Bipolar Disorder Treatment
Bipolar Disorder is the new term for manic-depression whereby the client experiences both low and manic type mood swings varying in frequency, hence the two different Bipolar catagories 1&2.
The staff at Twin Rivers are well aware that Bipolar is often misdiagnosed, especially among addicts! Why is this? Quite simply, most addicts display signs of Bipolar Disorder due to detoxification and meeting life on life’s terms without a mood altering substance. For those who have an authenticated diagnosis of Bipolar then they are ‘treated’ with medication and psychotherapy in order for the client to learn how to manage their disorder.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is one of the most common mental health problems humans are likely to face– it is believed to affect 2.6% of the population in the US (source: National Institute of Mental Health) and 2.5% of the population in the UK (source: Patient Info). The term ‘manic depression’ has fallen out of favour (the main motivation behind the name change is to better distinguish bipolar disorder from chronic depression), but it does describe the 2 main symptoms of bipolar disorder – periods of depression followed by periods of mania.
There are actually different types of bipolar disorder. Bipolar I involves clear episodes of mania and depression while with Bipolar II the episodes of mania are less intense. The common phases that people with Bipolar I will experience include:
• Manic phase – excessive energy, delusions of grandeur, disinhibition, over-reactivity, poor decision making ability, impulsiveness, and racing thoughts
• Hypomanic stage – a far less intense state of mania
• Depressive stage – low mood and low energy
The Link between Bipolar Disorder and Addiction
The symptoms of bipolar disorder tend to be highly disruptive to a person’s life. People in this situation can become desperate to escape their mood swings, and alcohol and drugs can seem to offer an easy answer. The problem is that this type of self-medication only makes things much worse in the long-term, as it is likely to lead to addiction – the individual ends up with two problems instead of one.
There are people who begin self-medicating bipolar disorder with alcohol or drugs without even realising that this is what they are doing. This can easily happen with younger people who don’t recognise the early symptoms of bipolar – they just know that they feel better when they take alcohol or drugs.
Can Bipolar Be Cured?
Young Adults May Outgrow Bipolar Disorder. With symptoms usually starting in early adulthood, bipolar disorder has traditionally been described as a lifelong illness. Researchers have discovered that nearly half of those diagnosed between the ages of 18 and 25 ‘may’ outgrow the disorder by the time they reach 30 years of age.
David is the Clinical and Development Director of Twin Rivers Rehab in South Africa and a UK Accredited Addictions Therapist with the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals UK. Articles/Blogs are written with the assistance of researchers and other specialists in the field of addiction and the recovery process