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Home » Comorbid Bipolar and Alcohol Use Disorder A Therapeutic Challenge PMC

Comorbid Bipolar and Alcohol Use Disorder A Therapeutic Challenge PMC

bipolar and alcohol

Understanding the link between alcohol abuse and bipolar symptoms is crucial in highlighting the importance of addressing both issues concurrently. Treating bipolar disorder without addressing alcohol abuse leaves a significant gap in the recovery process, potentially compromising the individual’s overall well-being and stability. In general, treatment-refractory patients are over-represented in the group of BD patients with comorbid SUD (107). As with most treatments, concurrent SUD including AUD is thus a predictor for inferior response to lithium. However, as shown in adolescents, achieving more mood stability with lithium can result in lower levels of alcohol or drug consumption (108). Positive effects of lithium on SUD apart from indirect effects via mood stabilization could not be substantiated so far (109).

bipolar and alcohol

For bipolar disorder, medication and a mix of individual or group therapy have shown to be effective treatments. On the other hand, people who receive a diagnosis of bipolar disorder first are more likely to have difficulty with the symptoms of AUD. People who receive a diagnosis of AUD may recover faster than people who first receive a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Alongside formal treatment, it is essential for individuals to cultivate a strong support system. Family, friends, and support groups can offer understanding, encouragement, and compassion during challenging times.

As mentioned, there is a wide variation of prevalence rates for BD-SUD comorbidity across countries (2) with higher rates in the US than in other industrialized countries. The transatlantic difference for illicit drug use might be even higher, as SUD other than AUD was only present in 8.5% of the German SFBN sample (37). The higher SUD comorbidity rates in the US might directly relate to the poorer prognosis and higher treatment resistance in the SFBN US compared to the European sample (38). A person with bipolar disorder can usually remain healthy if they take their medication as a prescribed, and if they avoid alcohol. As a result, a person with bipolar disorder may not get the correct treatment that can relieve their symptoms. Read on to find out more about the links between bipolar disorder and alcohol consumption.

Alcohol Worsens the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder and Increases the Risk of Complications.

Symptoms of AUD and SUD may often obscure an underlying diagnosis of BD, and frequently result in a long delay before a BD diagnosis has been established by careful clinical observation. Brown et al. reported rates of SUDs in patients with BD ranging from 14 to 65% in treatment settings (48) but only a minority has received a correct diagnosis so far. 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. In 2011, researchers noted that alcohol misuse can result in a misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder. This may cause alcohol misuse and bipolar disorder each to trigger symptoms of the other condition. If you have bipolar disorder, avoiding anything within your control that triggers or exacerbates your symptoms may help with recovery.

In cases where both alcoholism and bipolar disorder coexist, a dual diagnosis approach is necessary. Treating both conditions simultaneously through integrated treatment programs can provide the best chance for successful recovery and long-term stability. Research suggests that people with bipolar disorder are more susceptible to alcohol abuse than the general population. In fact, studies show that up to 60% of individuals with bipolar disorder have experienced some form of substance abuse or dependence during their lifetime, with alcohol being the most commonly abused substance. The same study reports on a 1-year prevalence of 5.7% for substance abuse (except nicotine) according to DSM-IV criteria.

Consequences of Comorbidity

They can also address any medication adjustments or interventions required to stabilize the individual’s mental health and manage alcohol use. Secondly, alcohol can obstruct the efficacy of medications prescribed for bipolar disorder. Most medications used to stabilize mood require careful monitoring and adherence to specific dosages and schedules. Alcohol, however, interacts with these medications and can render them less effective, potentially destabilizing mood and leading to a worsening of bipolar symptoms. Individuals with bipolar disorder may engage in risky behaviors such as excessive spending, promiscuity, or substance abuse during episodes of mania. Alcohol acts as a catalyst, further amplifying these reckless tendencies, which can result in devastating consequences.

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. Living with bipolar disorder is already a challenging journey, but when alcohol abuse becomes intertwined, the stakes are raised even higher.

  1. The person may experience hallucinations, or they may believe that they are very important, that they are above the law, or that no harm can come to them, whatever they do.
  2. Impulsivity (not thinking before acting) and engaging in risky situations that may lead to painful consequences can accompany mania.
  3. Modern treatment concepts acknowledge the interplay between these disorders using an integrated therapy approach where both disorders are tackled in the same setting by a multi-professional team.
  4. In adolescents with comorbid BD and SUD, inclusion of the family appears crucial.

Seeking professional help and building a strong support network are crucial steps on the path to recovery. In this article, we will dive deep into the intricate relationship between bipolar disorder and alcohol, exploring the effects and risks involved. We will substance dependence uncover the prevalence of alcohol abuse among individuals with bipolar disorder and the undeniable link between alcohol abuse and bipolar symptoms. We will also examine how alcohol can worsen bipolar disorder and even induce alcohol-induced bipolar disorder.

The evidence base for suitable psychotherapies in comorbid BD and AUD remains poor. The German S3 Guidelines for AUD (49) recommends cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as the best evidenced modality whereas there is an in-depth look at kratoms long-term side effects & how to avoid them no recommendation for other psychotherapies due to insufficient data. The family and loved ones of a person with the condition can help by encouraging healthful behaviors that discourage the consumption of alcohol.

How these disorders are diagnosed

Consuming alcohol during a depressive phase can increase the risk of lethargy and can further reduce inhibitions. Bipolar disorder affects around 4.4 percent of people in the United States at some time in their lives. Combining alcohol with mood stabilizers is not recommended, as the interactions can cause increased drowsiness, memory issues, impaired judgment, or liver problems. Our free, confidential telephone consultation will help you find treatment that will work for you, whether it is with us or a different program.We can guide you in approaching a loved one who needs treatment. To identify AUD, your doctor will ask you a series of questions about your habits and your body’s reactions to drinking. Researchers haven’t identified a clear link between bipolar disorder and AUD, but there are a few possibilities.

Understanding bipolar disorder

Effectively managing alcohol use for individuals with bipolar disorder is crucial for maintaining stability and overall well-being. Let’s explore some strategies and resources that can help individuals with bipolar disorder and alcohol concerns navigate this complex relationship. It is essential for individuals with bipolar disorder to understand that alcohol and their prescribed medications do not mix well.

At 5-year follow-up, there was still a significant long-term benefit, particularly in those who engaged in post-discharge supportive therapy. Early abstinence predicted later abstinence, and a significant number of those who reduced their drinking by 6 months also alcohol and the brain achieved complete abstinence after 5 years (91). This chapter deals with the intermediate and long-term treatment of comorbid BD and AUD. We do not recap acute treatments for detoxification or delirium on one side, and mania or severe depression on the other side.

Cannabis ranking second after AUD has also been confirmed in other studies (7, 27, 29). Similar rates of SUD were also reported in the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program Bipolar Disorders (STEP BD) study including 3,750 Bipolar I or II patients (30). Managing bipolar disorder and alcohol concerns simultaneously is a multifaceted journey that often necessitates professional help and support. It is crucial for individuals to seek guidance from healthcare professionals who specialize in treating co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.

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