Utilization of residential alcoholism treatment in bipolar disorder

Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, Terry D. Schneekloth, Larissa L. Loukianova, Victor M. Karpyak, Timothy G. Lesnick, Joanna M. Biernacka, David A. Mrazek, Mark A. Frye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the high prevalence rate of comorbid alcohol dependence and bipolar disorder, little is known about how many bipolar patients are actively engaged in addiction treatment or the alcohol consumption characteristics of this group. This retrospective study reviewed the medical records from patients with alcohol dependence admitted to residential treatment at our institution (n = 588). The analyses focused on alcoholism severity measures and discharge clinical diagnoses. Patients with alcoholism + bipolar disorder compromised only 5% of the total study group. The number of drinking years was lower for patients with alcoholism + bipolar disorder (23.1 ± 17.7) than for those with alcoholism + depression (26.8 ± 13.9) or alcoholism alone (28.1 ± 13.2). A trend of higher mean lifetime maximum daily drinks was observed for patients with alcoholism + bipolar disorder; this was because of the significantly higher maximum drinks for women with bipolar disorder (21.0 ± 11.5) than for women in other diagnostic groups. Despite high rates of comorbidity in community-based studies, this retrospective study suggests that patients with bipolar disorder are not highly represented in residential alcoholism addiction treatment. Future studies are encouraged to better understand utilization rates of addiction treatment among patients with bipolar disorder and to identify clinical correlates that predispose bipolar women to high-dose drinking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-44
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal on Addictions
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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