Are Bipolar Disorder and Addiction Connected?

Like the effects of addiction, bipolar disorder can affect a person’s emotional and physical well-being. People with bipolar and substance use disorder have greater financial instability, experience more unexpected injuries, experience relationship problems, and have a higher suicide rate than the general population.

According to several studies, about 60 percent of people with bipolar disorder have a history of substance abuse and addiction.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder characterized by unexpected and intense changes in behavior, mood, and energy levels. Symptoms range from emotional high (mania or hypomania), emotional low (depression), and mixed episodes.

Mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, and bipolar, occur due to chemical imbalances in the brain. Interpersonal conflicts and interactions with people can trigger these conditions. Mental illness and mood disorders are complex conditions that affect 46.6 million adults in the United States.

Some symptoms of bipolar disorder include:

  • Trouble controlling thoughts or managing emotions
  • Unstable and intense relationships with people
  • Intense and uncontrollable fear of abandonment
  • Moment-to-moment swings with their mood, behavior, emotions, self-image, and relationship with people
  • Impulsive and sometimes reckless nature
  • Self-harm or suicidal feelings
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Mania

Are Bipolar Disorder and Addiction Connected?

Yes, there is a link between bipolar disorder and addiction. People with bipolar disorder often turn to drugs or alcohol to ease their depressive and manic symptoms.

However, in some cases, bipolar disorder is triggered by substance abuse. Addiction causes changes to the brain. It may cause the brain to depend on the drug, creating a compulsive need to consume more.

In severe cases, addiction can rewire the brain, causing chemical changes that can lead to bipolar disorder.

Therefore, people who did not have mental health conditions before addiction can develop bipolar, and people living with bipolar often have the urge to turn to drug use, leading to addiction.

According to research, gender and age can play a role. Older people with bipolar are less likely to turn to substance use than younger ones. And men with addiction are more likely to have self-destructive impulses than women or older men.

Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder

Substance abuse can make bipolar symptoms worse, and most times, people with both conditions find recovery challenging.

In many circumstances, bipolar disorder may go unnoticed and undiagnosed in individuals with addiction. Diagnosing bipolar and addiction can be difficult because they have symptoms in common.

Although it may be difficult, it is also very feasible to diagnose bipolar disorder and a substance use disorder. If you or someone you know is struggling with both, it’s important to seek addiction treatment at a dual-diagnosis rehab.

How Can I Get Help if I Have Bipolar Disorder and Addiction?

As mentioned above, addiction can negatively affect bipolar disorder. It’s necessary to treat addiction and bipolar disorder together. A dual-diagnosis rehab can address both. The following are offered during dual-diagnosis addiction treatment:

  • Medications

Medications for addiction help ease withdrawal symptoms that people will experience during detoxification.

Medications for bipolar help balance and calm a person’s manic or depressive mood. Traditional drugs used are lithium, benzodiazepines, and antipsychotics.

  •  Therapy

Therapy involves different approaches to address feelings, impulses, and thoughts that lead to a desire to escape through alcohol and drugs. An experienced therapist will help clients understand and examine their feelings. Clients also learn skills to manage and regulate their emotions, which help control their actions. Therapy will also help learn the coping skills needed to live with bipolar disorder.

Seek Dual-Diagnosis Treatment at Enlight Treatment Center

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction and bipolar disorder, it’s best to seek treatment for both at a dual-diagnosis rehab. While traditional rehab addresses addiction, dual diagnosis can treat both.

At Enlight Treatment Center in Ventura, CA, we offer integrated treatment and dual-diagnosis approaches to tackle substance abuse and co-occurring mental conditions like bipolar disorder together.

Chances of relapse are higher if the focus is on treating one condition while ignoring the other. That’s why our specialists offer intensive diagnosis and treatment to clients with both conditions.

Contact us today for high-quality and effective treatment methods that promise long-term recovery.

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Our admissions team is available 24/7 for those in need of treatment. Even if we are not a match for you or your loved one, we are here to help. It is a cornerstone practice of  Enlight Treatment Center to serve as a bridge between the community and treatment.