Recently we have been discussing on this blog the various effects and warning signs of mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. While these disorders are common, there are others that may not be as cut and dry. Bipolar disorder, which involves extreme periods of depression and elation, falls into this category.
Bipolar disorder used to be more commonly known as “manic depression” because of the way it affects the person who has it. The hallmark of this disorder is alternating episodes of “mania” and depression, in which the affected individual experiences moods that swing to both extremes. A person with bipolar disorder will have moods than can be very high and then change to become very low and depressed, making life difficult to manage.
Mania and hypomania
Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme ups and downs. The periods of time feeling high and then feeling low are referred to as mania and depression. We recently posted about depression, which comes in several forms and can include feeling down for all or most of the time. It is important to know how to recognize when someone may be having a “manic” episode to be able to see if that person may not just be depressed, but actually suffering from bipolar disorder.
When an individual is experiencing a manic phase, it can appear to be in many ways like the opposite of depression. When a person is manic they may exhibit feelings of happiness that are over the top and could be considered excessive. Other signs of mania include difficulty concentrating, poor judgment, irritability, rapid speech, increased energy and a tendency to be impulsive. The person may even experience hallucinations or delusions of grandeur. Another aspect of bipolar mania is “hypomania,” which occurs when an individual is manic, but still capable of functioning in everyday life.
Within the span of a year, a person could have several periods of mania and depression. It is imperative to pay attention to the warning signs of any mental illness. The reason for this is that, like depression, bipolar disorder has the potential to lead to suicidal thoughts and the individual may even take his or her own life. If a person is experiencing symptoms that have become life disrupting or have been engaging in addictive behavior, it is time to seek help.
Bipolar and addiction
According to the American Journal of Managed Care, 56 percent of individuals with bipolar disorder also experienced drug or alcohol addiction, with 41 percent reporting addiction or drug abuse and 46 percent reporting alcohol addiction abuse. Because a mental health condition and substance abuse often occur together, it is essential to have a treatment program that addresses both.
Men and women both have the potential to be affected by this disorder, which typically begins its onset during young adulthood. An individual may turn to substances to help cope with the extreme feelings that accompany this disorder. However, using and abusing drugs and alcohol may actually make matters worse. Alcohol is a depressant and consuming it can deepen feelings of depression.
Bipolar disorder and addiction often occur together, making it especially important to seek out addiction treatment centers that specialize in dual diagnosis. At The Fairwinds Treatment Centers in Florida, founded in 1989 by Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef, we specialize in this approach, which focuses on determining the root cause of each issue in order to resolve the psychological triggers of addiction.
Working with our highly trained and experienced clinical team, you or your loved one will benefit from having an individualized treatment plan tailored to meet your specific needs with a combination of therapeutic counseling and clinical treatment. Contact us today to learn more.