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Bipolar Depression and Alcoholism – Are They Generically Linked?

by Reid K. Hester, Ph.D.

Does it seem that it is common for bipolar disorder to run in families? I'm also curious as to whether or not losing a loved one can trigger symptoms to the disease. My last question is: what is the connection between bipolar and drug use, including cigarette smoking? I'm bipolar and my sister thinks that she might be bipolar too. Thank you for having this valuable resource available to readers of SelfhelpMagazine.

The answers to your questions are yes, yes, and the connection exists. Individuals with bipolar disorder are at greater risk for developing addictive behaviors including alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, and gambling. Hopefully you are under the care of a psychiatrist, which is what I urge your sister to consider also. People dealing with such complicated issues often do much better with the help of a reliable and well-trained professional who they can learn to know and trust over time.

About the Author:

Reid K. Hester, Ph.D., Director, Research Division, Behavior Therapy Associates, 3810 Osuna Rd. NE Suite 1, Albuquerque, NM 87109. Phone: 505.345.6100.

Originally published 01/01/99
Revised 8/19/08 by Marlene M. Maheu, Ph.D.
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