Local Center For Bipolar Disorder Dedicated

CLEVELAND (AP) - More than 60 percent of adults with bipolar disorders also abuse alcohol or drugs, but specialists lack information on how to treat people with both illnesses.

University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University hope to increase knowledge on the dual diseases through a $2 million center for research and treatment dedicated on Tuesday.

The hospital is a top research center for bipolar disorder, which is characterized by extreme mood swings.

"The severity and frequency of episodes increases in people who have dual diagnosis," said Dr. Pedro Delgado, chairman of psychiatry. "It ends up being a very destructive thing."

The center will work with other hospitals and mental health agencies to improve early recognition of bipolar disorder and substance abuse and to research drug treatments.

Denise O'Brien of Gates Mills said she hopes the center will get more children into treatment. Her son Conor, 22, who suffered from bipolar, killed himself two years ago.

"I hope this will help zero in, so a kid won't have to be picked up, flaming out of his mind, by the police," she said. "This is an illness that can kill. It's as lethal as cancer."

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)