We need to open by saying this: Individuals who suffer from both bipolar disorder and addiction are more likely to commit suicide. If that is the case for you or someone you love, it is urgent to seek treatment immediately.

Suffering from bipolar disorder is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a disease, just like addiction is a disease. At Elan Recovery + Wellness, we are well-equipped to treat both the disease of addiction as well as co-existing mental illnesses.

Dual diagnosis cases – in which someone is addicted and also diagnosed with a mental health condition – are extremely common. Straight talk? It’s rare not to see some form of mental illness in addicts, simply because of the trauma that substance abuse inflicts on the brain.

A Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder

The primary diagnostic manual, the DSM-V Handbook of Differential Diagnosis, indicates that bipolar disorders are brain disorders that:

  • Change a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function.
  • Are characterized by cycles of extreme, intense emotional states. These are called mood episodes.

Mood Episodes

People with bipolar disorder can also experience normal moods and functioning in between episodes. The disease is characterized by cycling from extreme high to extreme low moods. Depending on the form of bipolar disorder a person suffers, they may experience the following mood states:

Manic episode

A period of at least one week, where the person exhibits extremely high spirits and energy level. In addition, they must show at least three of the following symptoms: an extra-high level of self-regard; reduced need for sleep; talking excessively, loudly and/or quickly; easily distracted; launching multiple activities or projects at once; increased risk tolerance; and inability to stop their racing thoughts.

Hypomanic episode

A mood state similar to a manic episode, but shorter (no more than four days) and with less pronounced symptoms. Someone in a hypomanic episode may find it easier to stay in control and function normally.

Major depressive episode

A period of 14 days (or longer) in which a person experiences at least five of the following symptoms: Feelings of deep despair; loss of interest in once-pleasurable activities; feelings of low self-worth; sleep disturbance; restlessness; slowed response and speech; appetite changes; fatigue; lack of concentration; suicidal thoughts.

Bipolar disorder tends to run in families. In fact, as many as 90 percent of all those diagnosed with a bipolar disorder have a relative with either bipolar disorder or with some form of depression. But drug or alcohol use can also trigger bipolar episodes in individuals who are predisposed to the disease.

Addiction and Bipolar Disorder

People can begin to use and abuse substances as a response to bipolar disorder or other mental illness, as a means to cope with their own pain and suffering. Other individuals develop deepening symptoms of mental illness as a result of their drug or alcohol dependency, as they feel their lives begin to spiral out of control.

Sometimes, people seek relief from the pain of bipolar disorder through drugs with sedating properties (like Xanax and Valium). Others seek to cope by drinking, until alcohol use has become habitual and addiction has developed.

Other drugs, such as opioids, assault the pleasure centers of the brain. Use of these kinds of drugs produces the highest of highs through the release of “feel-good” hormones such as dopamine. Eventually, the brain becomes unable to feel pleasure on its own.

Treatment for Co-Existing Mental Illness

Elan Recovery + Wellness employs a medical director/staff psychiatrist and a full-time psychiatric nurse practitioner, who complete psychiatric and physical evaluations, prescribe medication, and do weekly monitoring and medication checks.

It’s essential to find the proper medical regimen to manage mental illness, and so our medical staff works closely with every guest for their own comfort, safety, and well-being. Through the use of our cutting-edge adaptive testing software, we are able to quickly assess each guest’s mental and emotional status, and make instant adjustments to treatment and medication, if necessary, for the best possible outcomes.

In addition, Elan Recovery + Wellness offers the following treatment protocols for our dual-diagnosis guests:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Mental health counseling
  • Skills groups
  • Relapse prevention planning
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT)
  • Shame resiliency and vulnerability training
  • Biofeedback therapy
  • Experiential therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Nutrition education
  • Case management

We Treat Addiction and Mental Illness

Please, do not consider any treatment facility that is not capable of treating both addiction and mental illness. Reach out to us today to find out more about Elan’s compassionate, professional care.

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