There are far too many issues that could lead someone to chronic substance abuse. By the time they end up dealing with their cycle of addiction, they forget how they got there. There is one thing that’s very clear about addiction. It’s very common for addiction sufferers to be dealing with more than just their addiction. A lot of them are also dealing with emotional or mental issues.
It’s a shame if someone has to deal with a bipolar disorder while also trying to navigate life carrying an addiction on their back. A bipolar disorder is the diagnosis given by doctors when a patient has great difficulty with a combination of depression and mania. There are in fact at least a half a dozen variations of a bipolar disorder. Of the six, there are three that are quite common:
- Bipolar I disorder – patient experiences longer periods of severe mood episodes from mania to depression
- Bipolar II disorder – Patient experiences a milder form of mood alternation between episodes of hypomania that alternate with periods of severe depression
- Cyclothymic disorder – patient experiences brief periods of hypomanic symptoms with even briefer periods of depressive symptoms, which are not as problematic as they would be with other forms of bipolar disorders.
When someone enters rehab, they come in to deal with their addiction. If any rehab staff members detect the client is also dealing with emotional/mental issues, the treatment shifts to dual diagnosis treatment. More on that below.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment – Addiction and Bipolar Disorder
Co-occurring conditions are common enough that most rehab facilities, including ours, offer what experts refer to as dual diagnosis treatment. Dual Diagnosis treatment is characterized by the efforts of therapists to treat both the addiction and emotional/mental illness at the same time.
It’s very important for the client to get treatment for both conditions simultaneously in order to prevent an untreated condition from interfering with the recovery process. Let’s imagine for a moment that someone suffering from both an addiction and bipolar disorder only got treatment for their addiction. Upon completing treatment, there’s a high likelihood their bipolar disorder will create a circumstance that would cause the individual to relapse. That’s not a good outcome, and that’s exactly why dual diagnosis treatment is so important for clients who are suffering from co-occurring conditions.
How Addiction and Bipolar Disorders Interact
At this point, it’s important to understand the causation relationship between addiction to drugs and bipolar disorder issues. In one direction, the addiction could cause or exacerbate bipolar disorder. Going the other direction, a bipolar disorder could be the proximate cause of the addiction. Let’s investigate further.
When Addiction Exacerbates Bipolar Disorder
It’s quite possible for an individual to not know they suffer from a bipolar disorder. If they haven’t yet had or recognized a significant issue with depression or mania, the afflicted individual won’t know they have a bipolar disorder. Once they start abusing a substance and develop an addiction, the individual will likely start having difficulties in their life. These difficulties could lead to the first recognizable episodes of depression or manic behavior.
It’s also possible the individual knows they have a bipolar disorder, but the addiction makes things much worse. In either case, dual diagnosis treatment is the best available treatment option.
When Bipolar Disorder Prompts Addiction
There are in fact two different ways a bipolar disorder can cause addictive behavior. If the first instance, the afflicted individual might be having significant issues with their depression or mania. As an escape mechanism, they turn to drugs or alcohol. The harder they try to escape the symptoms of their bipolar disorder, the farther they fall into the cycle of addiction.
In the other instance, the afflicted individual might be getting medicinal treatment for their bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, some of the drugs a doctor might prescribe have addictive qualities. If the individual starts abusing the drug that’s supposed to be helping them, they can become addicted to the said drug. That creates a true quandary because the client needs the drug that prompts their addictive behavior. The hope is dual diagnosis treatment will help resolve the issue.