Bipolar disorder and alcoholism often occur together. Up to half the people who have bipolar disorder also struggle with alcoholism.

Although the association between bipolar disorder and alcoholism isn't clearly understood, these factors likely play a role:

Bipolar disorder and alcoholism or other types of substance abuse can be a dangerous combination. Each can worsen the symptoms and severity of the other. Having both conditions increases the risk of mood swings, depression, violence and suicide.

Someone who has both bipolar disorder and alcoholism or another addiction is said to have a dual diagnosis. Treatment may require the expertise of mental health care providers who specialize in the treatment of dual disorders.

If you've lost control over your drinking or you abuse drugs, get help before your problems become worse and harder to treat. Seeing a mental health expert right away is especially important if you also have signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder or another mental health condition.