An Israeli study has found that there is a higher percentage of smokers among people with bipolar disorder than within the general population in Israel.
The research, which was conducted by Dr. Anatoly Kreinin of the Mental Health Center in Tirat Carmel, also found that individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder tend to consume more alcohol and drugs.
Dr. Kreinin conducted the study in collaboration with Dr. Dimitri Nowicki of the Mental Health Center in Tirat Carmel, Dr. David Rabinowitz of Haifa’s Rambam Hospital, Prof. Avi Weizman of the Geha Hospital, and Dr. Alex Greenspan of the Sha’ar Menashe Mental Health Center.
The results of the study were published in June in the Journal of Comprehensive Psychiatry. It examined 102 patients with bipolar disorder and divided them into categories of smokers and non-smokers, with the smokers being subdivided into moderate smokers (up to 20 cigarettes a day) and heavy smokers. It also examined their age at the time of the onset of the disorder, the number of outbreaks they’ve had, the intensity of their psychotic symptoms, their use of medication, and socio-economic data.
The results show that 53.9 percent of the patients smoked at a rate which is 2.36 higher than the smoking rate among the general population, with 70.9 percent of them having started to smoke before they became ill. Most of the heavy smokers among the patients were under 30 years of age. The study found a definite link between smoking, alcohol consumption and drug use.
Commenting on the study, Dr. Kreinin said that the implications of the findings are that smokers who first develop bipolar-disorder need intervention in order to prevent future addiction to drugs and alcohol. He added that a rehabilitation program for these individuals should involve professionals who treat addictions.
Dr. Kreinin noted that approximately 1 percent (about 75,000 people) of the Israeli population suffers from a manic depressive disorder. He added that when they cooperate with their treatment, they can live normal lives in the community and achieve more, but when they do not cooperate because their addictions significantly reduce their ability to cooperate in treatment, the course of the disease is expected to be negative.