Bipolar Disorder and Alcoholism: Are they related?


Is there a connection between bipolar disorder and alcoholism?

Mayo Clinic psychiatrist Daniel Hall-Flavin, M.D., answers:

Bipolar disorder and alcoholism frequently occur together. In some cases, bipolar disorder clearly develops before alcoholism. Bipolar disorder may increase the risk of alcoholism or other forms of substance abuse. It’s not clear why this occurs. But it may have a genetic component.

When bipolar disorder and alcoholism occur together, each can worsen the symptoms and severity of the other. Alcohol or other substance abuse can also complicate treatment efforts for bipolar disorder, and vice versa.

A psychiatrist may use the term “dual diagnosis” when referring to a person who has both bipolar disorder and alcoholism. Treatment may require the expertise of psychiatrists and other mental health care professionals who specialize in treating people with dual disorders.

About these ads

11 thoughts on “Bipolar Disorder and Alcoholism: Are they related?

  1. I’ve always thought that the two go hand-in-hand. Speaking from actual family history and my own diagnosis. Alcohol is sadly my greatest remedy for a mind that seems to control me.

  2. I want to thank you for writing about this subject on this blog! I am an alcoholic whom has been through rehab twice and am discovering the beauty of sobriety.

    I have become a contributor to a great website called

    It is my hope that will become a focal point run by the sober community for the sober community. I look forward to hearing from many of you and developing this website into a powerful life saving tool, even if only for one or two people. Consider this site your community for a happy and sober life!


  3. I meant he wanted a lot of money. But that’s great for you, back in work, it may not be what you want, but it’s a huge start!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I had a bad manic episode that left me hospitalized for almost 3 months this past summer, and you should see me, I seem normal. Anyway, it’s been hard getting back to work, I’ve started a few projects and I start school to become an RN on monday, chemistry.

    I’m also trying to build an online boutique, we’ll see how it goes. When I get the site up and running, I’ll let you know, and kick you some free designer clothes, put a little smile, maybe?

    Bye. Oh and yeah depressions suck. YOU ARE GREAT!!!!! YOU ARE HERE FOR A GREAT REASON!!!!! I say that because I know how if feels, maybe it doesn’t for you, but at least I said it either way. Meant it.

    • Wow, best of luck with your new future. It takes guts to proceed with new things, but you are strong and it shows. Take good care and let me know how it’s going.

  4. Hi there. I know my blog has turned a bit risky, but hey, it’s still about bipolar and keeping it real. Stay tuned. Some of its funny–read!!!!!

    Yeah, I saw another MD today. He said I really have to see a psych. doc. for meds. I had one set up, but it fell through, plus he wanted my whole bank account. I just hate meeting new docs. AHHHHHH. Oh well.

    Keep in touch, seems your really doing well, got your head on right! Good for you, serious!!!!! :)

    • A doc wanting a bank account? First clue that this is bad apple. I had one pdoc who fell asleep on me in the 3rd session (makes a person feel really confident).

      Just got back to work after 6 mos of short-term dis for depression and trying now to very hard to blend in with everybody else. Have a very stressful job in customer service. Depression robs you of your self confindence, but I’m plugging along.

  5. thanks for the input about the blog being easy to read, that’s cool! yeah, I drank so hard for a while back, I had a psychosis and ended up in the hospital too, for almost 3 months. Brains are funny. I’m doing better now. I haven’t even seen a pdoc for almost a year, I was so manic with my last pdoc, he pretty much flew me and paid, for my ticket across the country. I’ve just been seeing a md, but he’s going into a retirement home, so I’ll be seeing a pdoc and paying $$$$ for the first time in a long time, kind of nervous.

    • Very happy you are doing better. There are good pdocs and bad ones. Unfortunately I had too many bad ones before I found the good one I have now. Thank goodness for his wisdom.

    • I really liked your blog, easy to read. Thanks for your comment. My pdoc is quick to tell me of the dangers of the mix of booze and psych meds, as he tells all his patients, but some don’t listen. I wouldn’t even think of doing such a stupid thing; I’m looking to stay well, not land in the hospital again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s