Bipolar and Addiction

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme shifts in a person’s mood and energy. It is characterised by periods of extremely elevated mood (called ‘manic episodes’) as well as periods of depression. Bipolar disorder and addiction go hand in hand; roughly 60% of people who have bipolar disorder will struggle with substance abuse and addiction at some point in their lives.

Studies have shown that people with bipolar disorder are more likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol. They may also turn to depressants such as painkillers and alcohol in order to fend off their manic episodes, as well as stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamines to manage their depression. In both cases, substance abuse swings the bipolar disorder towards the opposite direction, changing mania to depression and vice-versa. It may be a quick short-term fix, but in the long run, this is very counterproductive.

This condition is referred to as ‘dual diagnosis’, which is a term used when an individual is suffering from both a mental health illness (such as bipolar disorder and addiction) or substance abuse problem simultaneously. A person with dual diagnosis has two separate illnesses, with each illness needs its own treatment plan.

Call us now on 0203 553 9263 do discuss treatment options.

Signs and Symptoms

Both bipolar disorder and addiction sometimes present similar symptoms, making it almost indistinguishable for someone inexperienced to identify which is which. As difficult as these are to identify, it’s crucial to know how to recognise the warning signs, which serve as an indication of bipolar and addiction. The signs to look out for include:

  • You can’t remember the last time you felt fully satisfied with life, without the presence of drugs or alcohol.
  • You use drugs or alcohol in the hopes of overcoming feelings of stress, fear, and anxiety.
  • Internal anxiety that can only be relieved by certain behaviours and rituals.
  • You have difficulty holding down a job or meeting work or academic responsibilities.
  • Using alcohol and drugs as coping mechanisms.
  • Dramatic shifts in mood or energy levels.
  • Severe tension or worry.
  • Inability to concentrate.
  • Trouble maintaining relationships, because of behaviour or mood swings.
  • You withdraw from friends, family, and those who offer support.
  • Intense or prolonged feelings of despair, hopelessness and worthlessness.
  • Changes in sleep patterns (excessive sleep or insomnia).
  • Appetite or weight change.
  • Suicidal ideation.

Short-Term effects

Bipolar patients who abuse drugs or alcohol say that it helps with racing thoughts, obsessive thought patterns, and violent mood swings. Stimulants like meth and cocaine are also said to ease the symptoms of depression.

When a bipolar patient uses an addictive substance, the manic and depressive effects of the disorder takes a backseat to the drug in question. This wields total control of their brain and directly affects the neurotransmitters overwhelming the brain with feel-good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, evoking feelings of euphoria and pleasure.

However, once they stop using the drug, the chemicals which were released are depleted, resulting in a ‘crash’ a lot like that of bipolar disorder. This magnifies the physical symptoms of the disorder and worsens the illness.

Withdrawal Symptoms

A bipolar patient who suddenly stops abusing the substance they are addicted to undergoes debilitating withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the abused substance, the withdrawal symptoms can start within 90 minutes to a day after the last time the drug was taken.

The withdrawal symptoms manifest during the ‘crash’ phase; this refers to the crash that occurs after the ‘high’ from the substance taken dissipates. During this phase, the patient will experience low mood and energy levels. Depression and suicidal ideation can also take hold. Cravings follow thereafter and can last up to weeks. It can take over 10 weeks for the cravings to disperse and roughly 28 to 30 weeks to cease altogether. The physical, psychological and emotional discomforts which accompany withdrawal symptoms for bipolar addicts include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Hostility
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Nightmares

Call us now on 0203 553 9263 do discuss treatment options.

Recovery Treatment

Bipolar and addiction require a very specific, bespoke treatment. Integrated dual diagnosis treatment is the most effective for bipolar and addiction, wherein the patient receives care for both their bipolar disorder and substance abuse.

Private rehab centres offer specially designed treatment and services for people who are looking to recover from alcohol and drug addiction. At Primrose Lodge, we provide alcohol detoxification, drug detoxification, inpatient rehabilitation, psychotherapy, medications and round-the-clock access to healthcare professionals. Our team of specialists are experts at rehabilitating those with co-occurring disorders.

Before treatment begins, we’ll help you understand how both bipolar disorder and addiction work, as well as how to make your treatment more effective. We ensure your treatment plan is highly personalised to suit your individual needs. In addition, we recognise the fact that addiction treatment shouldn’t just focus on your physical symptoms, but also include your soul and mind for comprehensive treatment and complete wellbeing. Therefore, our healthcare professionals incorporate holistic therapies to treat every part of your addiction. They include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Individual counselling
  • Family/Group Therapy
  • 12-step Therapy
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Art therapy
  • Mindfulness
  • Nutrition Therapy

Benefits of Rehab

  • No waiting list, therefore immediate admissions
  • Medical detox with 24/7 care & support
  • Overcome the root causes of addiction
  • Experienced team of doctors & therapists
  • Personalised rehabilitation programme
  • Look, feel, sleep better & regain confidence
  • Learn techniques for relapse prevention
  • 1 year complimentary aftercare support

Get help today

Bipolar and addiction cannot be cured by sheer willpower alone. A person who has bipolar and substance abuse problem requires specialised treatment, because both the illness and addiction need to be addressed. At Primrose Lodge, we specialise in detox programmes and inpatient treatment for bipolar dual-diagnosis patients to detox from drugs or alcohol and remain abstinent in a calm and serene environment, under the supervision of experienced, professional staff.

Call us now on 0203 553 9263 do discuss treatment options.

Don't waste another day on addiction
Call Now 0203 553 9263
Call Now 0203 553 9263

Call Now 0203 553 9263

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  • Perry Hill
  • Worplesdon
  • Guildford
  • Surrey GU3 3RF