Bipolar Disorder

Learning to manage the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder without the need for drugs and alcohol puts you back in control of your life.

What Is Bi-Polar Disorder?

It’s not unusual to experience occasional mood swings. Events and relationships that cause some emotional upheaval are part of life. But bipolar disorder goes beyond these normal ups and downs and causes dramatic shifts in temperament, causing a person to experience happy, productive moods at one extreme and depressed, disengaged moods at the other. 

Bipolar episodes may last for weeks at a time, or for only a few days. Some people experience these episodes only a few times a year while others may have them several times a week.

Bipolar disorder affects approximately 2.8 percent of the American population, and it impacts males and females equally. Although it is commonly diagnosed among people when they are in their mid-20s, people of any age can have bipolar disorder. In many cases, researchers have found that the first episodes occurred during adolescence or even childhood.

Causes of Bi-Polar Disorder

Brain structure, stress, trauma, and genetics have all been identified as possible causes of bipolar disorder.

  • Brain structure and function: Studies have noted small differences in the average size or activation of some brain structures in people with bipolar disorder.
  • Stress or trauma: A serious illness, the death of a loved one, broken relationships or financial problems call all cause a bipolar episode. 
  • Genetics: Anyone whose parents or siblings have bipolar disorder is more likely to have it themselves. But not always – in the case of identical twins, one may have the disorder while the other does not. 

Types and Symptoms of Bipolar Episodes

Manic Episodes

A person experiencing a manic episode may appear to be excessively upbeat and cheerful, or at the other extreme, they may be hostile and irritable. They may exhibit erratic, reckless behavior such as going on shopping sprees or making impulsive purchases or investments. Other signs include:

  • Rapid speech
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Easily distracted
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Sleeping too little, or too much

Depressive Episodes

A person experiencing a depressive episode feels sad and unhappy. They are likely to eat less than they normally would. They may be uninterested in other people around them and show little interest in everyday activities. They may have feelings of restlessness and guilt, and they may even contemplate suicide. Other signs include:

  • Feeling tired
  • Irritability
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Thoughts of self-harm 
  • Disrupted sleeping and eating habits

Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse

People who suffer from bipolar disorder often turn to drugs or alcohol in an attempt to escape the emotional upheaval the disorder causes in their life. This is a common trait at all ages: 60 percent of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder also have a history of substance abuse, according to one study.

Because the symptoms of substance abuse disorder and bipolar disorder often overlap, it’s important to get help from specialists who are trained to distinguish between the two. A dual diagnosis and a treatment plan for co-occurring disorders – one that addresses both disorders simultaneously – are often necessary for a full recovery.

At Niznik Behavioral Health rehab centers, we specialize in treating co-occurring disorders. Our doctors, clinicians, counselors, and therapists work together to help you overcome your drug or alcohol addiction and your bipolar disorder at the same time. This provides you with the best opportunity to complete a successful and lasting recovery.

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