The comorbidity between bipolar disorder and alcoholism has been recognized since Kraeplin´s work, in the beginning of the century.
Current epidemiological data refer to the Bipolar Disorder as the Axis I disorder most commonly associated with substance abuse, being alcohol the most frequent.
The aim of this work is to present a revision of the epidemiology, diagnostic issues, clinical course, physiology, genetics, prognostic and treatment options of comorbid bipolar disorder and alcoholism.
The method used consists of bibliographic research and medline related articles research.
After the research we can concluded that the comorbidity between alcoholism and bipolar disorder is a challenge as far as the diagnostic and treatment options are concerned.
The comorbidity between the two disorders has implications for diagnostic and treatment. On the one hand alcohol use worsens bipolar disorder and on the other hand this one can be a risk factor for alcoholism.
Although there are several hypotheses to explain the relationship between alcoholism and bipolarity, that relationship is complex, bidirectional and not well understood.
Treatment options range from psychopharmacological and psychotherapeutic interventions, adapted to the clinical context of each patient.