Bipolar Disorder and Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Millions of people suffer from bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, many of these people also suffer from a co-occurring substance abuse problem. Dual diagnosis treatment is the only chance many of these individuals will have of conquering their addiction and the disruptive symptoms of their bipolar disorder.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, or manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme shifts in a person’s mood, energy and ability to cope with daily responsibilities. People with bipolar disorder will shift between episodes of mania and depression that can last from days to weeks to months.

Some of the symptoms exhibited during manic episodes are:

* An extremely elated, happy mood or an extremely irritable, angry, unpleasant mood

* Increased physical and mental activity and energy

* Racing thoughts

* Increased talking, more rapid speech than normal

* Ambitious, often grandiose plans

* Risk taking

* Impulsive activity such as spending sprees, sexual indiscretion, and alcohol abuse

* Decreased sleep without experiencing fatigue

Some of the symptoms exhibited during depressive episodes are:

* Loss of energy

* Prolonged sadness

* Decreased activity and energy

* Restlessness and irritability

* Inability to concentrate or make decisions

* Increased feelings of worry and anxiety

* Less interest or participation in, and less enjoyment of activities normally enjoyed

* Feelings of guilt and hopelessness

* Thoughts of suicide

* Change in appetite (either eating more or eating less)

* Change in sleep patterns (either sleeping more or sleeping less)

Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse

Bipolar disorder is a lonely and isolating condition, especially during depressive episodes. Many times people with bipolar disorder will use alcohol or drugs to numb their painful and difficult symptoms and help them cope with their intense feelings. This can lead to a pattern of abuse that can quickly spiral into dependency and addiction.

Recovering from alcohol and drug addiction can be a difficult journey, but addicts who also have bipolar disorder face even greater hurdles in treatment. Mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder, rarely improve while people are addicted to alcohol or drugs, and long-term sobriety is rarely achieved if bipolar disorder isn’t properly treated. The only way to effectively treat both disorders is through dual diagnosis treatment.

Bipolar Disorder and Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Bipolar disorder and alcohol/drug addiction often go hand in hand, and the symptoms of each disorder overlap is such a way that’s it can be very difficult to recognize that both an addiction and bipolar disorder co-exist. Once both disorders have been identified, dual diagnosis treatment will be the most effective way to treat the symptoms of both disorders and help the patient manage their bipolar disorder without depending on drugs or alcohol. Dual diagnosis helps patients develop the hope, knowledge, skills and support needed to manage their bipolar disorder and substance abuse problem and pursue a life of recovery.

One of the most effective ways to treat co-occurring disorders is through residential substance abuse treatment programs. During residential treatment, the patient will receive several hours of intensive treatment each day or each week that includes substance abuse treatment and mental health support. This treatment typically includes individual and group counseling, cognitive-behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, 12-step programs, and other mental health services.

Without treatment, a person suffering from bipolar disorder and substance abuse will inevitably continue the vicious cycle of self-medicating their mental illness symptoms with drugs or alcohol. If you know someone who has dual diagnosis symptoms, encourage them to seek treatment at a dual diagnosis drug rehab where they can be properly diagnosed and effectively treated.