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Mood Disorders Predict Later Substance Abuse Problems

Armen Hareyan's picture

Mood Disorders

People with manic symptoms and bipolar disorder type II are at significant risk of later developing an alcohol abuse or dependence problem, a long-term study conducted in Switzerland confirms. The study was published in the January 2008 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Extensive research using retrospective reports has demonstrated a clear association between mood disorders and substance abuse. But few prospective long-term studies have been able to show evidence of this.

Kathleen Merikangas, Ph.D., of the NIMH Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, collaborated with colleagues to follow 591 people (292 men and 299 women) over two decades, beginning in 1978 when the participants were 19 or 20 years old. The participants were interviewed six times between 1979 and 1999.

By 1993, almost 10 percent met criteria for major depression. Although bipolar disorder type I was very rare, 4 percent met criteria for bipolar disorder II