How to Navigate Bipolar and Drug Addiction

Bipolar and Drug Addiction

Bipolar disorder isn’t easy to manage, and when drug addiction comes along with it, the struggle can be overwhelming. In this blog, we will look at the relationship between bipolar disorder and substance abuse and discuss ways a loved one may provide support or someone suffering may look for help. We’ll answer questions like “How long do depressive episodes last?” and “Am I manic?” as well as who to turn to for relief. 

If you or a loved one could benefit from 12 Steps to Recovery, contact Myrtle Beach Recovery to learn about our comfortable residential setting.

Understanding Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder 101

Bipolar disorder is also called manic depression and is a mental health condition that comes with extreme mood swings, from mixed episodes to depression or mania. 

How Long Do Depressive Episodes Last?

How long each mixed episode, or depression/mania lasts depends on the person. On average, an episode lasts several weeks or even months. But some types of episodes are very short-lived. If you believe you are currently experiencing an episode, it’s important to reach out for professional help.

The Link Between Bipolar Disorder and Drug Addiction

Bipolar and Alcohol

Many people with bipolar disorder will turn to alcohol as it is a challenging mental illness to handle without any tools. Unfortunately, alcohol will only make the mood swings worse as it can affect mood regulation for days after. Alcohol’s effects last for much longer than the drunk feeling itself. 

Bipolar and Drug Addiction

There are a lot of complicated factors when it comes to bipolar and drug addiction. Some people will use drugs to self-medicate this debilitating illness to try and find relief. This can lead to a cycle of addiction. 

Drugs That Cause Personality Changes

Certain drugs actually cause personality changes that can make bipolar even worse. It’s important to be aware that this may be happening to you. 

Am I Manic?

Manic episodes can cause dangerous, impulsive behaviors where the individual may take too much of a substance. If you fear you are manic, you should immediately seek help. Mania involves heightened energy, impulsivity, and needing less sleep.

How to Navigate Bipolar and Drug Addiction

Both bipolar and drug addiction are hard to treat on their own, let alone side by side. People with bipolar are far more likely to develop addiction, so professionals and loved ones need to understand how this might happen and what can be done about it. 

Drugs and alcohol can essentially dappen the horrible symptoms caused by this mental illness, including anxiety and depression, and when someone with bipolar is begging for relief, it can be incredibly easy to fall into a cycle of addiction. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with this, there are a few things you can try to help get a handle on addiction and bipolar:

Step 1: Seek Professional Help

Seek help from a mental health professional immediately. They will be able to make a plan that is specific to you.

Step 2: Take Your Medication as Prescribed

Always take medication as prescribed; taking too much, too little, or medication at the wrong times will only worsen the condition. If you are finding your medication is ineffective after 6 weeks of use, return to your doctor.

Step 3: Attend Therapy

Talking to people is always helpful. Understanding addiction and bipolar can help you gather the tools you need to combat both.

Step 4: Join a Support Group

There are lots of support groups you can join, such as sober living like Myrtle Beach Recovery in SC, AA, or just general therapy groups. It’s important not to be alone.

Step 5: Avoid Triggers

Find the things that make you reach for substances and avoid them where possible. Of course, when suffering from a mental illness, it can be impossible to avoid the trigger of your episodes without help.

Step 6: Live a Healthy Lifestyle

Make sure you exercise and eat well, and generally take care of yourself. It can’t cure bipolar or addiction, but it can make you feel a little better.

Step 7: Be Patient

It’s going to take time to overcome addiction, and bipolar is a life-long struggle that needs lots of tools, resources, and support. Be kind to yourself; there will be setbacks that are no fault of your own.

Step 8: Be Honest with Yourself and Your Loved Ones

Stay clear, open, and honest with those around you so they know how to help.

Step 9: Don’t Give Up

You can overcome addiction and lessen the effects of bipolar in your life. Even though it may be difficult, with the right support, you can live a happy, healthy life.

How to Help Someone with Bipolar Disorder and Drug Addiction

As a loved one, it can be alarming to find out someone is suffering from either addiction or bipolar disorder. But it’s important that you remain supportive when possible. Below, we have listed some ways you can help:

  1. Encourage Treatment: Someone with addiction and bipolar cannot get better alone. They will need professionals, rehab, or a sober living facility like Myrtle Beach Recovery in South Carolina. 
  2. Be Patient: It’s going to be a long road to recovery as bipolar is a life-long illness, and substances will always be tempting to avoid the pain of it. Be patient and kind to those who are struggling. 
  3. Avoid Judgment: Do not blame your loved one, as they cannot control how their brain is functioning. Offer understanding and support where possible. 
  4. Educate Yourself: Learn as much as you can about bipolar disorder and addiction to be as supportive as possible. 
  5. Promote a Healthy Lifestyle: Do fun things with your loved one that encourage a healthy lifestyle. Go on walks together, cook together, eat out at healthy restaurants together. 

In Conclusion: How to Navigate Bipolar and Drug Addiction

Handling bipolar disorder and drug addiction is incredibly complicated and needs lots of patience from everyone involved. If you know someone who is struggling with this dual diagnoses, remember there is always hope and professionals ready to help. Being surrounded by those who understand and can offer a helping hand can start today when you immerse yourself in a sober living environment like Myrtle Beach Recovery. Contact us to find out more. 

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider for guidance on mental health and addiction issues.