In the past, many referred to bipolar disorder as manic depression. This disorder is marked by intense and sudden shifts in behavior, energy levels, and mood. Some believed that drug and alcohol addiction recovery should address severe mental conditions such as bipolar disorder. As medical professionals understand co-occurring disorders better, dual diagnosis treatment is becoming more widespread when someone is suffering from addiction.
Defining Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a mental issue causing unusual shifts in activity levels, concentration, energy, mood, and a person’s ability to carry about daily tasks. This disorder has three different types: bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymic disorder.
If someone doesn’t meet the criteria for these three types of bipolar disorder, then medical professions may give them an “unspecified or other specified bipolar disorder” diagnosis. Patients typically receive a diagnosis during their teen years or early adulthood. This disorder typically requires lifelong treatment.
How Bipolar Disorder and Addiction Connect
If you have bipolar disorder, you might believe you have to experiment with alcohol or drugs to stabilize your symptoms. While these substances provide temporary relief, there are consequences to these mind-altering effects. Using substances is a band-aid solution with quick results that could create lasting issues.
For example, you might find an increase in your energy or mood swings. It’s during instances like these when you’re increasing your risk of addiction. The main reason is that you might feel a sense of normalcy when under the influence. That could lead to using substances at a dangerous level.
How Abusing Substances Worsens Bipolar Disorder
Abusing substances have negative consequences for everyone. Even if you don’t have a history of mental issues, you can still experience anxiety, exhaustion, and mood swings after using alcohol or drugs.
The side effects compound for those who have bipolar disorder. Without proper treatment, the following behaviors could occur:
- Severe hostility or irritability
- Extended episodes of emotional instability
- Severe mood swings happening more frequently
- A higher number of suicide attempts
- Increase in the number of poor judgment decisions
- Quality of life worsens
Understanding if Addiction Perpetuates Bipolar Disorder
There are three risk factors for developing bipolar disorder. These risks include alcohol or drug abuse, experiencing high stress, and having at least one parent or sibling receive a diagnosis. It isn’t uncommon for some to believe that they can’t have this disorder unless their family members receive a diagnosis. However, what they don’t realize is that it could be the cause if they’re abusing substances.
Brain functioning changes as chronic alcohol and drug abuse alters its structure. The release of dopamine in their brain causes positive emotions and for us to experience reward-like feelings. Using substances for an extended timeframe causes tolerance to dopamine releases.
About Dual Diagnosis
It doesn’t matter if you developed bipolar disorder due to substance abuse or if abusing substances lead to developing this disorder; you must undergo dual diagnosis. When individuals suffer from a substance use disorder and mental issues, they require dual diagnosis treatment.
Those who are abusing substances benefit from participating in addiction treatment programs that also address co-occurring disorders, including bipolar disorder. Across the United States, millions of people have co-occurring or dual diagnosis disorders. Addiction treatments for bipolar disorder should include addiction counselors, psychologists, and other professionals experienced with dual diagnosis treatments.
Contact Northern Illinois Recovery Center for Help
You’re not alone if you’re having questions about the connection between addiction and bipolar disorder. If you feel like you’re suffering from these issues, now is the time to find the best support. Contact Northern Illinois Recovery Center at 855.786.1978 for more information about dual diagnosis treatment and how you could benefit from our addiction treatment programs.