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Are bipolar disorder and alcoholism related?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
Many studies today link bipolar disorder to alcoholism. Researchers believe that there may be a genetic link between bipolar disorder and alcoholism, although they have not identified one yet. It is thought that bipolar disorder often happens before alcohol dependency. Sometimes symptoms of alcohol intoxication cause symptoms of bipolar disorder. Other times, the alcoholism masks the bipolar disorder mood swings. When bipolar disorder and alcoholism occur at the same time, the symptoms can worsen dramatically. A doctor may use a "dual diagnosis" to refer to someone who suffers from both alcoholism and bipolar disorder.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.