Bi-polar disorder is a mental health condition that affects approximately 1% of the population, and most commonly emerges during adolescence or young adulthood. Bi-polar disorder is characterized by a continual cycling between states of mania, normalcy and depression; and the lows of the associated depression can be so severe that people with bi-polar disorder are almost 20 times more likely to commit suicide.
Additionally, people suffering with bipolar disorder are 3 to 7 times more likely to abuse alcohol or other drugs. People with bi-polar disorders generally abuse alcohol, sleeping pills and stimulants such as cocaine or Meth. Drugs and alcohol are abused to increase the natural high of the mania and as self medication during the depressive episodes. Concurrent use of alcohol or other illicit drugs greatly decreases the effectiveness of the available medications for bi–polar disorder, and can exacerbate the severity of the condition.
Bi-polar disorder can remain untreated for years, as people who abuse drugs or alcohol blame the abused substances for their mood swings; and because bi-polar sufferers so enjoy the high of the manic stage, they often resist treatment of the disorder.
Treatment For Bi-Polar Disorder and Alcohol or Drug Addiction
Because substance abuse both exacerbates the intensity of the symptoms of the disorder, and also reduces the effectiveness of the medications for bi-polar treatment, substance abuse in a bi-polar patient must be accurately diagnosed and treated at the earliest possible opportunity.
The treatment for someone with bi-polar disorder does not differ greatly from standard drug and alcohol rehabilitation, but this treatment must be administered with an awareness of the mental health condition and with appropriate treatment modifications as necessary. The most important first step is to achieve immediate cessation of drug or alcohol abuse, and immediate compliance with prescribed psychiatric medications.
Bi-polar disease can be managed through available psychiatric medications, and when taken as directed, these medications offer very effective symptoms management. When symptoms are controlled through these psychiatric medications, patients will benefit from therapeutic treatment of their substance abuse.
Page last updated Aug 05, 2010