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.