JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, P.H.S.
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Lifetime prevalence of substance or alcohol abuse and dependence among subjects with bipolar I and II disorders in a voluntary registry.

Bipolar Disorders 2000 September
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the prevalence of substance abuse dependence and/or alcohol abuse dependence among subjects with bipolar I versus bipolar II disorder in a voluntary registry.

METHOD: One hundred randomly selected registrants in a voluntary case registry for bipolar disorder were interviewed, using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders, to validate the diagnosis of this registry. Corroborative information was obtained from medical records, family members and the treating psychiatrist. Eighty-nine adults (18-65 years) met criteria for bipolar disorder (bipolar I = 71, bipolar II = 18) and were included in this analysis.

RESULTS: Forty-one (57.8%) subjects with bipolar I disorder abused, or were dependent on one or more substances or alcohol, 28.2% abused, or were dependent on, two substances or alcohol, and 11.3% abused or were dependent on three or more substances or alcohol. Nearly 39% of bipolar II subjects abused or were dependent on one or more substances, nearly 17% were dependent on two or more substances or alcohol, and 11% were dependent on three or more substances or alcohol. Alcohol was the most commonly abused drug among either bipolar I or II subjects.

CONCLUSIONS: Consistent with other epidemiologic and hospital population studies, this voluntary bipolar disorder registry suggests a high prevalence of comorbidity with alcohol and/or substance abuse dependence. Bipolar I subjects appear to have higher rates of these comorbid conditions than bipolar II subjects; however, as the number of bipolar II subjects was rather small, this suggestion needs confirmation.

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