Struggling with extreme, uncontrollable mood swings could be the result of bipolar disorder. This mental health disorder is recognized for its manic and depressive episodes. Seeking a bipolar disorder treatment program offers people a chance to get control of their lives, even if they are also struggling with addiction.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, bipolar disorder affects around 5.7 million Americans,—2.6% of the US population. The condition is most common in people between 15 and 30 years old, but anyone can be diagnosed with bipolar disorder at any age.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a mental health condition that affects how you feel and behave. People with bipolar disorder experience extreme shifts in mood from mania to depression. These episodes can last for weeks or even months at a time. Bipolar disorder can make it difficult to function in work, school, and social settings, but treatment can help you manage your symptoms and get back on track.
Types of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is typically categorized into four types: bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymic disorder, and other specified and unspecified bipolar and related disorders.
- Bipolar I disorder is defined by manic episodes that last at least 7 days or severe depressive episodes lasting at least 2 weeks.
- Bipolar II disorder is characterized by less intense manic episodes that last at least 4 days and hypomanic episodes lasting at least 4 days. Unlike those with bipolar I, people with bipolar II disorder never experience a full-blown manic episode.
- Cyclothymic disorder is defined by hypomanic episodes and periods of depression that are less severe than those experienced by people with bipolar I or II. This is the mildest form of bipolar disorder, but it can still be disruptive and impairing.
- Other specified and unspecified bipolar and related disorders include any mood swings not fitting into the previous three categories.
Signs and Symptoms
No matter what type of bipolar disorder a person is diagnosed with, they will experience manic episodes and depressive episodes in each form. However, the frequency and extremes of these can change significantly. Some of the most common symptoms a person may have include:
Mania episodes such as:
- Being very upbeat or jumpy without other cause
- Less need to sleep and racing thoughts
- Easily distracted and unable to focus
- Exaggerated self-confidence
Depressive episodes such as:
- Feeling empty, sad, and hopeless
- Losing significant weight without dieting
- Insomnia or sleeping all of the time
- Loss of energy and constant fatigue
- Inability to think or plan (can feel similar to ADHD)
Why Bipolar and Addiction Often Occur Together
It is not uncommon for a person to experience both bipolar and addiction. Some people with bipolar disorder turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their symptoms. This can lead to addiction, especially when it continues over time. Because bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, it is only possible to manage mood swings and symptoms. Using drugs or alcohol to do so can lead to numerous health complications and the risk of overdose. Eventually, these substances are unlikely to provide the relief you need.
A person with the need for bipolar and addiction treatment needs to receive that treatment simultaneously. Co-occurring disorders like this (mental health disorders, along with addiction) need to be adequately treated to minimize the risk of relapse. Medications like Lithium and others can be used to help, and talk therapy is also beneficial.
Seek Out a Bipolar Disorder Treatment Program in Boston, MA
At Greater Boston Addiction Centers, our team offers a range of therapy options that can help you overcome the ups and downs of bipolar disorder. If you are experiencing these, some medications and solutions can help minimize the onset of symptoms and give you more ability to control how you feel. Treatment starts with any of our programs and therapy options. Learn more about them, including: