Adolescents with Bipolar Disorder have a Greater Risk of Substance Abuse in Young Adulthood

Adolescents with Bipolar Disorder have a Greater Risk of Substance Abuse in Young Adulthood

Bipolar symptoms can develop in adolescence, follow into teenagehood, and persist into young adulthood, until it becomes the manifestation of adulthood. Science Daily reports that previous studies found a link between adolescent bipolar and the development of substance abuse issues has been revisited and made a new discovery. Researchers have found that the correlation between bipolar symptoms and substance abuse was greater five years after. Additionally, a co-occurring presence of conduct disorder made substance abuse less likely.

The original study found that out of 105 adolescents diagnosed with bipolar disorder, 34 percent had a substance use disorder- compared to a cool four percent of a control group of 98 who did not have any mood disorders. Five years later, only 68 of the original 105 were available of the group with bipolar disorder and 81 for the control group. Interestingly, 23 of the 68 participants would no longer qualify to be diagnosed with bipolar. A combined 45 other participants either had bipolar symptoms or did not fully qualify for diagnosis. “During the five years since the original study, more members of the bipolar group developed new cases of substance use disorder than did controls,” Science Daily writes, “leading to an overall incidence rate of 49 percent versus 26 percent.”

At times, the conversation of substance use disorder and co-occurring mental health disorders like bipolar disorder can resemble that of the “chicken and the egg” allegory. What comes first, most often, is the mental health disorder. In an effort to regulate mood, cope with thoughts and feelings, or escape the pressure of a mental health disorder, adolescents will turn to drugs and alcohol. Bipolar specifically is characterized by extreme mood swings of mania and depression, each of which frequently includes substance abuse.

Adolescents who have an opportunity to seek treatment for bipolar disorder and co-occurring substance use disorder have a greater opportunity at reducing the symptoms of both. Treatment programs that focus on both primary substance abuse and secondary co-occurring disorders create a greater chance of recovery on both fronts, ensuring long-term sobriety.

Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center is a private residential treatment program in Mississippi, serving adolescent and teenage boys with foundation building, life-cleansing programming for recovery. If addiction has found its way into the life your loved child, call us today for information on our clinical and academic support: 662-598-4214

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