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Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse Treatment Centers Near Me

Bipolar disorder, sometimes called manic depression or manic-depressive disorder, is a mental health condition characterized by episodes of major depression alternating with periods of mania or hypomania and changes in activity levels and concentration that may severely impair a person’s ability to function.1, 3 Bipolar disorders and substance abuse disorders frequently co-occur in people. While the causes of these co-occurring disorders are still uncertain, research suggests that genetics may play a significant role. In addition, when a person has both types of disorders, it makes the treatment of bipolar disorder more difficult. 2 Fortunately, both bipolar disorder and substance use disorders are treatable.2 Knowing how bipolar disorder functions and how to find a dual diagnosis treatment facility near you can help you find recovery.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder characterized by / distinct changes in mood and energy levels.1 The overly excited state is called mania or hypomania, and this hypomanic state is countered with episodes of depression.

When a person is manic, they may:1

  • Feel elated, euphoric, high, or “hyped up.”
  • Be irritable.
  • Feel jittery or jumpy.
  • Have a loss of appetite.
  • Sleep very little.
  • Engage in behavior that indicates poor judgment, such as engaging in promiscuous sexual behavior, spending money excessively, or driving recklessly.
  • Feel that they are having racing thoughts.
  • Talk a lot and jump from one subject to another rapidly.
  • Feel that they have special powers or are unusually talented or gifted in some way.

When a person then has depressive episodes, they may:1

  • Feel hopeless, sad, low, or worried.
  • Feel slow.
  • Sleep excessively.
  • Have trouble sleeping.
  • Overeat and/or gain weight.
  • Talk more slowly than usual.
  • Have trouble concentrating or making decisions.
  • Feel they cannot accomplish simple tasks.
  • Lose interest in regular activities, including sex.
  • Feel worthless or even think about suicide.

There are different types of bipolar disorder. These designated categories reflect different levels of severity of the symptoms of mania and depression:1

  • Bipolar I: the most severe form of bipolar disorder. Manic episodes last at least 7 days or include severe behavior that requires immediate hospitalization.
  • Bipolar II: characterized by alternating episodes of mania and depression; the manic episodes are more subdued than in Bipolar I.
  • Cyclothymic disorder: periods of depression that last at least 2 years with fairly mild manic cycles.

The underlying causes of bipolar disorder are still the subject of research; much is still unknown about how it develops. However, some studies indicate that the structure of the brain or certain genetic factors play a role in the development of the disorder, so those with close relatives with bipolar disorder do tend to be at increased risk of developing it. However, research suggests that genetic factors are not the only nor a universal cause of bipolar disorder.1 There is research that also indicates that people who have an onset of bipolar disorder in childhood are more likely to develop a substance use disorder than those who develop bipolar disorders later in life.2

What is Substance Abuse?

Substance abuse is refers to the compulsive use of substances despite having negative consequences.3 People can use a substance casually, but casual use can become a pattern that grows from use into misuse, or abuse, and quickly spirals into an addiction. When this happens, it is medically known as a substance use disorder (SUD). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition (DSM-5) lays out eleven criteria for the diagnosis of a substance use disorder. If a person meets at least 2 of the following criteria over a 12-month period, he or she can be said to have a substance use disorder:3

  • Taking more of a substance than was intended.
  • Unsuccessful attempts to stop using or cut back on using.
  • Taking a substance even though the person knows it causes harm to their physical or emotional wellbeing.
  • Having cravings to use a substance.
  • Using the substance leads to increased interpersonal conflict.
  • Using the substance leads to the inability to fulfill obligations at work, school, or home.
  • Using substances in risky situations, such as driving.
  • The use of the substance takes up a great deal of a person’s time and energy.
  • Giving up things that used to be important or enjoyable to the person in order to use the substance.
  • Having tolerance to a substance, which means you need more and more of it to get the same effects as before.
  • Going into withdrawal, which means you have physical symptoms when you stop using the substance.

