Treating Bipolar And Drug Abuse
Treating bipolar and drug abuse disorders takes deliberate effort on behalf of an addiction treatment team and its patients. When people present with both of these disorders, it is referred to as a dual diagnosis. Treatment focuses on addressing the symptoms of both disorders simultaneously.
While many people turn to addiction treatment with the primary goal of achieving abstinence, it is vital that people with co-occurring disorders get treatment for their mental health conditions as well. Those who dont treat both concerns have a much higher risk of relapse and may need to repeat treatment in order to achieve long-term sobriety.
A dual-diagnosis facility has the tools and expertise to help people with both disorders, providing the best chances of recovery.
Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder May Contribute To Drug Use And Addiction
Nadia Bening, MD, a psychiatrist at Driftwood Recovery Center in Austin, Texas, tells WebMD Connect to Care that a large number of people with bipolar disorder may try to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to deal with their symptoms. According to Bening, people may use particular drugs during manic or depressive episodes for specific reasons.
During a manic episode, someone may use amphetamines or cocaine to prolong the period of high energy and excitement, or they may use downers like alcohol or sedatives to try to calm down. While experiencing a depressive episode, they may use stimulants in an attempt to elevate their mood or energy level, or sedatives to distract from feelings of sadness or hopelessness.
So can bipolar cause addiction? Not exactlyâbut because of the frequent comorbidity of the two conditions, it can certainly make some individuals much more prone to developing a substance use disorder.
Dual Diagnosis Integrated Treatment At Recovery At The Crossroads
If youre worried that youve been using substances to self-medicate due to symptoms of bipolar disorder, we can help you. At Recovery at the Crossroads, were experts in dual diagnosis, and our team is fully equipped to offer the support and guidance necessary to get sober and gain control over your mental health symptoms. Call today at for more information.
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Addiction In Medical Professionals
It is no surprise that the accessibility of drugs in the anesthesiology professional setting has resulted in the development of countless addictions. Whether due to stress, exhaustion, or a need to focus, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare personnel account for some of the highest numbers of substance use disorders in the workforce. What makes this so dangerous is the amount of responsibility that these individuals hold. A medical professional with an addiction is more likely to cause an accident relating to their patients health.
These patients are at their doctors mercy and can be in an especially vulnerable position when receiving treatment. In the case of anesthesia, science is extremely meticulous. If not done properly, it can have a serious negative effect on the patient involved. Whether they are aware while performing a procedure or if they have a negative reaction to substance use, an anesthesiologist under the influence runs the risk of causing life-altering damage.
Medications For Bipolar Disorder And Addiction
For many individuals with bipolar disorder, medication therapy is highly effective at controlling symptoms. Stabilizing moods and restoring balance to energy levels, psychiatric medications can also help curb the impulse to abuse alcohol or drugs. However, medications must be selected and adjusted carefully, as certain medications can trigger manic episodes or worsen depression.
For example, antidepressants used successfully to treat major depression may not effectively treat bipolar depression. They can induce a manic phase in bipolar patients, mainly if they are used without other medications. The most common drugs used to treat bipolar disorder fall into the following categories:
- Mood Stabilizers: Lithium is the most widely prescribed mood-stabilizing medication for bipolar disorder. Lithium is most effective at preventing or reducing the severity of manic episodes and may be prescribed in combination with other medications.
- Anticonvulsant Drugs: Anti-seizure medications such as Divalproex , lamotrigine , carbamazepine , and topiramate are also prescribed to prevent mood instability in individuals with bipolar disorder. These drugs are beneficial for reducing the frequency and severity of depressive episodes.
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Links To Substance Abuse
The National Institute of Mental Health reports that substance abuse is common among people who have bipolar disorder, although the reasons for this link arent altogether clear.
For some, substance abuse seems like a great treatment for bipolar problems. When these people feel a boost of mania coming on, they drink alcohol or take a sedating drug, all with the hope of stopping the shift and remaining on an even keel. When depression appears, they use energizing drugs in order to stay afloat and busy. For them, the drugs work like levers to amend the shifts that come with the mental illness.
For others, the substance abuse is a symptom of mania or depression. When these people feel manic and invincible, they dont see the risks involved with drug use. That means theyre at risk for taking more than they should, all because of their mania. During a depressive episode, the dangers of drugs are welcome or unimportant, as they dont see the point in preserving life.
Substance abuse tends to grow worse with time, as each hit of drugs tends to do damage that can make underlying mania or inherent depression deeper and stronger.
Some people with bipolar disorder just dont know of another way to live, and that might remain true even if they seek help from an expert.
Bipolar And Addiction Treatment Options
Bipolar disorder and addiction require treatment for both co-occurring disorders. This involves attacking both problems at once. Doctors use medications and therapy to treat these conditions.
