependence and healthy controls. In the alcohol dependence group, osteopenia and osteoporosis were found in 54.5% and 34.1% of the patients, respectively, whereas in the control group, the corresponding values were 45.2% and 11.9% (p=0.001). Although the actual bone density in the femur and the corresponding T-scores were significantly lower in the alcohol dependence group, no significant differences were found in the lumbar spine. In both groups, body mass index showed a significant correlation with bone mineral density in all areas. After 3 to 4 years of abstinence, bone density significantly increased in the lumbar and femur.
We conclude that bone mineral density in patients with alcohol dependence was significantly lower than that in healthy controls, and the rates of osteopenia and osteoporosis are higher. Importantly, abstinence from alcohol increases bone density.


Alcohol abstinence; Alcoholism; Bone density; Osteoporosis
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