Bipolar Disorder Treatment and Co-Occurring Disorders

We all have our good days and our bad days, but if you’re suffering from bipolar disorder these highs and lows can be so severe that they damage your relationships, hurt your job performance, and disrupt your daily life. This can lead some people with bipolar disorder to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their symptoms. In fact, many people in substance abuse treatment suffer from bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, many people with bipolar disorder don’t realize they have it. This presents problems in substance abuse treatment because the symptoms of bipolar disorder often mimic the symptoms of substance abuse. If bipolar disorder is present but not identified in treatment, a person’s sobriety will be at risk once they leave treatment.

If you have a substance abuse problem and suffer from symptoms of bipolar disorder, you have a co-occurring disorder that needs dual diagnosis treatment. There are many effective dual diagnosis treatments that can help you manage your symptoms and live a normal life. The first step is recognizing the symptoms of bipolar disorder so that you can finally get the help you need.

Symptoms of 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.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder vary from person to person in severity and frequency. Some people are more prone to mania, while others are more prone to depression. Some frequently alternate between these two episodes, while others experience only a few episodes in a lifetime.

During a manic phase, feelings of heightened energy, creativity and euphoria are common. People in this manic stage will often talk rapidly, have racing thoughts, behave recklessly, act impulsively and sleep very little but have extreme energy. The depressive phase of bipolar disorder shares many similarities to regular depression, including prolonged sadness, inability to concentrate, loss of energy, and thoughts of suicide. People with bipolar depression, however, tend to have more unpredictable mood swings, more irritability and guilt, and more feelings of restlessness. They also tend to move and speak slowly, sleep a lot and gain weight.

Treatment for Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse

If you have a drug or alcohol problem and a co-occurring bipolar disorder, dual diagnosis treatment can put you on the road to recovery. Dual diagnosis treatment will address every disorder you’re struggling with simultaneously through substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment.

During substance abuse treatment you’ll go through a period of detox that the symptoms of your substance use can be distinguished from the symptoms of your mood disorder. After detox you’ll enter a residential treatment program that includes individual therapy, group counseling, and a 12-step program to address your substance addiction.

At the same time you’re receiving substance abuse treatment, you’ll also receive treatment for your bipolar disorder. This often includes medications such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers in addition to cognitive-behavioral therapy and/or dialectical behavior therapy. Both therapies will teach you the skills you need to replace your old coping behaviors with new, positive ways to cope with your co-occurring disorders.

If you have a co-occurring disorder of substance abuse and bipolar disorder, there is hope. Dual diagnosis treatment can give you a life free of addiction and the difficult symptoms of bipolar disorder. Call Casa Palmera today and ask how their dual diagnosis program can work for you.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.