Guest Post: Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse

Guest post by Jana Price

It is very common for those who struggle with substance abuse to also struggle with an additional mental illness or disorder. One of the more common dual diagnoses with Substance Abuse is Bipolar Disorder.  More than half of those seeking treatment for Bipolar Disorder are also in treatment for substance abuse.

It’s important to understand Bipolar Disorder, identify it and treat it affectively. Of course, life is full of ups and down and part of being human is experiencing a range of emotions. However, Bipolar Disorder (a.k.a Manic Depressive Disorder) is characterized by extreme and unusual shifts in mood, emotion, and productiveness.

Studies show that about 60% of those with Bipolar Disorder will abuse drugs or alcohol. If Substance Abuse goes untreated, it makes the road to recovery from Bipolar nearly impossible.

Bipolar Disorder is a brain disorder about 3 percent of the U.S. population have. This mental illness usually surfaces in adolescence and in early adulthood and is a lifelong illness. Similar to substance abuse treatment, Bipolar Disorder must be carefully treated and supported throughout a person’s life.

Diagnosing someone with Bipolar Disorder can be complicated. Many times, people will be diagnosed with something like Depression before getting properly diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. This delay in diagnosis can postpone or prevent treatment.

Studies show that about 60% of those with Bipolar Disorder will abuse drugs or alcohol. If Substance Abuse goes untreated, it makes the road to recovery from Bipolar nearly impossible. When someone abuses drugs and/or alcohol, it affects mood and behavior which can also mimic symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. This is why detoxing from substances is an imperative piece in the beginning stages of treatment.

Thrive Treatment Center understands how crucial it is to provide a safe and superlative detox in order for treatment to be successful and long term. Once someone with substance abuse has fully detoxed, highly qualified psychiatrists and therapists can accurately diagnose patients.

The following characteristics could be symptoms of Bipolar Disorder and or Substance Abuse

  • Sudden mood change.
  • Periods of unusual personality change like hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness.
  • Significantly decreased need for sleep.
  • Racing speech, flight of ideas, impulsiveness.
  • Poor financial choices.
  • Difficulty sleeping; early-morning awakening
  • There are many other symptoms of Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse.

Having a Dual Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse can make treatment more difficult. In order to provide ample treatment, substance abuse treatment should occur at the same time as Bipolar Disorder treatment and in the same program.

Some of the treatment plans offered include medications and different forms of therapy. The most successful therapy modalities used are Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy and Trauma Therapies.

Recovering from Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse is very possible and treatment is effective! Thrive Treatment Centers are a great place to recover and staff can guide clients to the road of recovery from Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse.

• • •

Note: Getting High on Recovery is not endorsing Thrive Treatment, nor receiving any payment for republishing this article. Article is published based on the merits of the content and is provided courtesy of Thrive Treatment.

About 

Janna Price

My name is Janna Price and I am an MSW student at UCLA with a concentration in mental health. While in school I am also interning as a Children’s Mental Health Therapist in South Central L.A. Upon pursuing my Master’s in Social Welfare, I’ve spent the last ten years working in various child development centers as an administrator and an educator. Throughout my career I have worked with many children of all developmental stages and mental illnesses.

Photos by melissa mjoen and mile modic on Unsplash, and Thrive Treatment


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