Bipolar disorder affects thousands of people each year.

Beach House Center for Recovery offers comprehensive treatment programs for people struggling with bipolar and substance use disorders. With dedicated addiction specialists, medical clinicians, and psychiatric providers, we deliver ongoing support to patients seeking freedom from addiction.

People with unmanaged mental health issues, including bipolar disorder, are at high risk for developing substance use disorders. Bipolar disorder is a particularly challenging concern, requiring dedicated clinical support to address it successfully.

If you or someone you love is living with bipolar disorder and addiction, we are here to help. Continue reading to learn more about this common mental health condition from one of the leading bipolar treatment centers in Florida. 

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a neurological mental health issue that causes extreme and sometimes lengthy mood shifts. 

This can be a complex condition to diagnose accurately. When the symptoms are mistaken for clinical depression, the treatments might cause an emergence of hypomanic or manic episodes. 

In some cases, misdiagnosed bipolar disorder can contribute to substance use disorder. When bipolar treatments aren’t effective, patients might self-medicate to alleviate symptoms.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder in Adults

In adults, symptoms of bipolar disorder can include distinct mood swings ranging from extreme highs to intense lows. These mood shifts can affect energy levels, sleep patterns, judgment, behavior, and the ability to carry out daily activities.

Bipolar mood shifts fall into the following categories:

  • Hypomanic Episodes: Significant bursts of energy, either euphoria or hostility, that might last for approximately four days.
  • Manic Episodes: Major bursts of elation or hostility – generally more significant than hypomanic episodes – that can last for a week or longer. Manic episode behaviors can lead to sleeplessness, agitation, and delusions that might require hospitalization.
  • Major Depressive Episodes: Major depressive episodes are periods of severe disinterest lasting at least two weeks. People experiencing major depressive episodes might not leave their homes, fail to complete normal daily work or school tasks, struggle with concentration, or have thoughts of suicide or death.
  • Mixed Episodes: Periods of hypomanic, manic, and major depressive behaviors.

Causes of Bipolar Disorder 

The precise causes of bipolar disorder are not fully understood, but it’s believed to result from a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurobiological factors. 

Imbalances in neurotransmitters and changes in the brain may also contribute to its development.

Bipolar 1 vs. 2

There are two major types of bipolar disorder: Bipolar I and Bipolar II.

Bipolar I disorder is characterized by more severe manic episodes that may include psychosis or a total loss of touch with reality. These manic episodes in Bipolar I can last for at least a week and might require hospitalization due to their intensity. 

On the other hand, Bipolar II disorder involves hypomanic episodes, which are less severe than full-blown mania, typically lasting for a few days. 

Both Bipolar I and II include depressive episodes, where the individual experiences feelings of extreme sadness, low energy, and loss of interest in activities.

What's Involved in Bipolar Disorder Treatment?

Various treatment options for bipolar disorder include medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes to manage symptoms effectively. 

Many individuals benefit from comprehensive treatment programs for bipolar disorder, which may incorporate a combination of therapy, medication, and support to help manage the condition and improve overall well-being.

The Tie Between Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse

Bipolar disorder and substance use are often intertwined. According to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), between 30% and 50% of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder could develop a co-occurring substance use disorder at some stage. 

A definitive link between bipolar and substance use disorders has not been established, though there is a strong correlation between the two conditions. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) suggests the following potential pathways:

  • Shared genetic components: The biological factors related to bipolar disorder might predict a person’s risk for developing an addiction to substances.
  • Disorders exacerbating each other: The negative effects of bipolar disorder might trigger substance misuse to alleviate symptoms.
  • Disorder-induced neurological susceptibility: The long-term desensitizing effects of unmanaged bipolar disorder might cause heightened vulnerability to addiction.

Here, we break down the tie between bipolar and alcohol, along with bipolar and drug addiction. 

Bipolar and Alcohol Abuse Disorder

Bipolar disorder and alcohol use disorder (AUD) can sometimes co-occur, leading to complex challenges. 

Individuals with bipolar disorder might be at a higher risk of developing AUD due to self-medication or impulsivity during manic episodes. 

Managing both conditions typically requires a tailored approach, including therapy, medication, and support, to address these two disorders’ unique needs and interactions.

Bipolar and Addiction to Drugs 

Bipolar disorder and drug addiction can intersect, presenting a challenging dual diagnosis for many patients. 

People with bipolar disorder might turn to drugs to self-medicate or cope with mood swings. Like AUD and bipolar disorder, treating bipolar and substance use disorder involves a comprehensive approach that may include therapy, medication, and support to help individuals regain stability, well-being, and long-term sobriety. 

Am I Bipolar?

If you’re experiencing significant mood swings, extreme highs, and lows affecting your daily life, it’s essential to consult a mental health professional for an accurate assessment and diagnosis. 

As mentioned, bipolar disorder involves distinct mood changes that can impact your emotions, energy levels, and behavior. Consulting a healthcare provider at Beach House can help determine if your symptoms align with bipolar disorder or another mental health condition.

Beach House Center for Recovery: One of the Top Bipolar and Addiction Treatment Centers

Treating bipolar disorder is crucial for recovery from substance use issues. Dealing with mental health alongside addiction is essential for long-term freedom. 

At Beach House Center for Recovery, we provide comprehensive mental health treatment in Florida, equipping patients to manage both conditions effectively in a peaceful setting. 

Our skilled team offers expert support and guidance. Contact our caring admissions counselors for more information and to start your recovery journey.