AA Helps Bipolar Alcoholics

Research Report

Three-hundred male alcoholics were selected from consecutive admissions to hospital. They were divided into three diagnostic sub-groups: primary alcoholics; alcoholics with unipolar affective disorder; and alcoholics with bipolar affective disorder.

After three follow-up interviews over a 2-year period following hospital discharge, the three sub- groups reported differences in frequency of mood change, amount of treatment received, and hospital attendance, although there were no clear-cut differences in items associated with their alcoholism.

There were, however, some indications that bipolar patients functioned at a better level during the follow-up period, particularly those who were older, had a previous history of longer periods of abstinence, and maintained more frequent contact with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and their family doctor.

K O’Sullivan, C Rynne, J Miller, S O’Sullivan, V Fitzpatrick, M Hux, J Cooney and A Clare. (1998), A follow up study on alcoholics with and without coexisting affective disorder. The British Journal of Psychiatry 152: 813-819 (1988)

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