Mental health conditions like bipolar disorder and addiction disorder can be common. However, bipolar disorder is a complex psychiatric condition, especially when combined with a substance use disorder. Therefore, treatment should draw from multiple modalities and disciplines to address the clients neurological, psychological, physical, and psychosocial needs. In addition to intensive individual therapy, clients with dual diagnoses of bipolar disorder and addiction can benefit from the following research-based interventions.
- Motivational Interviewing : Motivational Interviewing is a collaborative approach in which the therapist and client become partners in helping the client define sources of motivation and achieve self-defined goals. This positive, client-centered approach is instrumental in treating individuals working to recover from the effects of addiction. A study published in Issues in Mental Health Nursing showed that MI could help clients with bipolar disorder overcome ambivalent feelings about psychiatric medication.
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Learn More About Dual Diagnosis Treatment In North Carolina Today
Bipolar disorder can make healing from addiction more difficult than it already is. It can also put individuals at a higher risk for relapse. For these reasons, it is vital that people suffering from dual diagnosis substance use and bipolar disorder obtain the personalized treatment they need to get their symptoms under control and put the drugs and alcohol away for good.
Addiction treatment programs in North Carolina can help patients with bipolar disorder and addiction using an integrated treatment approach referred to as dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis programs aim to address and manage co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.
If you or a loved one are struggling with a mental health condition and substance abuse, take the first step towards freedom by contacting us at Carolina Center for Recovery today.
Whats Involved In Dual Diagnosis Treatment
At Harmony Ridge Recovery Center, we offer many different levels of care. Treating bipolar disorder and addiction can be challenging, and treatment looks different depending on individual circumstances.
Depending on your treatment goals for bipolar disorder, your treatment plan might involve inpatient care, outpatient care, or a combination of both. Here are some of the care options offered at Harmony Ridge:
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How Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed
A mental disorder like bipolar can only be diagnosed by a medical professional. Its one of the most challenging mental health issues to diagnose, particularly when theres also a substance abuse issue at play. Bipolar disorder and substance use disorders share common symptoms, and the following tests help diagnosing professionals make the distinction:
- A doctor uses a range of psychological tests to evaluate the mood, behavior, thoughts and feelings of the individual. They identify examples of depressive or manic episodes and might speak to friends and family to get a more varied perspective.
- Doctors often ask people who display symptoms of bipolar disorder to fill out a mood chart that displays the frequency and intensity of episodes, making an accurate diagnosis easier.
- The medical professional assesses the individuals medical history and history of substance abuse.
- The doctor checks the symptoms the individual displays against the DSM-5 criteria for other mental health disorders addiction and major depression share similarities to bipolar disorder.
Can Addiction Cause Bipolar Disorder
You may already know that routine substance abuse causes physical changes in the brain. Over time, these physical changes have a clear impact on thinking and behavior. If substance abuse is severe and long term, it has the potential to cause substance-induced bipolar disorder. Therefore, its possible that someone with no previous mental health issues could develop bipolar disorder as a result of drug or alcohol abuse.
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People With Bipolar Disorder Have High Rates Of Co
People with bipolar disorder have high rates of co-occurring substance use disorders. Many complex biological and personal factors lead to the development of these comorbid disorders, but the case is often simple: people with bipolar disorder frequently start using alcohol or other drugs to cope with their symptoms.
Unfortunately, the negative consequences of co-occurring bipolar and substance use disorders include increased risks of psychosis, suicide and self-harm through reckless actions.
Bipolar And Addiction Symptoms
In an attempt to regulate these changes in mood and energy, individuals with bipolar disorder may abuse drugs or alcohol. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry , up to 70 percent of people who meet the criteria for bipolar disorder also have a history of substance abuse. This percentage far exceeds the general population. Substance abuse affects the outcomes of bipolar disorder in several ways:
- Intensification of symptoms
- Longer episodes of emotional instability
- Increased number of suicide attempts
- Diminished quality of life
Treating bipolar disorder and substance abuse can be complex, requiring intensive attention to the symptoms of mental illness and the behaviors associated with addiction. The treatment results for individuals with dual diagnoses, or a mental illness co-occurring with a substance use disorder, are generally much better if both conditions are treated simultaneously within the same program. It should cross-train staff in mental health care and substance abuse treatment to provide the most effective care.
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Getting Support For Severe Adhd
If youre experiencing severe ADHD symptoms, you dont need to face them alone. These resources offer guidance, support, and the chance to connect with other people with ADHD.
- ADDitude: Attend expert-led webinars and access recordings of previous sessions for free.
- Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder : Find which of its nationwide in-person support groups are closest to you.
- Attention Deficit Disorder Association : If theres no in-person group nearby, there are online support groups and webinars you can join.
- ADHD Online: Have questions about ADHD? This site runs free webinars with expert advice and question-and-answer sessions.
