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Alcohol Worsens Bipolar Mood Swings, Not Vice Versa: New Study

Conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan, the study highlights that consuming alcohol due to mood swings is less likely than mood swings occurring because of alcohol intake.

By Newsd
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Drinking alcohol could worsen one’s symptoms of bipolar disorder by destabilising mood and affecting efficiency at work, according to a new study.

Conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan, the study highlights that consuming alcohol due to mood swings is less likely than mood swings occurring because of alcohol intake.

The mental condition, characterised by unusual shifts in emotions, energy, and activity levels, can sometimes involve hallucinations and delusions.

The researchers aimed to understand the long-term impact of alcohol consumption on the mood and functioning of adults with bipolar disorder. The study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network Open, involved 584 adults diagnosed with the mood disorder.

These participants had been part of the larger ongoing Prechter Longitudinal Study of Bipolar Disorder (PLS-BD) in the US for at least five years. Data was collected over a follow-up period of 5-16 years.

The study used the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, a WHO-approved questionnaire, to assess participants’ drinking habits. Other standardised questionnaires gauged depression, mania or hypomania, anxiety, and functioning.

The researchers found that increased alcohol consumption above typical levels led to worsening depressive and manic or hypomanic moods, and reduced work performance.

”A person reporting alcohol use above their own mean amount tended to experience more depressive symptoms at the next time point, but increased depressive symptoms were not associated with greater subsequent alcohol use,” the authors wrote.

For mania or hypomania, alcohol use exceeding one’s typical amount was linked to increased symptoms at the next time point, but not the reverse.

Medication was another factor, with harmful levels of alcohol impacting those not on antipsychotic and antidepressant medications more severely compared to those on these medications.

”Overall, these results underline the role that alcohol use may play in ongoing mood instability and functional impairment in bipolar disorder,” the authors noted, stressing the need to monitor the alcohol consumption of patients with bipolar disorder during treatment.

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