Bipolar disorder, once known as “manic depression,” creates an erratic behavioral pattern. Mood shifts can be fast and furious, from the extremes of happiness to the depths of anger or despair. While everyone experiences a wide range of emotions, including some of the extremes, it’s the prevalence and lack of control that characterizes bipolar disorder. And when combined with a substance abuse problem, they become a powerful, seemingly unified force to overcome.

But dual diagnosis treatment options can help. By identifying the disorder and treating both conditions in an integrated program, there’s a better chance of recovery.

Why Bipolar Disorder and Addictions are Related

As with other addictions, the self-medicating phenomenon plays a big role in the connection between bipolar disorder and addictions. Symptoms such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, hallucinations, delusions, self-loathing and general fatigue set a dangerous bar that the person suffering would naturally want to relieve. Certain drugs offer relief, at least from some of the symptoms, and so the cycle of addiction can begin.

Unfortunately, many of the options that bipolar disorder sufferers turn to can make symptoms worse, not better. Cocaine, opiates, prescription medication, or alcohol may offer temporary relief, but may also trigger manic episodes. This can create a cyclical effect where more drugs and more alcohol are needed, which trigger more episodes.

Who Suffers From Co-Occurring Bipolar Disorder and Addiction?

Bipolar disorder can affect anyone at any age. But young males have a higher rate of substance abuse than older males or females of any age, according to the Bipolar Journal. Although young women are less likely, they can still be affected by the same condition.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Options

The critical element in treating a person with co-occurring bipolar disorder and addiction is correctly diagnosing both, and treating both in an integrated program. At Cornerstone, we have a Co-occurring Mental Health Program that’s developed and structured to the needs of the individual. There is no single treatment for all people suffering from addiction, especially when there’s an underlying condition such as bipolar disorder and any of the other conditions that often accompany it.

Because bipolar disorder requires treatment, that’s one of the first steps in recovery. When the right medication is prescribed to combat the anxiety, depression and other symptoms of bipolar disorder, clients can begin to work through addiction recovery. One method is group sessions with others who share the same struggles.

If you or someone you love suffers from bipolar disorder and addiction or another co-occurring disorder, call Cornerstone Recovery Center confidentially at 888-711-0354 or contact us online. We can help you get the necessary treatment today.