For many who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse, the roots of their addiction run very deep. It is common for people who are addicted to substances to have an underlying (and often undiagnosed) mental disorder. One mental condition that is commonly found in those who struggle with drug addiction is bipolar disorder. For those who have bipolar disorder and a substance abuse problem, treatment becomes more difficult.
The following article defines bipolar disorder, its symptoms and treatment options. If you or a loved one are struggling with these co-occurring disorders, finding the right treatment and care is your top priority. If you need help, call Pinnacle Recovery toll-free right now.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Commonly known as manic-depressive disorder, bipolar disorder causes significant and often severe shifts in mood and behavior. Those who have this condition shift from feeling abnormally high (known as mania) and optimistic to the lows of depression. The cycles of feeling good and bad are intense and last for days, months—and even years.
Unlike the normal cycle of good and bad feelings, those with bipolar disorder will experience these feelings to the extreme. For example, people who experience manic episodes may engage in impulsive behavior such as quitting a job, excessive gambling or going on enormous shopping sprees and racking up huge debt. On the other hand, people struggling with a depressive episode may stay in bed for days and not have any energy to take care of themselves.
The signs of bipolar disorder are often subtle. As a result, people are often misdiagnosed and can suffer from the condition for years. By the time they are properly diagnosed, they may already be abusing drugs and/or alcohol in order to deal with these extreme feelings.
Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
The symptoms of bipolar disorder can vary from person to person. Some people may be prone to mania or depression, and others may feel both with equal intensity. The disorder is marked by four specific mood types: mania, depression, hypomania and mixed. Each type of mood has its own set of symptoms.
Those who experience manic symptoms will feel periods of euphoria, happiness and have enormous amounts of energy. These feelings start off as very pleasant but soon spiral out of control into impulsive and reckless behaviors. Additionally, people who are in extended manic states become irritable, aggressive and often lash out verbally or in a physical manner.
Other symptoms include the following:
- Having unrealistic and grandiose beliefs about one’s abilities
- Easily distracted/unable to concentrate
- Jumping from one idea to the next with no focus
- Delusions and hallucinations.
Unlike regular depression, bipolar depression features different symptoms. Those who experience bipolar depression are more likely to show irritability, restlessness and have mood swings. If untreated, bipolar depression can evolve into psychotic depression in which people totally break from reality. The common symptoms seen in bipolar depression include the following:
- Feeling hopeless and sad
- Prolonged fatigue and extended periods of little to no energy
- Extreme appetite and changes in weight
- Thoughts of dying, death and suicide
- Insomnia and other sleep issues
- Inability to concentrate and memory problems
Hypomania is a less severe form of mania. For those who experience hypomania, they experience euphoria and are energetic, but are able to carry on with their daily lives and can stay grounded. While people with hypomania are able to stay in reality, they still engage in behaviors which are reckless and impulsive. As a result, it can significantly impact their intimate and family relationships as well as their employment and finances.
Those who experience mixed episodes feel symptoms that are both manic and depressive in nature. They may experience high energy, creativity, and euphoria but may experience depression along with irritability at the same time. The combination of symptoms increases the risk of self-harm and suicide.
The Phenomenon of “Rapid Cycling”
To make matter worse, some who suffer from bipolar can experience four of more episodes of manic and depressive behavior in a year. Known as rapid cycling, people will experience wild swings in mood. Those who go through rapid cycling will feel as though life is spinning out of control.
Getting Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
For those suffering from bipolar disorder, it is a chronic disorder in which people are prone to relapse. It requires continuous treatment by experienced mental health staff. If people suffer from bipolar disorder along with substance abuse, there is an increased urgency to find a treatment center that features high-quality dual diagnosis treatment.
In a dual diagnosis treatment facility, people will receive high-quality mental health treatment that will tackle their bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. Clients will receive consistent, long-term mental health treatment that includes the use of medications along with therapy and other interventions. Experienced psychiatrists will work alongside treatment staff in creating an individualized treatment program that fits each client’s unique needs.
Along with vital mental health treatment, those suffering from dual diagnosis will also receive rigorous substance abuse treatment. With help from mental health staff, addiction professionals will work closely with clients with dual diagnosis in helping them work through the roots of their drug addiction. Through therapy, 12-step and other support group help and other interventions, clients gain the tools and support they need to break the cycle of addiction. Additionally, clients are given the resources they need to help manage their bipolar disorder.
Today is the Day to Get Help
Seeing a loved one struggle with bipolar disorder is heartbreaking, and that pain is intensified if they are also struggling with addiction. You may feel their situation is hopeless, but help is just a phone call away. Pinnacle Recovery features high-quality treatment programs that will give your loved one the help they need to restore mind, body, and soul. No matter the severity of the addiction or illness, our compassionate staff will work with you, your family and your loved one to get the treatment, resources and help you desperately need.
Don’t delay; call Pinnacle right now.