Question: Can I drink alcohol if I have bipolar disorder?
Answer: The important issue about drinking with bipolar disorder is to consider why you would be doing it. If you're doing it to help manage symptoms, even if it's anxiety or insomnia, be aware that we actually have much better and much safer treatments that we can offer you to manage those symptoms. If you're using it recreationally -- if you're using it thinking that you enjoy it -- that's fine, as long as it doesn't interfere with you being well. And a good way to establish this to decide you're going to give yourself absolutely the best chance to get well, and that might mean agreeing that you're not going to use alcohol until you have been well for six consecutive months.
At that point, going back over the different options, risks, and benefits of resuming drinking, I think that would be perfectly reasonable, and for many patients that could turn out to be a rational approach. Drink here or there may not cause you a problem, but if you try that and find out it does, you've got your answer. And we want to have answers personalized to each patient individually so we can make the right decision for each of our patients.