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Bipolar Disorder and Addiction: What’s the Connection?

Bipolar Disorder and Addiction

Aug 8, 2022 | Addiction, Mental Health

The Link Between Bipolar Disorder and Addiction

The link between bipolar disorders and substance abuse disorders is a strong one. Those who suffer from bipolar disorder often experience severe mood swings, which can make diagnosing cooccurring disorders difficult. In an effort to soften the effects of these shifts, patients often try to self-medicate, which can potentially lead to drug and alcohol addictions. Drug and alcohol abuse are known to make mental health conditions worse, especially in bipolar disorders. On the other hand, continued substance abuse changes the way the brain works, often adding new symptoms or jumpstarting dormant ones. As the mental illness worsens, the need for substances becomes stronger and stronger, causing a never-ending cycle. Which is why dual-diagnosis treatment is such a crucial part of bipolar and substance abuse recovery. 

Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder

According to The Mayo Clinic, Bipolar disorder is a personality disorder that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (major depressive episodes). Symptoms of bipolar disorder differ based on the mood swing. A manic or hypomanic episode may include three or more of these symptoms:

  • Abnormally upbeat, jumpy or wired
  • Increased activity, energy or agitation
  • Exaggerated sense of well-being and self-confidence (euphoria)
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Unusual talkativeness
  • Racing thoughts
  • Distractibility
  • Poor decision-making

A major depressive episode can be severe enough to cause noticeable difficulty in daily activities, and may include five or more of these symptoms:

  • Depressed mood
  • Marked loss of interest or feeling no pleasure
  • Significant change in weight
  • Either insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Either restlessness or slowed behavior
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Decreased ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
  • Suicidal ideations

A mixed episode can also occur when people with bipolar disorder experience mania or hypomania and depression at the same time.

Click here to speak with Serenity Oaks staff at any time. We’re available 24/7 to provide answers and begin the admissions process right away. Call (833) 720-0708 today.

Signs of Addiction 

Symptoms of addiction can vary according to the substance being abused, mental illness and more. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, “signs of drug addiction include frequent intoxication, hangover or illness, and paraphernalia related to substance abuse”. The following behavioral changes may also indicate drug or alcohol substance abuse:

  • Problems at work or school, including poor performance, lateness or absenteeism, and social dysfunction
  • Loss of energy or motivation
  • Neglecting one’s appearance
  • Spending excessive amounts of money on the substance
  • Obsessing about the next dose, ensuring a consistent supply of the substance, and worrying about the next source of the substance
  • Performing risky behaviors while intoxicated
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms
  • Developing tolerance
  • Stealing to get the drug
  • Lying about consumption habits, or getting defensive or aggressive when questioned about consumption
  • Compulsively taking the drug or being unable to stop taking it

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

Dual diagnosis treatment is designed to address cooccurring mental disorders and substance abuse. Not one patient experiences addiction and mental illness the same way, so no journey to sober living will look the same. Bipolar and substance abuse feed into each other. Treating one without addressing the other could cause severe problems during recovery. Addiction recovery can alter mental health conditions for the better; Learning how to safely and effectively address mental health issues can reduce the desire for drug and alcohol abuse. Sobriety success depends on developing coping mechanisms for cooccurring disorders.

Mental Health and Addiction Treatment at Serenity Oaks

At Serenity Oaks, rehab begins with a medical detox. Once the body is fully cleansed of substances, patients will participate in various forms of holistic therapies to better understand triggers and stressors for bipolar disorders and substance abuse. When dealing with dual-diagnosis, substance abuse treatment is top priority. By controlling the substance abuse symptoms, patients with bipolar disorder can more easily identify the symptoms of mental illness. By developing a personalized treatment plan, sufferers can begin to understand and live with their mental illness. Get in touch with us today at (833) 720-0708.

Get Started at Serenity Oaks

At Serenity Oaks Wellness Center, we offer residential detox and addiction treatment with a wide range of modalities to address the needs of all our clients. Our high staff-to-client ratio ensures everyone that enters our facility gets the personal attention they need and deserve for a safe and successful detox process. To learn more about our program, contact Serenity Oaks Wellness Center today at 844-720-6847.
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