Substance Use Among Canadian Adolescents with Bipolar Disorder: The Critical Need for Intervention and Prevention

January 15, 2013 · Posted in Comorbidities, Risk Factors · Comment 

substance abuse

At the 2012 meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), Antoinette Scavone presented a poster on correlates of substance use disorders among Canadian adolescents with bipolar disorder. Participants were 62 adolescents aged 14 to 19 with bipolar disorder. Twenty-three participants (37.1%) had a substance abuse disorder.

Those with a comorbid substance use disorder were more likely to have a comorbid panic disorder or an oppositional defiant disorder. They also had higher rates of police contact or arrest, were more likely to have been involved in assault, and were more impulsive. In addition they had experienced more stressful life events.

Editor’s Note: These data from a Canadian sample replicate previous findings in the US and again indicate the critical importance of preventing the onset of substance abuse in adolescents at especially high risk because of their bipolar disorder.