Imagine feeling happier than you ever have. Everything in your life is going smoothly, and you genuinely feel ecstatic. Now, imagine the exact opposite feeling within minutes. People with bipolar disorder routinely struggle with this situation. Approximately 4.4% of U.S. adults will experience bipolar disorder during their lives. It’s also believed people with bipolar are more likely to be diagnosed with substance abuse disorder. Find out how bipolar and addiction are linked and what treatment options are available.

What is Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder used to be called manic depression, and it results in extreme mood swings that include substantial lows and highs. Someone could feel elated one moment and severely depressed the next. The depression is often so substantial that people lose interest in activities that used to bring pleasure and have difficulty with routine aspects of their lives.

When people begin to feel manic, they might feel invigorated or euphoric. These drastic mood swings can impact judgment, behavior, and one’s ability to fall asleep. Following a comprehensive treatment plan can help individuals overcome bipolar disorder, but there will still be many challenges along the way.

Addiction Defined

Addiction is a chronic disorder that involves the constant desire for a specific feeling or reward. The feelings created by drugs or alcohol often create the reward feeling. This desire remains unwavering despite the consequences that come with substance abuse.

Addiction is classified as a brain disorder since it involves functional changes to the brain. More specifically, someone might experience fluctuations in self-control. A primary issue with addiction is that it leads to the use of substances that cause physical dependencies. It’s possible to be addicted to something innocuous, like video games. A non-substance addiction is entirely mental and requires willpower to keep in check.

In contrast, the consequences of alcohol or substance addiction are much more severe. Alcohol dependence, in particular, can lead to withdrawal if someone discontinues use. Withdrawal from alcohol is a severe situation that can sometimes cause hospitalization and even death if not appropriately managed.

Connection Between Bipolar and Addiction

The connection between bipolar and addiction isn’t fully understood. However, people with bipolar disorder are likely to engage in substance abuse. Substance abuse typically happens during the depression stage of bipolar disorder. When someone feels overwhelmingly depressed, they might turn to alcohol and drugs to overcome their situation. Unfortunately, substance abuse only provides temporary relief. Continued use is necessary to get the same effect. It’s also possible for someone experiencing mania to abuse substances, as well.

When a bipolar individual feels euphoric, they might want to capitalize on the situation by using mind-altering substances. A common scenario can involve a manic individual binge drinking because of how happy they feel.

Bipolar Symptoms

The primary bipolar symptoms will shift depending on whether someone feels depressed or manic. Depressive symptoms include

  • Weight loss/gain
  • A feeling of worthlessness
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Unexplained fatigue

Manic symptoms are much different but can still lead to complications. The symptoms of being manic most often consist of:

  • Extreme talkativeness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Risky behavior
  • Short attention span
  • Inflated self-esteem

In some cases, mania can be so severe that someone can’t function normally. An inability to function can lead to issues with personal and professional relationships.

Signs of Addiction

It’s essential to understand the signs of addiction so you know when to take action. One of the most prominent is losing control of someone’s life. Another significant sign is when someone lies about their substance abuse. They might downplay details about what they use or how often they use it. In some situations, they might outright deny using the substance. People struggling with addiction often get notably aggressive when continually questioned.

Keep an eye out for people in your life who engage in risky behaviors while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Sometimes, people will use these substances as a way to force themselves to engage in certain activities.

Seeking Treatment

In some cases, it is possible to resolve addiction issues on your own; however, that isn’t always possible or advisable, especially when battling with alcohol addiction. You’re much better off working with a professional due to the resources and opportunities available. Handling bipolar disorder on your own is almost impossible and requires professional care and treatment. When seeking treatment, look for a provider that can handle both conditions. Both conditions exist together, and treating one will not help the other. A comprehensive approach that treats both bipolar and addiction is needed.

Take Action

If you struggle to handle bipolar and addiction symptoms, it’s imperative to seek treatment as soon as possible. Treatment will help you address your health issues and regain a balanced and meaningful life. At Comprehensive Wellness Centers, it’s our mission to help you reclaim your life. We take a unique training approach tailored to the needs of each patient. Get in touch with us today to learn more about the benefits we provide.