Addiction and mental health struggles frequently go hand in hand. In fact, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, as many as 45% of people in the United States struggle with a dual diagnosis (a mental health condition and a substance use disorder). The same survey indicates about half of those diagnosed with bipolar disorder also struggle with addiction. One of the most common reasons behind this is self-medication. Drugs and alcohol provide a sense of temporary relief from the emotional difficulties and manic episodes, something with bipolar often struggles to manage. Without treatment in an environment equipped to manage dual diagnosis conditions, both illnesses may worsen.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterized by extreme shifts in mood. Bipolar affects approximately 2.5 million Americans making it one of the most common mental health diagnoses. Although bipolar is commonly diagnosed in early adulthood, symptoms can occur during childhood and teen years as well. There is no cure for bipolar disorder; however, it is possible to live with minimal symptoms with proper treatment.
Three primary symptoms occur with bipolar disorder: mania, hypomania, and depression. Mania occurs when you experience an emotional “high.” During manic episodes, you feel energetic, euphoric, and impulsive. Often, sleeping and resting are challenging. Sometimes, manic episodes lead to harmful behaviors such as spending sprees and substance use. Hypomania (commonly associated with bipolar II) is like mania, although not as severe. Depression or depressive episodes are the exact opposite of mania. During a depressive episode, one may experience intense sadness, lack of energy, and hopelessness. You may sleep all the time. In some cases, depressive episodes can lead to suicidal thoughts or self-harm. The duration of each episode varies; however, they tend to rotate back and forth.
What Is Addiction?
Addiction is a chronic disease. When someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, they experience compulsive urges and an overwhelming need to seek and use drugs or alcohol despite known harmful consequences. Often, the decision to drink or use for the first time is voluntary. However, repeated or excessive drug use can lead to physical and functional changes in the brain that inhibit the person’s ability to resist urges to continue using. Without comprehensive addiction treatment that helps you overcome addiction, the changes to the brain (and other body systems) that result from ongoing substance use can be persistent and, in some cases, irreversible.
Is There a Rehab for Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse?
One of the most significant dangers surrounding dual diagnosis conditions is self-medication. Self-medication is using drugs or alcohol to reduce the severity or intensity of symptoms related to a mental illness. Unfortunately, while this may seem effective, using substances as a coping mechanism for mental illness can cause addiction or worsen an existing dependency on substances. It can also worsen your mental health condition.
Finding a rehab like Rise in Malibu where you can receive comprehensive treatment that addresses both disorders simultaneously is vital to your recovery. At a dual diagnosis rehab, your treatment team will work with you to design a treatment plan that helps you overcome addiction while also treating your mental health disorder symptoms. At Rise, we use various evidence-based therapies in individual, group, and family settings to help you learn more about addiction and mental health. Therapy models such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are proven successful in helping patients overcome the struggles of both mental health conditions and substance use disorders.
If you struggle with bipolar disorder and addiction, it is vital to find a treatment program that can help you overcome both conditions. Seeking treatment for addiction while still struggling with bipolar disorder symptoms may help temporarily manage substance abuse behavior; however, the possibility of relapse is increased as you have not learned safer, healthier coping strategies to manage bipolar disorder symptoms. Our experienced team at Rise in Malibu is here to help you overcome addiction while learning to better manage bipolar disorder without drugs or alcohol. To learn more about our programs at our luxury Malibu, California rehab, contact our admissions team today.