Bipolar Disorders (MA Frye, Section Editor)

Current Psychiatry Reports

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 659-666

Bipolar Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder: A Review

  • Conor K. FarrenAffiliated withTrinity College Dublin, St Patrick’s University Hospital Email author 
  • , Kevin P. HillAffiliated withHarvard University, McLean Hospital
  • , Roger D. WeissAffiliated withHarvard University, McLean Hospital

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Bipolar disorder and alcohol use disorder represent a significant comorbid population, which is significantly worse than either diagnosis alone in presentation, duration, co-morbidity, cost, suicide rate, and poor response to treatment. They share some common characteristics in relation to genetic background, neuroimaging findings, and some biochemical findings. They can be treated with separate care, or ideally some form of integrated care. There are a number of pharmacotherapy trials, and psychotherapy trials that can aid program development. Post-treatment prognosis can be influenced by a number of factors including early abstinence, baseline low anxiety, engagement with an aftercare program and female gender. The future development of novel therapies relies upon increased psychiatric and medical awareness of the co-morbidity, and further research into novel therapies for the comorbid group.


Alcohol use disorder AUD Bipolar disorder BD Comorbidity Genetics Neuroimaging Treatment Integrated Psychotherapy Pharmacotherapy Treatment program FIRESIDE Integrated group therapy Psychiatry