Author: James Anderson

Bipolar Disorder and Alcoholism PMC

Manic Depression and Alcoholism

If you are only treated for bipolar disorder and continue to drink, not only can your substance use disorder become more severe, it can trigger recurrences of mental health symptoms. Likewise, if you are only treated for addiction, the symptoms of bipolar disorder will likely trigger you to relapse and drink again, even after a successful period of sobriety. Treatment for substance use disorder is most effective when all your needs are addressed.

  1. Given that bipolar disorder and substance abuse co-occur so frequently, it also makes sense to screen for substance abuse in people seeking treatment for bipolar disorder.
  2. It is important to understand the risks, to know the facts, and to be cautious about drinking when living with bipolar disorder.
  3. Thinking of themselves as having a single disorder aids in the process of acceptance.
  4. Or, if you think you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.

BD can affect up to 3% of the population in some countries; with the increasing awareness of the bipolar spectrum of disorders, this figure could increase over time. The co-morbidity of AUD in BD can reach 45% (Kessler et al., 1997; Cardoso et al., 2008), and the odds ratio for AUD in bipolar I disorder is higher than for bipolar II disorder, ( 3.5 and 2.6 respectively) (Hasin et al., 2007). The co-morbidity of BD in AUD is also high (Kessler et al., 1997; Frye and Salloum, 2006).

The Relationship Between Bipolar Disorder & Alcohol Misuse

A person with bipolar disorder can also be more likely than others to misuse alcohol. However, getting treatment at the earliest sign of a mental health disorder can help prevent bipolar disorder or other mental health conditions from worsening. Weiss et al. (2007) then conducted a randomized controlled study in which IGT was compared to an active control condition, Group Drug Counseling (GDC) (Daley et al., 2002). GDC, which had been used successfully in previous research (Crits-Christoph et al., 1999), is a manual-based treatment that represents the type of group therapy that would be delivered in a high-quality community-based substance abuse treatment program.

If you have bipolar disorder, avoiding anything within your control that triggers or exacerbates your symptoms may help with recovery. Working with a care team can help with identifying triggers and developing management plans. Additionally, when someone is going through alcohol withdrawal, it can potentially mirror some symptoms of bipolar disorder. Other mental health conditions such as ADHD, depression, and schizophrenia may present with overlapping symptoms. To diagnose AUD, a medical or mental health professional will conduct a thorough assessment, including exploring a person’s psychological and physical health history.

Thinking of themselves as having a single disorder aids in the process of acceptance. Bipolar disorder is a condition that causes cycling between manic and depressive moods, and it has a strong correlation with addiction. Over 60 percent of people with bipolar disorder will also be diagnosed with a substance use disorder at some point in their lives. If you have bipolar disorder and alcohol use disorder or another addiction, you have what’s known as a dual diagnosis.

Familial Risk of Bipolar Disorder and Alcoholism

You may need to see a mental health professional who is an expert in treating both disorders. It causes manic moods and depression, both of which can be debilitating and dangerous. Alcohol use disorder commonly co-occurs with bipolar disorder, and it increases the risk for complications, worsens symptoms, and makes treatment more difficult. It is important to understand the risks, to know the facts, and to be cautious about drinking when living with bipolar disorder.

It may be tempting to drink in order to manage symptoms and mood changes, but the risks are high. If you have bipolar disorder, you are at a much greater risk of developing alcohol use disorder. When bipolar disorder and alcohol use disorder occur together, the combination can be more severe than having each condition independently. These difficulties, the possible side effects of the drugs, and the features of bipolar disorder itself can make it hard for a person to keep to a treatment plan. If you or a loved one are struggling, you should know that treatment is available to help you take back control and begin a healthier and more productive life.

The most prominent signs of bipolar disorder in children and teenagers may include severe mood swings that are different from their usual mood swings. Although bipolar disorder can occur at any age, typically it’s diagnosed in the teenage years or early 20s. Symptoms can vary from person to person, and symptoms may vary over time.

Manic Depression and Alcoholism

This may precede or be followed by an episode of hypomania or depression. Approximately 2.6% of people in the United States have bipolar disorder. Approximately 14.5 million people in United States ages 12 and over have alcohol use disorder. People with bipolar disorder often use medications to stabilize their symptoms. Bipolar disorder is already difficult to diagnose, as it can share symptoms with other conditions, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), schizophrenia, and depression.

Treatments for AUD

You can also use the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s online Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to search for facilities that provide dual diagnosis/co-occurring disorders treatment. Another explanation for the connection is that people with bipolar disorder can exhibit reckless behavior, and AUD is consistent with this type of behavior. If people become disillusioned with their medications, some will stop using the drugs and consume alcohol as a form of self-medication. Some people use alcohol alongside their prescription drugs, adding to the risk.

Challenges with taking medication for bipolar disorder

Lithium has been the standard treatment for bipolar disorder for several decades. Unfortunately, several studies have reported that substance abuse is a predictor of poor response of bipolar disorder to lithium. More specifically, as stated previously, compared to non-substance abusers, alcoholics appear to be at greater risk for developing mixed mania and rapid cycling. Researchers have found that patients with mixed mania respond less well to lithium than patients with the nonmixed form of the disorder (Prien et al. 1988). This suggests that lithium may not be the best choice for a substance-abusing bipolar patient. This suggests that lithium may be a good choice for adolescent substance abusers.

In the United States, about 4.4 percent of adults will experience bipolar disorder at some point in their lives, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. A bipolar diagnosis is described as type 1 or 2, depending on the severity of symptoms. Some theorize that when AUD appears first, it can trigger bipolar disorder.