Brain Chemistry And Biology
Bipolar disorder also has a neurological component.
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers in the brain. They help relay messages between nerve cells throughout the body. These chemicals play an essential role in healthy brain function. Some of them even help regulate mood and behavior.
Older links three main neurotransmitters to bipolar disorder:
Imbalances of these brain chemicals may prompt manic, depressive, or hypomanic mood episodes. This is particularly the case when environmental triggers or other factors come into play.
What Happens When A Person With Bipolar Disorder Uses Drugs
Bipolar disorder is caused by a number of different factors, but regardless of whether it is the result of genetics or environment, a patient who suffers from bipolar disorder will experience shifts in their neurochemistry . These chemical shifts in the brain result in the mood swings that are exhibited by the patient. They also result in the more alarming and upsetting symptoms, like psychosis, hallucinations, mania and depression.
Of course, if the brain chemistry is impacted severely by bipolar disorder, it is understandable why any more manipulation or disruption of the chemical balance can put a patient at high risk for some serious side effects. This is why actively using mood-altering substances like alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, opiates and hallucinogenic drugs all severely impact the severity of someones bipolar disorder.
Mood-altering substances like drugs and alcohol will have a major impact on the patients bipolar symptoms. The most significantly affected symptoms of the condition will be the rate, prevalence and intensity in which a patient experiences manic, hypomanic and depressive episodes. Sometimes, patients will use drugs to cope with these episodes and the stress that they bring in to their lives. This behavior is called self-medicating. It is not uncommon for drug-using bipolar patients to self-medicate with drugs.
Northbounds Approach To Treating Drug Addiction And Bipolar Disorder
The dedicated staff at Northbound Treatment recognizes the immense impact SUD has on an individuals life and those closest to them. Whether they realize it initially or not, many of our clients also struggle with a mental health condition.
After an initial assessment of their mental health condition, each patient will work with their compassionate care team to develop a rehabilitation plan that suits their unique needs, preferences, and goals. A clients plan can be adjusted at any point during treatment if something isnt working flexibility and adaptability are part of what makes our programs so successful.
Aside from integrated dual diagnosis treatment, we implement a range of evidence-based therapies into our rehab programs. This includes cognitive-behavioral therapy , group counseling, motivational interviewing, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing , dialectical behavioral therapy , wilderness therapy, animal therapy, art therapy, and other experiential therapies.
Northbound Treatment offers a full continuum of care at our facilities in Southern California. From detox and residential rehab to outpatient treatment and ongoing addiction support, we do it all.
Are you or a loved one suffering from co-occurring disorders? We encourage you to reach out as soon as possible. Northbound is admitting new clients every day, and wed love to tell you more about our programs. Call us at 978-8649 to get started.
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Bipolar Disorder And Addiction: Everything You Need To Know
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that presents with severe mood swings. These mood swings alternate between periods of extreme emotional highs and periods of depression. Like many types of mental illness, bipolar disorder is a risk factor for addiction, including substance use disorders.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder
Before you self-diagnose, remember, were not talking about being down in the dumps over a breakup or having a bad day, or being super-happy over a promotion or a new relationship. These are natural highs and lows that everyone experiences. The classic symptoms of bipolar disorder are kind of like being on the steepest roller coaster, where moods dip from the lowest depression to the highest high .
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Addressing Addiction And Bipolar
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that the psychological and physical impairment caused by bipolar disorder make it the most expensive behavioral health diagnosis, both in terms of health care costs and loss of quality of life. Individuals with bipolar disorder may feel misunderstood, stigmatized, or isolated because of their illness. The disorder can have a negative impact on all aspects of a persons life, from occupational functioning to the quality of relationships. Having the support and concern of a close friend or family member can make a significant difference in the outcome of treatment.
Many people feel uncomfortable about broaching the subjects of mental illness and addiction with a loved one. However, it is important to remember that the course of addiction and bipolar disorder will rarely improve without professional intervention. Expressing concern to a loved one may feel awkward or embarrassing at first, but this conversation could make a significant difference in the outcome of the disease.
Clinical Supervisor Primary Therapist
Vanessa is certified in addictions counseling by Marylands Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists, with credentials as a clinical supervisor. She comes to The Freedom Center with over 14 years of direct experience in residential and outpatient treatment between the private and federal sectors.
In addition to helping those suffering from addiction, Vanessa has dedicated part of her career to helping the helper. In 2015, she began working in a Training and Career Development Center coordinating substance abuse trainings for other clinicians. Her experience in behavioral health training, program development, and organizational leadership lead her to pursue a certification as a Project Management Professional in 2018. Vanessa also holds a Bachelors of Arts in Behavioral and Social Sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park and a Masters of Business Administration-Human Resource Management from Columbia Southern University.
Vanessa is a Montgomery County native who spends her free time traveling with her daughter and volunteering in the community.
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What Does It Feel Like To Be Manic
In the manic phase of bipolar disorder, its common to experience feelings of heightened energy, creativity, and euphoria. If youre experiencing a manic episode, you may talk a mile a minute, sleep very little, and be hyperactive. You may also feel like youre all-powerful, invincible, or destined for greatness.
