In the U.S. alone, seven million adults are living with bipolar disorder, and close to 20 million people over 12 years of age are struggling with addiction. Combined, bipolar and addiction disorders can pose a variety of mood and health shifts. The mental and physical toll can be demanding when two disorders exist together. Navigating one condition can be challenging; experiencing two conditions compounds the complications.

Those who have received a bipolar disorder diagnosis are often at a higher risk for addictive disorders, and this is why it’s essential to understand the risk factors of co-occurring conditions better. Learn about the different approaches to co-occurring disorder treatment.

What Are Co-occurring Disorders?

A co-occurring disorder is when a mental illness and a disorder related to substance abuse coexist. In some cases, the combination can be tough to treat, and bipolar and addiction are prime examples. It is common for those with co-occurring disorders to use substances to help ease pain and discomfort, which only worsens the conditions.

Treatment Difficulty

People who are in active treatment are more likely to experience co-occurring disorders. Both disorders may interfere with each other, complicating treatment. Someone in treatment for bipolar disorder and experiencing active bipolar symptoms may be more likely to experience additional issues that lead to substance abuse. The same goes for those who might be in treatment for an addiction disorder. They’re more likely to experience signs of anxiety or depression.

The main barrier to treating co-occurring disorders is a lack of a clear care and service model. Treatment has to be designed around promoting positive outcomes. It has to also cater to combating the interference of another diagnosis.

Understanding the Impact of Bipolar and Addiction

Having a drug addiction or the tendency to abuse substances is a disease. It directly affects both a person’s brain and behavior. Those adverse effects eventually lead to less control. People will experience an inability to maintain control when around drugs or medications. One thing to consider is that certain drugs can, in a way, rewire different areas of the brain. Those neurological systems will often affect a person’s behavior and mood.

With co-occurring conditions, people are more likely to experience more irritable states. They’re also at a higher risk for hospitalizations and resistance to treatment. You can combat these side effects by tackling potential treatment resistance, which is more effective when dealing with addiction and is one of the key options for better recovery.

With bipolar disorder, it can be challenging to do regular tasks. It can be even more difficult to maintain relationships, raising the stress factor of those suffering from this disorder.
It also raises their risk of incorporating substance use into their self-treatment plan.

Insight Into Treatment Approaches

Treatment can be challenging, and relapse is a reality for many people. To overcome treatment failure or relapse, consider a treatment approach that works best for your condition and what you need.

Intensive Outpatient Approach

One condition can affect the other if it isn’t treated, so both conditions must be addressed. Treating both of the disorders at the same time is a more effective option. Dual treatment increases the chance of succeeding with both treatment plans. The intensive outpatient approach targets various problems, from depression and substance dependencies to different addictions and struggles with shifts in mood.

It’s one of the most prevalent addiction treatment options because it’s not a residential program but offers quality behavioral healthcare.

Assertive Community Treatment

With ACT, a team approach is used, which helps to better meet the needs of someone experiencing severe mental illness. The goal of ACT is to quickly eliminate any debilitating effects that are being experienced by co-occurring disorders.

ACT is very intensive; however, it significantly reduces the chance of hospitalization for those with bipolar and addiction-based disorders. Those in treatment will notice an improvement in their quality of life and will likely also have a better chance at successful rehabilitation.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

DBT is a type of psychotherapy that helps treat various disorders. These disorders are often interpersonal or personality-based. This form of treatment is a type of talking therapy that can benefit someone struggling with dual disorders. One way that DBT helps with co-occurring disorders is its ability to help with developing specific skills.

These skills can help manage emotional dysregulation. It allows people to form better coping mechanisms as well. Also, DBT has a higher rate of effectiveness when targeting specific conditions.

Medication Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment is often very effective. When combined with counseling and other behavioral therapies, it’s easier for people with co-occurring disorders to sustain their recovery post-treatment. The main goal of medication-assisted treatment is to help people to prevent the chance of relapse. The concept is meant to increase the likelihood of successful recovery while developing effective coping mechanisms.

Facing Co-Occurring Disorders Head-On

Co-occurring disorders can be challenging to treat because one dramatically affects the other if left untreated. Bipolar and addiction affect the lives of millions of people every year in the U.S. alone. These disorders impact a person’s ability to lead a comfortable life, and this is why so many people are seeking treatment. To approach your concerns head-on, learn more with Comprehensive Wellness Centers.