Psychiatric comorbidity in alcoholics admitted to a rehabilitation center on either a voluntary or a coerced basis were studied. A group of 104 alcoholics (37 coerced and 35 voluntarily admitted men; and 21 coerced and ten voluntarily admitted women) with a mean age (SD) of 43 ± 8 years were assessed by means of a Structural Clinical Interview in accordance with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM)-III-R (SCID). The interview took place a mean of 7 days after admission. The frequencies of lifetime/current axis I psychiatric comorbidity (substance use disorders excluded) were 66 and 61%, respectively. Drug dependence was present in 41 and 39%, respectively, of the cases. Thirty-seven percent had a lifetime diagnosis, and 33% a current diagnosis of affective disorders, 27 and 23%, respectively, of anxiety disorders and 20 and 13%, respectively, of non-organic psychotic disorders. In a subsample of 20 subjects, depressive symptoms were found to be stable during the course of treatment. No differences in frequency of psychiatric comorbidity were found between coerced and voluntarily admitted patients (67 and 56%, respectively) or between men and women (65 and 52%, respectively). The combination of psychiatric comorbidity and drug dependence was overrepresented among the coerced patients (50 vs 16%). It was concluded that the frequencies of psychiatric comorbidity were high in the present group. The co-occurrence of alcohol dependence, drug dependence and psychiatric comorbidity was more frequent among subjects who were coercively treated.