Drugs Dopamine And The New Normal
- Prevalence of substance abuse difficulties with comorbid affective disorders.
- Hypothesized mechanisms that may explain the high rate of co-occurrence between these conditions.
- Various treatments available.
A conceptual demonstration of the parallels between drug use and depressed brain functioning.
Drug Use Over Time
Normal, balanced neurotransmission in a healthy, drug naïve brain.
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Which Occurs First The Substance Abuse Or The Bipolar Disorder
Individuals who struggle with undiagnosed bipolar disorder may turn to a substance to self-medicate the unwelcome and disruptive symptoms. Alcohol use disorder commonly coexists with bipolar disorder, termed a dual diagnosis. Marijuana is another often-utilized substance to help alleviate the symptoms.
Individuals may have developed a substance use disorder than then led to the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Of the various mental health disorders, individuals with bipolar disorder have the highest rates of co-occurring substance use disorders. There is some evidence that regular marijuana use can instigate the symptoms of bipolar disorder, for example. It is believed that early marijuana use during adolescence, during a period when the brain is still developing, may increase the risk of acquiring bipolar disorder.
Substance Abuse Disorders And Bipolar Disorder Share Characteristics
Its not just risk factors that bipolar disorder and addiction have in common. There are also shared characteristics, which can make it challenging to diagnose either condition. For example, someone whos using cocaine can display almost identical symptoms to someone going through a manic episode. Likewise, someone going through withdrawal experiences many of the same mental symptoms as someone in a depressive phase.
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How Long Do Psychotic Symptoms Last
Whether they come from drug use, schizophrenia, or both, psychotic symptoms can be frightening. People who experience a psychotic break during drug use often ask legitimate questions:
- Does drug-induced schizophrenia go away?
- Can drug-induced schizophrenia be reversed?
Because schizophrenia isnt drug-induced , the psychotic symptoms that result from drug use will go away. Sometimes they disappear within hours of the drug leaving the system, while other times it can take longer. The length of time depends on the drug.
There isnt drug-induced schizophrenia to be reversed, but for the psychotic symptoms to fully stop, its important to stop using drugs and alcohol. Addiction is tough to overcome, so there are drug and alcohol treatment centers in place to help.
Schizophrenias psychotic symptoms wont go away, but they can be reduced with prescription medication for schizophrenia. They can also go into remission. Whether from drug use or schizophrenia, you can get help and drastically reduce or eliminate symptoms of psychosis.
APA ReferencePeterson, T. . Drug-Induced Schizophrenia? Is it Possible? , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, September 10 from https://www.healthyplace.com/thought-disorders/schizophrenia-and-drug-abuse/drug-induced-schizophrenia-is-it-possible
Substance Abuse Bipolar Disorder And Ecstasy
Bipolar disorder and substance abuse are reportedly so intertwined that medical recommendations for counselors, doctors, and addiction specialists are to screen anyone particularly adolescents with a diagnosis of bipolar for co-occurring substance abuse. Those who have forms of bipolar disorder that involve rapid cycling are the most likely to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol due to emotional intensity and psychological pain.
The Most Frequently Abused Drugs Among People With Bipolar Disorder Include:
- Other downers
These drugs cause a sense of relaxation and sleepiness, which can blunt the effects of mania and mood swings. However, they can produce uncomfortable side effects later, as they are abused more often.
Stimulants like amphetamines, crystal meth, and cocaine may be taken during periods of severe depression, but they are likely to trigger manic episodes due to the intense surge of dopamine from the stimulant. This is often followed by a deeper depression, which is more likely to feature psychotic symptoms than depression not induced by chemicals.
Abusing substances makes treatment for bipolar disorder much harder because prescription medications cannot regulate brain chemistry as well.
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Meth Abuse & Bipolar Disorder
While using methamphetamine doesnt necessarily cause bipolar disorder, it can cause symptoms that resemble the disorder.
For people who use meth, racing thoughts, soaring moods, and heightened ambition are typically followed by periods of depressed mood and lethargy as the effects of the drug wear off.
These effects can cause people to either think they have bipolar disorder or attribute the symptoms to meth use and delay a bipolar disorder diagnosis.
The rapid shift in moods experienced by those with bipolar disorder is caused by a sudden increase in levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
Methamphetamine use can also increase the levels of these neurotransmitters, making it hard to discover if the symptoms are due to meth abuse or bipolar disorder or other co-occurring disorders.
Bipolar Disorder And Substance Abuse
When a person suffers from bipolar disorder and substance abuse, he or she will need dual diagnosis treatment so that both conditions can receive treatment simultaneously. If a person doesnt treat bipolar disorder and substance abuse simultaneously, the lingering condition can trigger the treated condition.
This is especially true since 56% of people that suffer from bipolar disorder also experience alcohol and drug addiction. Out of that 56%, 46% of people suffered from alcohol addiction and 41% suffered from drug addiction.
Prior to attending dual diagnosis treatment for bipolar disorder and substance abuse, individuals should also attend medical detox. Through medical detox, patients will rid their bodies of all substances so that they can focus on their recovery while in addiction treatment.
