Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes a person’s mind to shift. This affects your mood and energy levels. It becomes challenging to carry out daily responsibilities and causes problems with relationships of every nature. Also known as manic-depressive illness, it is a genetic disease. Moods can be highly elevated, where you’ll feel incredibly alive and full of energy. These are known as manic episodes. It will eventually turn into a sad, depressed state known as depressive episodes.
Addiction to drugs or alcohol is prevalent for those with bipolar disorder. There are a variety of reasons someone with bipolar disorder would abuse substances. Part of the disorder causes emotional ups and downs, which affect how you behave. Your judgment might be off, and you look to numb the dramatic emotions that affect your daily life.
It’s complicated to treat the dual diagnosis disorder between bipolar disorder and substance addiction. Therefore, addiction treatment is specialized for someone with a dual diagnosis disorder. If you struggle with addiction and bipolar disorder, there are ways you can get help and begin recovery. Contact Women’s Recovery at 833.754.0554 for a bipolar treatment program today.
There are four main types of bipolar disorder. They share similar characteristics that include obvious changes in your mood, energy, and activity levels. Your mood rises and then plummets, and you don’t have control over when or where it will happen. The least severe manic period is called hypomanic episodes.
- Bipolar I disorder is a manic episode that lasts up to one week. The symptoms of the manic episode can be so intense that you’ll require hospitalization. Depressive episodes will also occur and will often last up to two weeks. Additionally, it’s possible to experience the symptoms of mania and depression simultaneously.
- Depressive and hypomanic episodes define bipolar II disorder. So the hypomanic episode is not as intense as bipolar I. Full-blown manic episodes won’t occur.
- Cyclothymic disorder or cyclothymia is when many periods of hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms occur for up to two years. For children and adolescents, it will usually be one year of symptoms. A cyclothymic disorder doesn’t meet the requirements to be considered a hypomanic or depressive episode.
- Other specified and unspecified bipolar and related disorders will include bipolar disorder symptoms but don’t match the categories discussed. They may come and go and last for a small amount of time.
The depressive episodes will vary in length based upon the type of bipolar disorder. Typical feelings associated with the depressive episode include sadness, disinterest in life, and hopelessness. You will feel exhausted during this time, as well as agitated, unable to focus, indecisive, and potentially suicidal. These symptoms may include:
- You’ll feel a deep sense of sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness.
- You won’t have any energy.
- Activity levels will decrease.
- You may have problems with sleeping, whether it’s too little or too much.
- You’re unable to enjoy life.
- You feel worried.
- You’ll find it difficult to concentrate.
- You will forget things.
- You may either over or under-eat.
- You’ll feel exhausted all the time.
- You may consider death and suicide at this time.
Hypomanic episodes with bipolar disorder will vary in length and intensity based upon the type. For example, when comparing bipolar II vs. I, one of the significant differences is that the hypomanic episode is less extreme. Bipolar I is defined as full-blown manic episodes. With bipolar II, the manic intensity is much less. A hypomanic episode will include increased productivity and happiness. You’ll feel like you are functioning at a high frequency. You’ll tend to forget that anything is wrong during the time of hypomania. People around you are likely to notice the changes that have occurred with you. Symptoms may include:
- Many people have abnormal highs.
- You’ll have a lot of energy.
- Your activity levels will increase.
- You’ll feel jumpy and wired.
- It is usually challenging to sleep.
- You’re more active than usual.
- You’ll talk quickly and deviate from subjects, moving on to new topics.
- You’ll feel irritable, agitated, and overly sensitive emotionally.
- You may have a hard time holding onto thoughts because they’re moving so quickly through your mind.
- You’ll believe you can multitask with ease.
- You’re prone to doing risky things like spending money, having reckless sex, or abusing substances.
Why People with Bipolar Disorder Abuse Substances
There is no straightforward answer as to why substance abuse and addiction are prevalent among patients with bipolar disorder. One of the reasons is that many people self-medicate with drugs and alcohol to numb the pain associated with their symptoms. When you experience anxiety, pain, depression, or are unable to sleep, it can become overwhelming, leading you to turn to drugs or alcohol. This can decrease the feelings of discomfort for a time. Unfortunately, the high wears off. Studies have found that alcohol and drug use can actually trigger bipolar depression or manic episodes. It becomes a vicious cycle that is challenging to overcome. Complex addiction treatment may be necessary to assist in recovery from dual diagnosis illness.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment at Women’s Recovery
It’s important to note that diagnosing addiction is easier than seeing bipolar disorder for what it is. If you have a history of manic episodes and bipolar depression episodes, your addiction may be covering it up. Some may have developed due to addiction, which makes it even more challenging. Not to say that drugs and alcohol cause bipolar disorder, but they can cause it to surface in the midst of addiction.
For someone with bipolar disease, you’re four times more likely to have a substance abuse problem. Nobody wants to be at the mercy of their shifting emotions. In your feelings of despair, you may feel that drug or alcohol abuse is your only solution. There are alternatives, though, and when you get the help you need, you gain hope with the possibility of leading a normal life. Fortunately, Women’s Recovery offers treatment for both conditions. Our treatment options include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Group therapy
- Meditation therapy
- Yoga therapy
For more information on overcoming your addiction and bipolar disorder, please contact Women’s Recovery today at 833.754.0554.