Posted on August 20, 2008 in Alcohol and Drug News, Alcohol and Drug Treatment

Substance Abuse and Bipolar Disorder

Substance abuse and bipolar disorder, a mental illness which affects about 3-5% of the population, are closely correlated according to a recent study that is based on years of research. The study leader, who’s the director of substance abuse services as Massachusetts General Hospital, analyzed data on 105 teenagers with bipolar disorder who were enrolled in the study at an average age of 14 and then followed into adulthood. The study, which also included a control group of 98 teens without any mood disorders, found that incidences of alcohol abuse, drug abuse or dependence, and smoking were considerably higher in the bipolar group than the control group. In fact, the rate of substance abuse in the bipolar disorder group was 34%, compared to only 4% in the control group.

This is important information for anyone suffering from substance abuse problems, especially if they have ever questioned their own mental health or experienced extreme mood swings. Chances are, there could be some correlation between the substance abuse and mental health. Dr. Brady, a doctor and associate professor of psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina, reported that substance abuse occurs in 30% to 60% of patients with bipolar disorder. She also claims that 2% to 4% of alcoholics and up to 30% of cocaine abusers meet the diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder.

As if substance abuse wasn’t enough of a problem to deal with, some people have the added setback of having to deal with bipolar disorder as well. Seeking treatment of bipolar disorder as early as possible is key in preventing the development of substance abuse problems later in life. If you or someone you know has a problem with drugs or alcohol, there is help available.

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