A substantial psychiatric comorbidity has been observed in alcohol patients from specialized alcoholism and substance abuse treatment centers. However, hardly any results have yet been reported from general hospital inpatients. We report results from a survey of a representative sample of 400 general hospital inpatients (200 medical, 200 surgical) which was carried out not only to assess the prevalence of alcoholism but also the rates of additional psychiatric disorders. All patients were interviewed personally with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). A lifetime diagnosis of alcoholism was found in 18.8%, a current diagnosis in 11.3%. Of these patients, lifetime alcoholism was associated with 41.3% lifetime psychiatric comorbidity, current alcoholism with 44.4% current comorbidity. Organic brain syndromes were diagnosed predominantly, followed by depressive disorders and phobias. With the exception of the high rate of organic brain disorders, the rates of other comorbid psychiatric disorders in the general hospital seem to resemble those of the general population rather than those from alcoholism treatment facilities.