Early drug use cause bipolar disorder?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. My husband was dx in 1980 with manic depression after a manic phase which brought him to be hospitalized. After that he refused to take the meds prescribed. He has been rapid cycling since but never totally manic or severely depressed until 2000 which was extreme mania and ended up in the hospital again. My question is, is it possible that the bipolar is caused by early drug use? Pre 1980 he experimented with mushrooms, cocaine, etc and always pot. Although he was not totally into the hard drugs but had done them a few times. He was smoking pot on daily basics. Always held a steady job through out all this. Family history or so told no bipolar but a few of us believe the mother (although never mentioned to her) is has borderline personality disorder. Is early drug use a possibility for this disorder??

A. Some theorists believe there is no link and others believe there is a very strong link. A recent study showed people who use hallucinogenic drugs such as marijuana double their risk of having serious mental illness such as schizophrenia. From my experience, which is not a scientific study, I would say yes there is a strong link. The fact is that science still does not have a definitive answer for this question. We will have to wait until further research is conducted to conclusively answer this question.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Mar 2005

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2005). Early drug use cause bipolar disorder?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2005/03/20/early-drug-use-cause-bipolar-disorder/