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 is also abusing 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, as addressing both conditions concurrently greatly increases the likelihood of long-term sobriety and mental health management.
Bipolar individuals go from a state of frenzy – 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 have a serious impact on your life if left untreated. When substance abuse becomes intertwined, a dual diagnosis treatment program is the best path for rehabilitation.
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 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 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 first for the proper treatment to take place.