Current Psychiatry Reports

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 659–666 | Cite as

Bipolar Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder: A Review

  • Conor K. Farren
  • Kevin P. Hill
  • Roger D. Weiss
Bipolar Disorders (MA Frye, Section Editor)


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 



This paper was supported, in part, by Grant K24DA022288 (RDW) and K99/R00DA029115 (KPH) from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


C. K. Farren: consultant for Lundbeck and travel/accommodations/meeting expenses reimbursed from GlaxoSmithKline; K. P. Hill: none; R. D. Weiss: consultant for Titan Pharmaceuticals and Reckitt Benckiser.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Conor K. Farren
    • 1
  • Kevin P. Hill
    • 2
  • Roger D. Weiss
    • 2
  1. 1.Trinity College DublinSt Patrick’s University HospitalDublin 8Ireland
  2. 2.Harvard University, McLean HospitalBostonUSA

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