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Bipolar And Addiction

In recent times, there has been an unending debate on the causes of addiction. Although many people blame drugs like marijuana, heroin, alcohol, and more, prescription drugs also worth mentioning. That’s not all, though! Many people suffering from addiction also have other co-existing mental issues like bipolar. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about 56% of bipolar patients have a history of drug and substance abuse.

Understanding bipolar treatment

Bipolar patients use mood-stabilizing medication to manage mania and hypomanic episodes. Examples of commonly used drugs are lithium, Depakene, Divalproex, lamotrigine, and more. Lamotrigine is an effective mood stabilizer but is not very helpful for mania.

The starting doses are low and are increased gradually over time. However, some patients may use the drugs excessively to quickly ease the discomfort, which results in addiction.

The signs of prescription drug addiction are;

  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Mood swings
  • Hostility
  • Taking higher doses
  • Over-reliance on the medications

Luckily, if you’re such a patient, you can get prescription drug rehabilitation services from leading drug rehabilitation facilities near you.

Is there a relationship between bipolar disorder and addiction?

Bipolar is a severe mental problem characterized by intense mood shifts. People suffering from bipolar have a high rate of relationship issues, accidental injuries, and suicide than the general population. They also have a significant risk of developing an addiction to alcohol and drugs.

 The reason? Bipolar is associated with alarming symptoms like;

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Pain
  • Lack of sleep

All these also prompt patients to turn to drugs and alcohol to offset the associated discomfort.

Moreover, bipolar patients experience high levels of emotional instability, making it more challenging to manage both conditions. The instability can make a patient unable to comply with guidelines, hence interfere with the addiction treatment plan.

What are the different types of bipolar& their risk of addiction?

Bipolar disorder can be categorized into different subtypes, and understanding this is critical for all bipolar patients and their loved ones. These are;

Bipolar 1

Bipolar disorder 1 is commonly known as classic bipolar disorder. Patients with this disorder experience the highest highs and lows regularly.

Someone with bipolar 1 episodes may;

  • Spend money carelessly
  • Speak very fast, making it difficult for others to understand
  • Suffer sleep deprivation
  • Have a high sex drive
  • Express delusional beliefs

The patient may also feel depressed, refuse to work, and isolate themselves.

Bipolar 11

People with this type of disorder experience sad moments, intense despair, and frequent mood shifts. Such patients have a higher likelihood of suicide since the depression never seems to end. Bipolar11 patients are also susceptible to drug and substance abuse. They may seek refuge in the stimulation associated with stimulant drugs to ease depression.


Cyclothymia also involves cycling between mania and depression, but with less severe highs and lows. Patients with this disorder experience sudden mood shifts and might find it hard to control this. What’s more? Cyclothymia patients also experience extreme forms of sadness or happiness, and many use over-the-counter drugs or alcohol to deal with the intense emotions. If left untreated, Cyclothymia gets more severe, and continued drug use worsens the condition.

The bottom line

Rehabilitation facilities that focus on dual diagnosis understand the issues surrounding bipolar disorders and drug abuse. Such centers can effectively deal with both conditions to help bipolar patients control their emotions without abusing drugs.