Bipolar and Alcoholism A Comorbidity Jinx .pdf
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Bipolar and Alcoholism - A Comorbidity Jinx
It has been found that the prevalence of a mental health problem along with a substance use disorder
often complicates the matter. In such a scenario, the treatment of both the cases becomes a challenge.
When a mental health disorder exists along with a substance abuse issue, it is called dual diagnosis or cooccurring disorders.
It is believed that people with mental health problems often abuse substances or vice versa. However,
the reality is that it is difficult to find which came first, the mental condition or the substance abuse.
Among all the cooccurring disorders, it
has been observed that
bipolar disorder is
often accompanied by
in the past came up
with various theories
to establish a link
between the two, but
no definitive answers
could be arrived at.
with alcoholism can be
a mere speculation.
But as per experts,
there are some factors
that may trigger the
Factors that may play a role
Genes: The role of genes in bipolar disorder cannot be undermined. Differences in genetic makeup are
known to affect the brain chemistry linked to bipolar disorder. Similarly, these same genes are also known
to alter the ways the brain reacts to alcohol and other addictive substances. It further increases the risk
of getting addicted to other drugs.
Anxiety disorder and depression: Bipolar patients often suffer from bouts of depression and anxiety
disorder in varying degrees. Some people resort to drinking in a bid to fight the symptoms of depression
and anxiety. Surprisingly, it helps, and alcohol does bring some respite initially. However, in the long run,
the effects begin to wean and people develop a tolerance for alcohol. Then more alcohol is required to
derive the effects felt initially, and one becomes an alcoholic as a result. Over time, both alcoholism and
bipolar disorder become a personality trait of a person, resulting in a vicious cycle.
Mania: It is another potential cause of alcoholism in bipolar patients. The euphoric feeling experienced
by bipolar patients after the depression phase is also characterized by hyperactivity. This is called mania.
As a result, decision-making ability in such a person gets zapped that may lead to misjudgments. At this
point, one may take to serious and heavy drinking and become an alcoholic.
Effects of bipolar-alcoholism coexistence
Bipolar and alcoholism can be a dangerous combination and may lead to severe consequences if not
intervened on time. They are detrimental to each other and can worsen the condition. When a person
suffers from both the conditions, the risks of mood swings, violence, depression and suicides shoot up
It makes treatment more difficult – firstly because symptoms are adamant and secondly the diagnosis
becomes a tricky proposition. It is often difficult to diagnose co-occurring disorders in one go.
Early intervention holds the key to a long-term solution. When both the problems are diagnosed in the
first place, most of the problems can be tackled easily. Another key element of treating dual diagnosis is
addressing both the conditions simultaneously. Without treating both the conditions concurrently, longterm cure would always be elusive. Hence, the effective treatment for dual diagnosis would be to counter
both the conditions at the same time and not alternately.
If a loved one is suffering from dual diagnosis and you are looking for dual diagnosis treatment centers in
California, contact the California Dual Diagnosis Helpline. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 855980-1736 to get expert guidance regarding the best dual diagnosis treatment in California where
treatment is long-term and recovery complete.
For more information, please visit