The severity of a substance use disorder is determined by the number of criteria an individual meets. An individual who meets only two of the criteria may be considered to have a mild SUD, while those who meet 6 or more criteria may be diagnosed with a more severe SUD.3

Connection Between Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse

Research has indicated that around 40% of the people diagnosed with bipolar I and II disorder will also have a substance use disorder at some point in their life.10 Likewise, around half of all people with substance use disorders also have a mental health diagnosis.4 Even though a substance use disorder and a mental health diagnosis such as bipolar disorder can occur in the same person, there is no indication that one of these disorders is caused the other. However, there are links between the development of both disorders, which include: 5

  • Genetic factors, accounting for around 40-60% of a person’s tendency to develop a substance use disorder. For example, certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine, are affected by the use of substances and also when a person has a mental illness. Much is still not understood about the way genetics factor into the development of both types of disorders.
  • Environmental factors, such as chronic stress or trauma, can lead to the development of mental illness and can also predispose someone to develop a mental health disorder. However, some of these factors affect people only at a certain stage of their development.

When a person is simultaneously diagnosed with both bipolar disorder and a substance use disorder, they become known as co-occurring mental health disorders. Oftentimes, co-occurring mental health disorders respond best to dual diagnosis treatment.

It is important for people with co-occurring SUD and bipolar disorder to get treatment, as research indicates that people with bipolar disorder and SUD are significantly more likely to try to commit suicide than people without both conditions.11

Co-occurring bipolar disorder and substance use disorder are also associated with:

  • Increased symptom severity.
  • Poorer treatment outcomes.
  • Lower SUD treatment adherence and retention.
  • Longer mood episodes.
  • Poorer recovery of functional abilities (even after abstaining from substances).
  • Increased use of emergency services.
  • Greater hospitalizations.
  • More variable disease course.
  • Greater affective instability.
  • Higher impulsivity.
  • Poor response to lithium (the standard drug of choice for treating bipolar disorders).

Rehab Programs and Options for Dual Diagnosis Treatment.

Dual diagnosis treatment involves the simultaneous treatment of two or more co-occurring mental health disorders. When seeking dual diagnosis treatment for bipolar disorder and substance misuse it is important to find a program that is designed to meet the needs of both disorders.6, 8 The most common types of treatment for substance use disorders, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, are also beneficial for treating bipolar disorder.6

Dual diagnosis treatment for bipolar disorder and substance abuse may include:7

  • Detox, which allows people to be supervised while getting substances out of their system in a safe way.
  • Inpatient treatment, which offers 24/7 supervision and intensive treatment. Not everyone needs inpatient bipolar disorder and substance abuse treatment, but it is frequently recommended for people who have co-occurring psychiatric disorders. Inpatient treatment usually lasts for a few weeks.
  • Residential treatment, in which patients will live at a facility and receive treatment for substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders. Residential treatment for bipolar disorder and substance abuse can provide somebody with around-the-clock supervision, and with a wide variety of evidence-based therapies. Residential treatment usually lasts for several months.
  • Outpatient programs, where you go home at night and on weekends. Some programs meet just a few hours each week. Others meet several hours per day, usually 5 days per week, but sometimes up to 7 days per week.

It is important to note that your course of treatment can be determined only after a thorough assessment of the specifics of your case and your particular needs. It’s best to reach out to a medical professional to discuss what bipolar disorder treatment may look like for you.

How to Find Bipolar Treatment Centers Near Me

If you are looking for bipolar disorder treatment near you, it’s important to look for a program that specializes in treatment for dual diagnosis, also called co-occurring disorders. Programs that treat both types of disorders simultaneously generally offer better outcomes than those that address either a mental health disorder or a substance use disorder. 6 Luckily, there are several online resources to help you find a bipolar disorder treatment center near you.

It’s important to determine if you want to attend treatment near your home, or if you will do best at an out-of-state facility. You may find that there are not many nearby treatment centers that have a specialty in treating dual diagnoses. Seeking treatment out of state can be beneficial, however. Not only can you find treatment options for your particular needs, but you can get away from your current environment. If you have many friends and family members who use substances, removing yourself from these influences in your life can help your recovery.

Does Insurance Cover Bipolar and Substance Abuse Treatment?

Under certain laws, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health insurance providers must include coverage for some portion of the treatment for mental health disorders.9 These include bipolar disorder and substance use disorders. To determine the extent of your coverage, you can reach out to your insurance provider, or check your coverage online.

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