From Bipolar Disorder to Substance Use

Bipolar disorder may be linked to substance use disorder in adolescents

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Anyssa Garza, PharmD

(RxWiki News) Now there's more evidence to support a link between bipolar disorder and substance use disorder in adolescents, according to a new study. 

This new study was a follow-up to a 2008 study that found an association between bipolar disorder and substance use disorder. 

The researchers behind this study followed up after five years with the focus on the risk for substance abuse (alcohol or drug abuse or dependence and cigarette smoking) in developing adolescents with bipolar disorder. 

This new study found that those with bipolar disorder — particularly those with a conduct disorder — were at a higher risk for substance use disorder and becoming dependent on cigarettes. 

Dr. Timothy Wilens, study lead and chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at Mass. General Hospital for Children, said in a press release that "We also made another interesting finding — that those originally diagnosed with bipolar disorder who continued to have symptoms five years later were at an even higher risk for cigarette smoking and substance use disorder than those whose symptoms were reduced either because of remission from bipolar disorder or from treatment."

Speak to your child's pediatrician or psychiatrist about monitoring for the development of substance use disorder. 

This study was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

The National Institutes of Health funded this research. Several study authors said they received research support from pharmaceutical companies. 

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 29, 2016
Last Updated:
September 8, 2016