One of the most challenging mental illnesses to endure is bipolar disorder. Characterized by an intense shift in mood and behavior, those who suffer from bipolar disorder experience a wide range of symptoms on every emotional and physical level.
Bipolar individuals go from a state of frenzy – also known as a manic state – to serious major depression. These changes can occur gradually over days or weeks or suddenly within hours. Bipolar is often described as having high-highs and low-lows because individuals who suffer from it experience emotion on a wide spectrum and every level.
This constant change in mood makes bipolar an exhausting mood disorder that can have a serious impact on your life if left untreated.
Keep an Eye Out for the Signs of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is often mistaken for other disorders such as anxiety or depression, depending on what type of episode they are in when they seek treatment. The key to successfully diagnosing bipolar disorder is to understand all the symptoms.
With bipolar disorder, there are usually two sets of symptoms that must be inspected. Both the manic and depressive side of bipolar comes with shockingly different signs and symptoms:
- Above-average energy levels.
- Restlessness, difficulty concentrating.
- Racing thoughts combined with talking quickly and jumping from one idea to the next.
- Inappropriate or risky behavior.
- Lack of respect for social norms.
- Poor judgment such as taking part in spending sprees or sexual promiscuity.
- Aggressive behavior and denial that anything is wrong.
- Feeling hopelessness, guilt or worthlessness.
- Decreased energy.
- Losing interest in once-enjoyed hobbies or activities.
- Feeling tired.
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering things.
- Difficulty making decisions.
Connecting Substance Abuse and Bipolar Disorder
There is a definite link between substance abuse and bipolar disorder. Although it’s something that researchers are still trying to understand completely, we do know that bipolar disorder often leads to addiction, and addiction can also cause bipolar disorder.
Essentially, bipolar disorder changes the chemical reactions in the brain, causing impulsiveness, depression, and more. This hormonal imbalance has an impact on a person’s mood, emotions, sleep patterns, eating patterns, and more. In many cases, individuals will seek out ways to find relief from these uncomfortable sensations in the form of drugs or alcohol.
Additionally, addiction is a chronic disease that causes a chemical reaction in the brain. Addiction impacts the pleasure and reward centers of the brain. Since bipolar disorder causes impaired judgment, it makes sense that individuals with bipolar may seek to stimulate the pleasure-seeking centers of the brain with drugs or alcohol leading to the need for drug or alcohol addiction treatment.
Medication for Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a chronic illness, which means there is no cure. The only way to find relief from the symptoms is with an expert management treatment plan. For many individuals, this includes a combination of medication and therapy. Some of the approved medications and treatment options for bipolar disorder include:
Mood Stabilizing Drugs:
Medications such as lithium, lamotrigine, and valproic acid are helpful in stabilizing moods and preventing the high-highs and low-lows associated with bipolar disorder.
Olanzapine, risperidone, quetiapine, and lurasidone are also recommending to help prevent manic episodes.
Anti-depressants are not recommended for all individuals suffering from bipolar. However, they can be very helpful in specific cases.
Benzodiazepines and other anti-anxiety medication are also helpful in treating bipolar since they help regulate sleep.
Usually consisting of behavioral therapy, education, and other types of unique therapies, working with a therapist will help foster positive beliefs, a healthy self-image, and happy mood.
Finding a support system that consists of peers, friends, family, and healthcare providers is an important part of treatment for bipolar. Group therapy reinforces healthy routines and provides a sense of camaraderie with others going through similar experiences.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
When a person experiences bipolar disorder and addiction at the same time, it’s referred to as a dual diagnosis. Trained individuals with experience should always be left in charge of treating a dual diagnosis. Otherwise, the client runs the risk of the treatment being unsuccessful.
In most cases, dual diagnosis treats the mental illness and addiction at the same time, which means, as the body rids itself of its physical dependency on substances, more symptoms may present or existing symptoms could worsen. Typically, things must get worse before they get better, which is why recovery with the help of a trained professional is so vital.
To learn more about dual diagnosis, please contact us today.
What is the Holistic Approach?
At Beachway Therapy Center, our dual diagnosis experts use a holistic approach to recovery. This means that we aim to heal the mind, body, and soul of our clients. Our holistic approach is successful because it identifies the underlying issues and works to resolve them rather than simply addressing the issues.
We aim to help clients prepare for a long and healthy life through expert nutritional counseling and physical activity. Reinforcing healthy habits is key to making sure our clients successfully transition back into the real world.
We also cater personalized aftercare plans to ensure the full success of our clients. Features such as placement in a sober living environment, access to group therapy, help to obtain employment, or post-secondary schooling are all vital parts of most aftercare programs designed to prevent relapse.
How to Further Help Yourself
Living with bipolar and substance abuse may seem like an uphill battle. As soon as you make one breakthrough, something else might drag you back. The important thing to remember, as with any treatment program, is that it might take time. Dual diagnosis results do not happen overnight. It takes commitment and hard work to get better. Some other ways that individuals with bipolar can help themselves include:
- Taking part in physical activity to get your heart rate up and relieve stress. Exercising also helps improve sleep patterns and generally reduces the symptoms of bipolar.
- Meditative and low-impact activities such as yoga, tai chi, and qigong are also recommended to help individuals feel more connected to their bodies and help regulate sleep pattern.
- Learning to recognize your symptoms and understand what is happening when they get worse is also key in finding a successful treatment plan for bipolar disorder. You’ll need to stick to medication schedules, attend therapy sessions, and know when to ask for help when you need it.
Call Us Today and Get the Help You Need
If you or a loved one is living with bipolar disorder and substance abuse, there are answers and treatment available. At Beachway Treatment Center, our dual diagnosis specialists can help create a comprehensive recovery plan that will ensure a happy and healthy future.
Call 877-284-0353 today to speak with one of our qualified and compassionate counselors to get started on the road to recovery.