What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder characterized by persistent and unusual mood swings which can lower an individual’s quality of life. Sadly, 60% of those with bipolar have abused substances to either address or mask the painful symptoms of bipolar. We understand bipolar is a very difficult disorder that may have led individuals to abuse substances as a coping mechanism. At Olympia House, our philosophy is to help you find healthier, more sustainable ways to help yourself while freeing you from the shame around addiction and other co-occurring disorders.
Though bipolar is painful wherever it is diagnosed, it’s important for sufferers to know what type of cycle around the feelings of mania (hyperactivity, reckless behavior, extreme anger, or an uncontrollable and exhausting brand of joy) and depression (exhaustion, irritability, difficulty concentrating described as “brain fog”, a sense of sadness, negativity about the world, and hopelessness it is hard to shake) they suffer from in order to get the help they need. There are four types of bipolar disorder:
- Bipolar I, which has the most extreme swings from mania to depression. The depressive period for this disorder lasts for two weeks. It is very hard for people with this disorder to carry out day to day activities during the time they are cycling through depression.
- Bipolar II, which has less extreme differences between moods. A less intense form of mania, known as hypomania, characterizes this disease. Hypomania is characterized by exhilaration that may lead to unusual amounts of activity and may feel hard to control.
- Cyclothymia is characterized by less intense episodes of depression and hypomania than are seen in Bipolar II or Bipolar I.
- Rapid-cycling bipolar is when, over the course of twelve months, there are four or more cycles of switching from mania to depression. Those with rapid-cycling bipolar often suffer a great deal from the continuous emotional crashes, and are more likely to self-destruct because of this pain.
What’s The Science Behind Bipolar Disorder?
At Olympia House, we want you to help you learn about your co-occurring disorder to give you the tools you need to master its challenges. Bipolar disorder is one of the least understood mental disorders in the field of psychiatry. However, the symptoms and cycles are clear and this allows us to treat your bipolar disorder in a way that helps you manage your symptoms and get back the life you’ve always imagined for yourself.
Science demonstrates that the ability of the cells of the brain to bounce back, or their resilience, is impaired in people with bipolar disorder. Recent developments in science suggest that genes responsible for dealing with stress do not respond as well in people with bipolar disorder. This leads to stress staying in the system longer than necessary, actually changing the brain.
How Does Bipolar Disorder Relate to Addiction?
Addiction and Bipolar Disorder are known to be strongly linked. 60% of people with bipolar have a history of substance abuse. We understand that bipolar is a very challenging disorder to live with. When a patient is in the grips of an exhilarating high, they may find themselves sleepless, with thoughts spilling from their mind like a broken faucet. During this time, patients may turn to the dream-like properties of opioids for relief. Similarly, when the cycle has switched to depression, sufferers may turn to drinking to numb themselves. It is for this reason alcoholism is the main substance of abuse for those suffering from bipolar disorder. When a person with bipolar craves energy, “uppers” such as methamphetamine might be turned to help them feel able to function, only to send them spiraling into a lonely addiction.
How do the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder Affect Treatment?
Those with bipolar disorder may struggle to stay with programs of recovery. When they are cycling through depression, the symptoms of withdrawal can feel impossible to fight. Those with co-occurring bipolar disorder may also feel ashamed when they can’t keep up the energy they presented and promises they made during mania or hypomania. At Olympia House, we understand this disorder starts in your brain and is not a reflection of your true self. Our beautiful alcohol and drug addiction rehab facility provides a peaceful setting for a gentle and stress-relieving treatment of bipolar disorder.
Through spiritual, psychological, and physical means, we will help you understand and master the complex relationship between your bipolar disorder and addiction, in a diverse, judgment-free, and individualized way.
Olympia House employs science-backed tools to help you with your recovery, including
- CBT, to challenge the negative messages of depression and the self-destructive urges of mania and hypomania
- Individualized therapy to help you track your mood and further understand and heal the relationship between using and your bipolar disorder
- Activities such as mindfulness and yoga, to learn to handle stress
- Medication Assisted Therapy and Medication Assisted Detox to give you the chemical backup you need to maximize the quality of your therapy.
The symptoms of bipolar can feel like a ride that you wish you could get off of. It is understandable to crave peace and consistency. Most importantly, we know how important feeling free from both the chains of addiction as well as the symptoms of bipolar are to creating the life you deeply want for yourself.