According to April Clarkson writing on News Fix (www.newsfix.ca), a recent paper by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, has confirmed that women with bipolar disorder are seven times more likely to have difficulties with alcohol abuse than other women. However, in overall terms, the statistics for men are starker still; the study showed that 49% of men with bipolar disorder were also affected by alcoholism compared to 29% of women.
Although the News FIX article does not state where the article is published or the names of the authors, it is very much in keeping with the growing body of research (and indeed anecdotal observations) which shows a clear link between bipolar disorder (and other psychiatric conditions) and alcoholism. ‘Self-medication’ is a serious issue for those who are living with mental illness, particularly prior to diagnosis and the onset of treatment.
The ‘take home’ message from this research is that the dynamics and specifics of the alcohol-bipolar link needs to constantly be revisited, awareness raising measures put in place and effective monitoring systems utilised to help ensure that problems are detected at an early stage.
Clarkson’s short article can be accessed here.