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Bipolar mood episodes range from extreme highs to severe lows. A high mood, which often includes elation and energetic behavior, is known as a manic episode. A low mood, which includes sadness and hopelessness, is referred to as a major depressive episode.
There are four types of bipolar disorder, all of which involve changes in mood, energy, and activity levels. The four types of bipolar disorder include:
- Bipolar I Disorderdefined by manic episodes that last at least seven days, or by symptoms that require immediate clinical care. Depressive episodes generally last up to 14 days. Some individuals experience manic and depressive episodes at the same time.
- Bipolar II Disorderdefined by a pattern of hypomanic and depressive episodes that are not as extreme as Bipolar Disorder I.
- Cyclothymic Disorderdefined by numerous periods of elevated mood and numerous periods of low mood lasting at least two years. These symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for a manic episode or a depressive episode.
- Specific and Unspecific Bipolar Disorderdefined by bipolar disorder symptoms that do not match the other three types of bipolar disorder.
Substance Abuse Bipolar Disorder Or Both
Bipolar disorder symptoms will often mirror the signs of substance use and addiction. Someone going through a manic episode resembles someone on cocaine. Both will experience high energy and mood. Those suffering from a major depressive episode may also experience withdrawal symptoms.
If an addict has a co-occurring bipolar disorder, theyll need the help of a specialist trained in producing a dual diagnosis. Due to the risk of both symptoms and conditions overlapping, its crucial to see an experienced specialist. This specialist can differentiate between symptoms of addiction and bipolar disorder.
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Are You Born With Bipolar
So, the bottom line, is that if you have bipolar disorder, you were likely born with the predisposition for this disorder, and for many a stressful life event and/or upbringing can trigger the onset of the illness. It is important to remember that what is stressful to one person may not be stressful to another.
Diagnosing Comorbid Bipolar Disorder And Substance Use Disorder
Because bipolar disorder and substance use disorder share symptoms, such as impulsivity, Isabelle Bauer, PhD, from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and colleagues thought that by measuring patients degree of impulsiveness, they could better predict treatment response.3 Patients with bipolar disorder with and without lifetime substance use disorder were given the Structured Clinical Interview for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Axis I , the Barratt Impulsivity Scale, and portions of the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery .3 To the researchers surprise, bipolar disorder chronicity or substance use disorder did not predict impulsivity.3
In bipolar disorder, high impulsivity tendencies are associated with poor clinical outcomes such as poor treatment adherence, relapse, rehospitalization, and reduced chances of going back to a normal life even after remission, explained Dr Bauer. It is unclear whether impulsivity is a symptom of bipolar disorder, or rather, the result of brain damage associated with repeated mood episodes and/or substance use.
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Risk Factors And Causes Of Bipolar
Theres no single cause of bipolar disorder according to scientists, who believe a culmination of factors are responsible for triggering the mental illness. Its exactly the same with drug and alcohol addiction. Although current research doesnt give a clear idea of what each risk factor is, the following factors are theorized to play a role.
What Can Trigger Mania
A person needs to learn to keep balance and manage their illness and recovery. Alcohol abuse and bipolar disorder are two destructive illnesses that disrupt the lives of those who suffer from them as alcohol and rape or other violent crimes often go hand in hand. It can have a terrible impact on their state of mind and physical well-being. The danger is so real that it is best for people with this disease not to drink alcohol ever. The risk is so grave that it puts a person at five times the risk of developing alcoholism. With this risk, bipolar and alcohol cannot mix. Post alcohol depression is also a common thing that is a bad mix with a bipolar disorder.
Caffeine is another drug that can cause problems with bipolar disorder. Caffeine is a stimulant that speeds up the system, gives people energy and cuts down on their sleep. This is a problem with someone with bipolar disorder, whose rest can be so crucial to their mental health. It also has the potential to trigger a manic episode, which is a risk all stimulants have.
Fatty foods can also be a problem. Foods like red meat, cheeses, and other high-fat items tend to increase the duration in which the bipolar disorder medication takes effect in your body. Different people can suffer hypertension from certain foods, and thus these foods should be avoided as it might trigger a depression episode or mania.
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Related Mental Health Conditions
These mental health disorders can run in families and may have an overlap with bipolar disorders, meaning researchers have linked genes for these disorders with bipolar. So, if someone in a family has bipolar disorder, its common that other family members may have any of the following mental health conditions. A few include:
ADHD, a chronic condition that begins in childhood and can persist into adulthood in which someone has difficulty paying attention, controlling impulses and hyperactivity. Restlessness distracted behavior and constant activity are hallmark signs.
Autism spectrumdisorder is a neurological and developmental condition related to brain development that appears early in childhood and impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in their social interactions and communication.
Related Mental Health Conditions
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a mental disorder thats characterized by excessive and persistent worry and nervous feelings.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety-based mental health disorder where people have recurring unwanted thoughts and ideas that signal them to act repetitively and compulsively like constant cleaning, handwashing, or checking door locks or appliances.
Major Depressive Disorder is a serious mood disorder which causes persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest in everyday activities. It can interfere with daily life and can include suicidal ideations.