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.

Making it even more complex is when that person with bipolar disorder abuses drugs or alcohol.  Here at Beachway, these patients enter our Dual Diagnosis treatment program.  This combines bipolar disorder treatment with a psychiatrist and substance abuse rehab with certified therapists.

It is imperative for individuals with more than one condition to undergo dual diagnosis treatment. Addressing both conditions concurrently greatly increases the likelihood of long-term sobriety and mental health management.

Bipolar individuals go from a frenzied state – also known as a manic state – to serious 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 seriously impact your life if left untreated.  When substance abuse becomes intertwined, a dual diagnosis treatment program is the best rehabilitation path.

Connecting Substance Abuse and Bipolar Disorder

There is a definite link between bipolar disorder and addiction. 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 impacts 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.

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 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.  However, a bipolar diagnosis must be made before beginning a treatment plan.

Take Step #1 – Begin Your Recovery

Call 877-284-0353 or complete the form below

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:

Maniac Symptoms

  • Above-average energy levels.
  • Restlessness, difficulty concentrating.
  • Irritability.
  • 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.

Depressive Symptoms

  • Feeling hopelessness, guilt, or worthlessness.
  • Decreased energy.
  • Losing interest in once-enjoyed hobbies or activities.
  • Feeling tired.
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering things.

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 include:

Mood Stabilizing Drugs:

Medications such as lithium, lamotrigine, and valproic acid help stabilize moods and prevent the high-highs and low-lows associated with bipolar disorder.

Anti-Psychotic Drugs:

Olanzapine, risperidone, quetiapine, and lurasidone are also recommending to help prevent manic episodes.