Bipolar disorder and alcoholism: Are they related?

bipolar and alcohol

You’re more likely to have depressive symptoms during withdrawal from alcohol use. You might experience helplessness, fatigue, or disinterest in activities that you used to enjoy. You may be more likely to experience manic symptoms when you’re actively using a stimulating substance or engaging in prescription medication misuse.

bipolar and alcohol

This includes many factors, but most importantly it means that you must be treated for both bipolar disorder and alcohol use disorder. Because of this, people with both eco sober house price conditions may not get the full treatment they need at first. Even when researchers study bipolar disorder or AUD, they tend to look at just one condition at a time.

Medical Professionals

Bipolar disorder is often treated with both counseling and medication. While bipolar disorder is physiologically based and can continue even when a person has significant psychological improvement during treatment, trauma and other personal variables can worsen and trigger its symptoms. Over my 20+ years of working with university students, I’ve probably seen more than 150 bipolar students. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone with bipolar disorder who was appreciative of the role that drugs or alcohol had in their life. And for those who have benefited from their difficult life lessons and have been successful in curtailing their drug and alcohol use, they almost always report increased mood stability. Whether someone has financial stress, depression due to a loss of employment, a social anxiety disorder or a combination of different issues, alcohol is routinely what people turn to for coping.

Early abstinence predicted later abstinence, and a significant number of those who reduced their drinking by 6 months also achieved complete abstinence after 5 years (91). Talk therapy, education, and support are other treatments that can help those with bipolar and alcohol disorders. Talk therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy, can help a person identify any negative or unhelpful thoughts and find new and healthier ways to look at the problems. Support groups are also beneficial and common with it comes to alcoholism. There can be specific support groups, like 12 step groups, for individuals with a mental illness like bipolar disorder and alcoholism. Multiple explanations for the relationship between these conditions have been proposed, but this relationship remains poorly understood.

Can I Drink Alcohol if I have Bipolar Disorder?

A person may need to work with their doctor for some time before they find a suitable medication and dose. If a person uses valproic acid with alcohol, this may put extra strain on the liver, increasing the risk of liver disease. To identify AUD, your doctor will ask you a series of questions about your habits and your body’s reactions to drinking. Explore our guide to dating someone in recovery, offering insights, tips, and support for a healthy and fulfilling partnership. And then there’s the seductive and dangerous element of disinhibition, particularly in relation to alcohol.

bipolar and alcohol

In summary, there is a continuous need for more research in order to develop evidence-based approaches for integrated treatment of this frequent comorbidity. The difference between bipolar I disorder and bipolar II disorder is that bipolar II disorder is less severe. While there are instances of manic episodes and depressive episodes, these episodes are often shorter and less severe. In fact, many bipolar II disorder cases don’t result in the need for intensive care. Instead, bipolar II disorder is treated by therapy and some medications.

They also will be hypersexual, take unneeded risks, and spend money frivolously. Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that is biologically based and comes from brain chemistry being off or other problems with the nervous system. Alcohol interacts with bipolar depression medications with critical consequences. In addition to wreaking havoc on medication, alcohol also negatively impacts bipolar depression itself. Although there is little research to treat both these disorders simultaneously, therapy is a key success factor for any disorder.

Types of Drug Interactions With Alcohol

It can be difficult to get the medication right with bipolar disorder because each person is different and may respond differently to medications. People with bipolar disorder often use medications to stabilize their symptoms. To receive a diagnosis of bipolar 1 disorder, you must have experienced at least one episode of mania.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) advises using an integrated treatment approach to address co-occurring disorders properly. Instead of treating each condition alone without considering the other, integrated treatment combines therapies for substance abuse and mental health. People with bipolar disorder may utilize the same drugs during their manic and depressed phases or a variety of drugs with various effects.

  • If you have bipolar disorder, partaking in substances may feel good at the moment, but they can end up causing negative health effects in the long run.
  • In the past, researchers have noted that symptoms of bipolar disorder appear as a person withdraws from alcohol dependence.
  • A good therapist can give you an outlet for expressing your feelings but also practical strategies for managing bipolar symptoms and alcohol cravings.
  • 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).
  • Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder that involves extreme mood swings from emotional highs and excitement (called mania or hypomania) to emotional lows and hopelessness (such as depression).
  • However, there are no reliable data whether it is of any usefulness in the long-term treatment of BD + AUD.

The first is the “single-disorder paradigm,” in which patients are encouraged to think of themselves as having a single disorder, i.e., “bipolar substance abuse,” rather than trying to tackle two discrete disorders at once. Thinking of themselves as having a single disorder aids in the process of acceptance. While mania in bipolar disorder can leave a person feeling invulnerable, their body and minds are breaking down from the illness and will likely end up in the hospital, where they can get help. Bipolar and alcohol treatment resistance can be the major hurdle to overcome, as support is available and recovery likely from these diseases. Still, treatment for alcoholics with bipolar disorders is likely to be successful if carried out by recovery professionals in specialized medical facilities aimed at alcoholism recovery. Both inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation is possible, although residential programs tend to be more effective in case of co-ocurrent mental conditions.

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Treatment may require the expertise of mental health professionals who specialize in the treatment of both disorders. Bipolar disorder and alcohol use disorder or other types of substance abuse can be a dangerous combination. Having both conditions increases the risk of mood swings, depression, violence and suicide.

People with co-occurring depression and alcohol dependence are optimally treated with pharmacotherapies that address each condition. Also, fewer patients tended to be depressed in the final weeks of treatment when prescribed the combined regimen. Because co-occurring disorders are so closely linked to instances of substance addiction, treating them is a crucial part of our inpatient treatment program.

Let’s look at four compelling reasons individuals with bipolar disorder should avoid drinking alcohol. Co-occurrence of depression and substance abuse often poses diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. This article reviews the prevalence, clinical considerations, and treatment of depression coexisting with alcohol use disorders (AUDs).

Of the 228 Bipolar probands, 75.4% (74% in bipolar I patients and 77% in bipolar II patients) fulfilled criteria for DSM-IV life time alcohol dependence. Gender differences have a significant influence on treatment outcomes in BD (58) but not as much on outcomes in alcohol dependence (59). Especially a history of verbal abuse and rates of social phobia and depression are higher in female than male BD patients with AUD (32). Whereas, AUD in female BD patients fosters rather self-destructive consequences, males appear more likely to externalize anger and impulsivity, and stand out by a history of criminal actions (62). Specific numbers for AUD and BD are not available, but for affective disorders (AD) in general and SUD, criminal behavior has been observed twice as frequent in AD with SUD compared to AD without (63). Medications like clonazepam and Wellbutrin are used to manage symptoms like depression and anxiety.

One major danger with alcohol and bipolar disorder is the chance of addiction. It is an unfortunate fact that having a mental illness puts you at significantly higher risk of developing alcoholism or other substance abuse issues like side effects of alcohol abuse. In bipolar disorder and other mental health conditions, patients are at a higher risk for alcoholism, so the potential for drug interactions can be significant.

Treatment Strategies in Comorbid BD and AUD—General Principles of Treatment

Drugs like alcohol and marijuana can heighten feelings of creative inspiration or help people feel calmer during manic episodes. Alcohol can also dull the discomfort brought on by depressive episodes. If you or someone you know struggles with alcoholism and bipolar disorder, medical professionals can help. There is no cure for either illness, but entering rehabilitation can help you or your loved one achieve a life that does not involve substance abuse. The Recovery Village® has locations in each region of the United States and can help people progress toward a healthier life. If you or your loved one wants a future that is free of substance abuse, call The Recovery Village® to speak with the representatives who are available all day and night and ready to answer any questions you have.