Are bipolar disorder and drug abuse related? While one doesn’t necessarily cause the other, there is certainly a connection. During a manic episode, people with bipolar are 14x more likely to abuse drugs and six times more likely to have alcohol use disorder than the average person.
Those with a substance abuse disorder and another mental health disorder have a “comorbidity”. That means that the diseases are not only present together. They may also make each other worse. Because of this complex, interconnected nature, people with bipolar disorder and drug abuse should always get treatment in a dual diagnosis treatment program.
How Are Drug Abuse and Bipolar Disorder Connected?
Those in mental health formerly called bipolar “manic-depressive disorder”. Extreme mood highs and lows characterize this diagnosis. Professionals call these “manic and depressive episodes”, respectively.
People who experience extreme mood changes may turn to substances to either help them “mellow out” (during mania) or “perk up” (during the depression), depending on the extreme they’re experiencing.
On the other hand, a substance use disorder (SUD) may also trigger bipolar. But this is speculative because most people don’t develop bipolar until their early to mid-twenties. That’s the same time most people start to have drug and alcohol problems. So it could be a coincidence.
Regardless, people who are bipolar and have SUD are most likely to abuse alcohol (42%), followed by marijuana (20%), opioids (17%), and then stimulants like cocaine and meth (11%).
How Do They Make Each Other Worse?
Not only are they connected. People who are bipolar and abuse drugs have as much as 14% higher rates of mania, making bipolar disorder and drug abuse much harder to manage.
People with these comorbidities are also more likely to develop chronic infections because they’re not taking care of themselves. They’re more likely to injure themselves because of lowered inhibitions. And they’re more likely to commit suicide, because in these altered states they may not even understand the ramifications of what they’re doing.
As the bipolar gets worse, you may turn to more drugs to self-medicate. It becomes a vicious cycle from which it’s impossible to escape alone. But there is hope for people with drug abuse and bipolar disorder in Dual Diagnosis Treatment.
What Is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?
Dual diagnosis treatment respects the fact that unless you manage the mental health disorder, you won’t be able to overcome the addiction. Likewise, the opposite is true. Unless you start getting this drug addiction under control, it will continue to make the bipolar episodes worse.
On the other hand, if you just fixed the “drug problem” and didn’t address the bipolar, you might do okay for a while after treatment. But you’re not likely to have long-term success in recovery. If you’ve tried and failed before, dual diagnosis treatment may be able to help.
A drug rehab that offers dual diagnosis treatment will have mental health professionals on staff who specialize in bipolar disorder in addition to treating addictions. The whole addictions program will be personalized to meet your unique needs. A dual diagnosis program offers you a combination of therapy, medications to treat the bipolar, and life skills development that help you manage both conditions.
Bipolar Disorder and Drug Abuse Treatment At Crestview
At Crestview Recovery, we offer our guests a holistic and customized treatment program. This program includes dual diagnosis if you need it. We can determine that during your initial assessment. We can then work with you to get you into the best program for your needs. You can receive dual diagnosis treatment in several settings at Crestview, such as:
- Intensive outpatient treatment (IOP)
- Partial hospitalization (PHP)
- Outpatient therapy and counseling
- 90-day extended care program
We offer gender-specific programs to meet men’s and women’s unique needs. And while our Joint Commission-accredited facility does use evidence-based treatments, we supplement those treatments with other effective therapies like art therapy, adventure therapy, and meditation therapy. In addition to education and healing, we strive to create a positive, uplifting, and fun experience for our guests.
If you’re struggling with drug abuse and bipolar disorder, know that dual diagnosis treatment can help. Call us 866.262.0531 to speak with a caring professional.