Bipolar disorder, sometimes called manic depression, is a major risk factor for addiction. More than half of people with bipolar disorder will struggle with addiction to drugs or alcohol. Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance among people with bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, bipolar disorder is often mistaken for depression and it takes an average of 10 years for people with bipolar disorder to be accurately diagnosed. Here are the symptoms of bipolar disorder.
This is the most obvious symptom. Most people with bipolar disorder assume they are just depressed, but standard interventions for depression may not be effective for bipolar disorder. Depressive episodes usually last longer than manic episodes and it’s usually depression that makes people see a doctor or therapist. No one goes to a doctor or therapist because she feels especially good. The doctor or therapist only sees the depressive symptoms and assumes the patient is depressed. Symptoms of depression include persistent sadness, anger and irritability, disturbed sleep or sleeping too much, slow movements, persistent fatigue, feelings of hopelessness, aches and pains, and thoughts of suicide. Symptoms should occur consistently for two weeks or more to be considered depression.
Mania is what separates bipolar disorder from depression. Manic episodes are typically shorter than depressive episodes but they can last for days or months. Manic episodes can also range from relatively mild to intense. A mild episode of mania, or hypomania, might be mistaken for relief of depressive symptoms. Symptoms of mania include feeling energetic or euphoric, rapid speech, extreme optimism, feeling little need for sleep, feelings of grandiosity, delusional thinking, impaired judgment, risky behavior, and hallucinations. These symptoms can make treating addiction difficult because someone in a manic episode might suddenly feel she no longer needs treatment and want to leave.
Depression typically lifts gradually, but in bipolar disorder, changes in mood can be abrupt. These changes may happen several times a year. People with bipolar are sensitive to disruptions in their schedule, especially their sleep schedules, so travel, daylight savings, or changes in seasons might precipitate an episode. There are different kinds of bipolar disorder. Type II is most common and typically consists of more severe depressive symptoms and hypomania. Type I typically includes more intense manic episodes. When seeking treatment, be sure to tell your doctor or therapist about your manic episodes, as they might not otherwise be aware of them. About 20 percent of depression cases are actually bipolar disorder. The sooner you get an accurate diagnosis, the sooner you can begin appropriate treatment.
When seeking help for addiction, be sure to find a treatment center that can treat a dual diagnosis of addiction and bipolar disorder. If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, we can help. Recovery Ways is a leading addiction treatment provider with an excellent recovery rate. Our expert staff includes masters and PhD level therapists and board certified addiction psychiatrists. Our comfortable facilities will help to make your treatment as enjoyable as possible and our therapists use proven techniques like sensory integration and recreation therapy to help to engage the world without the assistance of drugs or alcohol. Call us today at 1-888-986-7848 or email us through our contact page to learn more.