In addiction treatment, co-occurring disorders are the norm—not the exception. While co-occurring disorders can happen in nearly any combination, bipolar disorder and substance use disorders are frequently linked. But why is this the case, and how do you treat this combination of mental health challenges?
If you’re struggling with bipolar and drug abuse, the best thing you can do is reach out to a drug addiction treatment center for help. Call The Bluffs at 850.374.5331 today to learn more about how treatment can help.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that creates significant disruptions in people’s everyday lives. It is characterized by two distinct states: a period of mania followed by a period of depression. People with bipolar disorder swing between these two “poles” and can experience several uncomfortable symptoms.
There are two main types of bipolar disorders, known as bipolar 1 and bipolar 2. People with bipolar 1 experience full mania. They may experience symptoms such as:
- Restless energy
- Racing thoughts
- An exaggerated sense of confidence
In contrast, people with bipolar 2 experience something known as hypomania, which is milder than mania but can still impact a person’s well-being.
In both disorders, these episodes are followed by a period of depression. While in this state, people may experience symptoms such as:
- Chronic fatigue
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feeling sad, lonely, or down
- Suicidal thoughts
Both mania and depression can cause significant impairment in people’s daily functioning and can be improved through quality mental health treatment.
How Bipolar and Drug Abuse Disorders Are Connected
People with bipolar disorder may engage in substance use and develop substance use disorders. This occurs for two primary reasons:
- In manic phases, people are more likely to take risks, such as trying addictive drugs
- People may turn to drugs or alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate their symptoms
Self-medication is often what turns experimental drug use into addiction. People with bipolar disorder may find that their depressive symptoms are reduced when they drink or use drugs. Or, they may turn to these same substances to calm down when in a manic phase.
While self-medication may provide some temporary relief, using these drugs repeatedly can actually lead to a worsening of symptoms and the development of a substance use disorder.
Treating Bipolar and Drug Abuse
Treating bipolar and drug abuse disorders takes deliberate effort on behalf of an addiction treatment team and its patients. When people present with both of these disorders, it is referred to as a “dual diagnosis.” Treatment focuses on addressing the symptoms of both disorders simultaneously.
While many people turn to addiction treatment with the primary goal of achieving abstinence, it is vital that people with co-occurring disorders get treatment for their mental health conditions as well. Those who don’t treat both concerns have a much higher risk of relapse and may need to repeat treatment in order to achieve long-term sobriety.
A dual-diagnosis facility has the tools and expertise to help people with both disorders, providing the best chances of recovery.
Get Help for Bipolar and Drug Abuse at The Bluffs Today
The Bluffs provides targeted treatment for people experiencing both bipolar disorder and addiction. Our team understands that addiction doesn’t occur in a vacuum and that people need holistic mental health strategies to have the best possible chances of recovery.
If you or a loved one is struggling with both of these disorders, reach out to The Bluffs by calling 850.374.5331 and speaking to one of our addiction professionals. You can recover from co-occurring disorders—and the team at The Bluffs has the tools to help you succeed.