Links between bi-polar disorder and substance use

This study suggests that teens with bi-polar disorder are at a higher risk of developing substance abuse. American researchers examined 167 youth aged 12-17 over 4 years and found that 32% started abusing alcohol and drugs, on average almost 3 years from the start of the study. The study also identified predictors of later substance use some of which included repeated experimentation with alcohol and cannabis, panic disorder, family history of substance use, low family connectedness and absence of antidepressant treatment. Among teens with 3 or more risk factors, 55% went on to develop substance abuse, compared to 14% of teens with 0-2 risk factors. Lead researcher Dr. Benjamin Goldstein noted that this study provides some clues regarding the types of strategies that may be useful to prevent youth substance abuse. Another study found that prenatal tobacco exposure may be linked with higher risk of bi-polar disorder in children, which carries further implications for prevention of maternal smoking during pregnancy.