Drug abuse and addiction are at all-time highs in the United States. Addiction affects every aspect of society; it does not discriminate. As society gains a deeper understanding of addiction, we are able to treat drug abuse and addiction much more efficiently. Dual diagnosis is a treatment that addresses the substance abuse aspect of addiction as well as the co-occurring disorders. Co-occurring disorders are any mental disorder that causes or contributes to further substance abuses. Bipolar disorder is one of many that can occur during and addiction. Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that is characterized by severe and intense mood swings, behavior and energy levels. Can bipolar disorder lead to addiction?

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a serious issue. Like drug abuse it can have dangerous side-effects on other aspects of an individual’s life. This disorder can take a serious toll on the mental and physical well-being of that person’s life. Those with suffering from bipolar disorder have higher rates of relationship problems, economic problems, accidental injuries, and higher suicide rates. Those suffering from bipolar disorder are more likely to develop substance abuse problems as well. According to an American Journal study people suffering from bipolar disorder have higher rates of substance abuse. The study concluded that over fifty percent of those suffering from bipolar disorder had experienced drug or alcohol addiction in their lifetime. Of that group, over forty percent had been abusing or addicted to alcohol. Overall, forty percent had abused or were addicted to drugs. The majority of those suffering from bipolar disorder have problems with alcohol.

Co-Occurring Disorders and Dual-Diagnosis Treatment

Overcoming an addiction is a very difficult task. Most addicts must seek professional treatment to successfully combat an addiction. The mental and physical hurdles are complicated, which is why professional help is often necessary. Addicts getting treatment for an addiction should seek a treatment center that screens for co-occurring disorders. These are any mental illnesses that could have created or helped maintain the drug abuse/addiction. It is more difficult to overcome addiction because they must address the both the drug addiction and mental illness. There are many different treatment centers that address both addiction and mental illnesses. It is a much more common issue that is now being addressed in most treatment centers.

How are Bipolar Disorder and Addiction Connected

The severity of bipolar disorder makes life uncomfortable for those suffering from it. Many try to self-medicate their discomfort with prescription drugs or alcohol. This practice is incredibly dangerous and often leads to substance abuse. People with bipolar disorder have problems with levels of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. Those who try to self-medicate, young males are more likely to abuse drugs than other groups, have difficulty maintaining a chemical balance for their brains. Turning to drugs and alcohol becomes reflex for these individuals attempting to balance their moods and energy levels. It is the severe discomfort that causes many bipolar individuals to turn to drugs and alcohol.

Getting Help

Anyone suffering from an addiction should seek professional treatment immediately. Those seeking treatment should speak with professionals from treatment centers that provide dual-diagnosis treatment. Bipolar addicts must get treatment for both their bipolar disorder and their substance abuse issue. Those that only receive treatment for addiction are more likely to relapse. Speaking with an addiction specialist or hotline can help these individuals and their families find the help they need. Dual diagnosis treatment treats both mental illness and addiction in a program that is statistically better than treating one or the other issue.