- nonstimulants such as clonidine and guanfacine
Many of the medications in this list are available in immediate-release, intermediate-release, and extended-release forms, Brody adds. Some are also classed as stimulants, while others arent.
How To Treat Addiction In Someone With Bipolar Disorder
While having an SUD and BD can make both conditions harder to treat, seeking early treatment can be beneficial.
Research from 2021 suggests taking an individual approach when treating people for BD and SUDs. The substance a person is using inappropriately may affect the kind of treatment they require.
Researchers suggest using lithium and valproate to treat someone who has BD and a cannabis or cocaine use disorder.
Scientists have also found that the drug citicoline can reduce cocaine use in people with BD. However, the effects of this treatment may reduce over time.
SAMHSA suggests that certain drugs to treat BD may also treat SUDs. Researchers found that lithium, in combination with divalproex sodium, a mood stabilizer, helped reduce alcohol intake.
Quetiapine is an antipsychotic that can help treat BD. Some studies suggest that it is also useful for reducing alcohol intake or cravings. However, other studies found that quetiapine had no effect. With this in mind, further research is necessary to confirm its effect.
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Statistics On Bipolar Disorder And Drug Abuse
Nearly 60 percent of people with bipolar disorder have had a substance use disorder at least once. Alcohol is the substance most commonly abused by people with bipolar disorder and in general. People with bipolar disorder are 14 times more likely to abuse drugs and six times more likely to have alcohol dependence than the general population. Substance abuse in people with bipolar disorder is also linked to higher rates of suicide, hospitalization and accidents, as well as lower rates of participation in treatment.
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- Lack of concentration
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Major depressive episodes leave people unable to function in social or occupational settings. A persons depressed mood has to last at least 2 weeks to meet the clinical definition of an episode. Like manic episodes, a true major depressive episode is not the result of drug abuse.
Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder
Diagnosing bipolar disorder in a person with an addiction is difficult. The symptoms of the episodes experienced by people with bipolar disorder mirror many symptoms of drug abuse and addiction. Doctors diagnose bipolar disorder through several tests to help distinguish between a bipolar disorder and addiction.
Drug Abuse, Bipolar Disorder, or Both?
The symptoms of bipolar disorder often resemble the signs of drug use and addiction. Someone going through a manic episode can look and act like someone on Cocaine. Both experience an elevated mood and energy. Those having a major depressive episode can also have the same symptoms as someone in withdrawal.
If someone with an addiction has a co-occurring bipolar disorder, they need the help of someone trained in making a dual diagnosis. Because symptoms of both conditions can overlap, its important to see an experienced specialist. Someone with experience can distinguish between symptoms of addiction and bipolar disorder.
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Medication For Bipolar Depression
Acute and long-term treatment to manage a diagnosed bipolar disorder may include medications. The prescribed drug depends on the individuals symptoms and type of bipolar disorder they have. Commonly prescribed medications for bipolar depression are mood stabilizers, antidepressants, antipsychotics, antidepressant-antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety medicine.
While there is no known cure for bipolar disorder, drugs can help manage the symptoms to provide the sufferer with a better quality of life. These drugs are typically safe when taken at the prescribed dose they become unsafe though when dosage exceeds what was prescribed or due to the addictive nature of some drugs.
As every person is unique, it may take time to find the right type of medication and dosage that works best. A combination of medications works well for managing the symptoms, such as Lamictal to cope with bipolar depression and Lithium for bipolar mania.
Also, over time the best medication for an adult may change due to side effects or symptoms becoming intolerable, which is why it is important to keep an eye on these signs.
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Risk Factors And Causes Of Bipolar
Theres no single cause of bipolar disorder according to scientists, who believe a culmination of factors are responsible for triggering the mental illness. Its exactly the same with drug and alcohol addiction. Although current research doesnt give a clear idea of what each risk factor is, the following factors are theorized to play a role.
Addiction And Bipolar Disorder: Whats The Connection And How Do I Get Help
Today marks World Bipolar Day 2021, an event that provides an opportunity to examine the origins and sustaining factors of bipolar disorder, as well as ways to reduce stigma and help ourselves and our loved ones manage this condition. Its also an opportunity to examine the relationship between bipolar disorder and alcohol or drug addiction.
Like other types of serious mental health issues, addiction and bipolar disorder are closely linked. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that over nine million of American adults currently struggle with a co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorder, and the onset and progression of bipolar disorder is one of the largest drivers of this alarming correlation. SAMHSA also reports that 30-50 percent of people who struggle with bipolar disorder will develop a substance use disorder during some point in their lives, for which theyll need comprehensive dual-diagnosis treatment.
Understanding the relationship between addiction and bipolar disorder, including how one condition affects the other, factors that exacerbate the association and ways to get treatment, can help you or your loved one either prevent, independently manage or get help for this complex co-occurring disease. You dont have to struggle with addiction and bipolar disorder on your own, nor should you.
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