Author: James Anderson

Bipolar disorder and alcoholism: Are they related?

how to live with a bipolar alcoholic

Approximately 2.6% of people in the United States have bipolar disorder. Approximately 14.5 million people in United States ages 12 and over have alcohol use disorder. Read more to learn about bipolar disorder, alcohol use disorder, and the connection between these conditions. For bipolar disorder, medication and a mix of individual or group therapy have shown to be effective treatments.

Researchers have also proposed that the presence of mania may precipitate or exacerbate alcoholism (Hasin et al. 1985). There are a number of disorders in the bipolar spectrum, including bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, and cyclothymia. Bipolar I disorder is the most severe; it is characterized by manic episodes that last for at least a week and depressive episodes that last for at least 2 weeks.

Online Therapy

Professional help from a psychiatrist and/or addiction specialist can be instrumental in helping to manage symptoms and develop healthy coping strategies. If you’ve lost control over your drinking or you misuse drugs, get help before your problems get worse and are harder to treat. Seeing a mental health professional right away is very important if you also have symptoms of bipolar disorder or another mental health condition.

Both bipolar disorder and alcohol consumption cause changes in a person’s brain. As a result, a person with bipolar disorder may not get the correct treatment that can relieve their symptoms. This may cause alcohol misuse and bipolar disorder each to trigger symptoms of the other condition. A mixed state of mind often occurs in this type of disorder with intense feelings of euphoria or excitement. Only this stage of happiness deteriorates as it is followed by extreme sadness and a bountiful sense of depression. Bipolar I is typified by mania, a state where affected individuals may not be able to accurately interpret and understand the world around them.

  1. It acts similarly to some medications, risking feelings of depression with each swig of alcohol.
  2. The relationship between bipolar disorder and alcohol misuse is complex.
  3. The presence of bipolar subtypes was not addressed in this study, so it is not clear if these adolescents had the subtypes of bipolar illness that are more difficult to treat.
  4. In the past, researchers have noted that symptoms of bipolar disorder appear as a person withdraws from alcohol dependence.
  5. Bipolar disorder and alcoholism co-occur at higher than expected rates.

If you or a loved one is ready to overcome an alcohol addiction, reach out today. Treatment providers can connect you with programs that provide the tools to help you get and stay sober. Reach out to a treatment provider for free today for immediate assistance.

Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder and Alcohol Addiction

Patients who are fully manic often require hospitalization to decrease the risk of harming themselves or others. People can also have symptoms of both depression and mania at the same time. This mixed mania, as it is called, appears to be accompanied by a greater risk of suicide and is more difficult to treat. Patients with 4 or more mood episodes within the same 12 months are considered to have rapid cycling bipolar disorder, which is a predictor of poor response to some medications.

how to live with a bipolar alcoholic

It is also important to remember that the person is suffering from a mental illness and that it is not a personal attack or a reflection on the relationship. Living with a bipolar alcoholic can be difficult and overwhelming, and it is important to seek professional help. A psychiatrist and/or addiction specialist can provide the necessary support and guidance in managing symptoms and developing healthy coping strategies. Living with a bipolar alcoholic can be stressful and emotionally draining, and it is important to take care of one’s own mental and emotional health. This includes taking time for oneself, engaging in activities that bring joy, and seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist. These difficulties, the possible side effects of the drugs, and the features of bipolar disorder itself can make it hard for a person to keep to a treatment plan.

Bipolar II Disorder

It may seem like a constant back and forth struggle, but it is so much more to each individual suffering. For example, some people may develop bipolar disorder first, while in others, AUD may appear first. Individuals with a first-degree family member, such as a parent or sibling, who has bipolar disorder are more likely to develop the condition. If you have bipolar disorder, AUD, or both, talk to your doctor about treatment options that will work for you. If your loved one is not getting help, it is important to encourage them to seek professional help. Let them know that it is okay to ask for help and that treatment can help them manage their condition.

Additionally, many bipolar medications react very negatively with alcohol, causing effects such as intense hangovers and vomiting. The higher the high alcohol would bring, the lower the low a bipolar individuals mood would project onto daily life, yet for some it is all worth it. Alcohol eases the anxiety between the crazy feelings and the ups and downs bipolar disorder brings about. Mild drugs don’t seem to cut out all the symptoms many feel with bipolar disorder.

Medical Professionals

It is also important to provide the person with support and understanding while maintaining the boundaries. A person who is avoiding or cutting down on alcohol may find it helpful to replace the habit with an alternative feel-good solution . A person may need to work with their doctor for some time before they find a suitable medication and dose. The National Institutes of Health give no specific advice against using alcohol with lithium, but a doctor may provide additional information. Bipolar disorder is believed to result from imbalances in brain chemistry. To identify AUD, your doctor will ask you a series of questions about your habits and your body’s reactions to drinking.

Regardless of the blurred nights and the draining hangovers leading to mixed intensified feelings once the alcohol leaves the body, many bipolar individuals still choose to drink. For some, the relaxed feelings and the heightened mania far outweigh the negative effect alcohol has on the mood. Call now to connect with a treatment provider and start your recovery journey. Drinking on bipolar medication can turn one drink into several, especially drinking on an empty stomach. Alcohol can also destabilize bipolar disorder, giving up your control of emotions to an empty glass.