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Am J Addict. 1998 Summer;7(3):210-20.

Treatment of comorbid affective and substance use disorders. Therapeutic potential of anticonvulsants.

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  • 1Depression Evaluation Service, New York State Psychiatric Institute, NY 10032, USA.


The authors examine the use of anticonvulsants/mood stabilizers to treat patients with substance use disorders. Although there is high comorbidity of bipolar and substance use disorders, there has been little research on the use of these medications to treat bipolar disorders in patients who also have a substance use disorders. However, symptoms of bipolar disorders, such as irritability and mood lability, may be difficult to distinguish from the effects of acute and chronic substance use; therefore, reliable diagnostic methods will need to be developed. Further, a new, hypothesized syndrome, Explosive Mood Disorder, is described that may be distinct from the bipolar spectrum. It is characterized by childhood onset of temper outbursts and irritable mood that persists into adolescence and adulthood, is connected to marijuana use, and responds to divalproex sodium. The authors review studies of prevalence, comorbidity, family history, longitudinal course, and placebo-controlled trials of anticonvulsant medications to evaluate the validity and treatment implications of this proposed entity.

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