The study consisted of two groups: 98 young people who did not have bipolar disorder – the control group and another one o 105 young people with Bipolar disorder. The average age of the participants who enrolled for the study was 14 at the time of enrollment. Bipolar disorder is a condition that leads to a significant shift in the patient’s mood, energy, activity levels and in the process impedes one’s ability to conduct everyday duties.

At the start of the experiment, 34 percent of the young men suffering from bipolar disorder also showed a disorder in substance abuse. This suggested that they had a problem with the abuse of drugs or alcohol. On the other hand, only 4 percent of the control group kids abused drugs.

Apart from this, the study also found out that about one-quarter of kids with bipolar disorder was cigarette users. This was in contrast to only 4 percent of the other group.

The Second Study

Upon completion of the first study, the researchers allowed the participants to continue with their normal lives as they wished. After 5 years, they reached back to the participants. This time round they took in 68 of the original bipolar patients and 81 of the control group. This time round they found out that only 26 percent of the control group faced difficulties with drug and alcohol abuse.

People with a persistent bipolar condition their risk was much higher

The research leader of the study was Dr. Timothy Wilens of MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston where he works as the chief of child and adolescent psychiatry. He said that the symptoms for bipolar disorder begin to manifest before the abuse of alcohol, cigarettes or drugs starts.

The implication of this is that health-care practitioners dealing with children have to also watch out for any signs indicating cigarette smoking or substance abuse.

The study also expanded its research to bring in the relation between bipolar disorder and conduct disorder. According to a definition provided by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, conduct disorder is a condition in which the patient becomes defiant, impulsive and possibly criminal behavior. When the conditions manifest in the same individual, it increases the risks of smoking as well as abuse of drugs and alcohol.

Still on the same research, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) could not be proven to have an impact on the drug and alcohol abuse.

Wilens said that he and his team were perplexed upon the discovery that conduct disorder, but not ADHD, had a bigger role when it comes to substance usage.

He explained that there is a possibility that conduct disorder is the main causative factor for teens with bipolar disorder drinking and abusing drugs as they become adults.