It’s not unusual or concerning for anyone to experience occasional mood swings. But bipolar disorder goes beyond the normal emotional ups and downs that occur in everyday life. This disorder causes dramatic shifts in temperament, with happy, productive moods at one extreme and depressed, disengaged moods at the other.
Bipolar episodes may last for days or even weeks at a time. Some people experience these episodes several times a week while others may only have them a few times a year.
There are several causes of bipolar disorder, including brain structure, stress or trauma, or even genetics.
Although there is no permanent cure for bipolar disorder, it is possible for someone to learn how to manage their mood swings through counseling and medications.
Manic episodes: During these episodes, a person may appear to be excessively upbeat and cheerful or hostile and irritable. They may exhibit erratic behavior such as going on shopping sprees, or they become very talkative and assertive. Other signs include:
Depressive episodes: In this situation, a person appears sad and uninterested in other people and everyday activities. They are likely to eat less that they normally would. They may have feelings of restlessness and guilt, and they may even contemplate suicide. Other signs include:
Mixed episodes: Some people with bipolar disorder have mixed episodes that include traits of manic and depressive episodes all at the same time.
People of any age can have bipolar disorder, although it is most commonly diagnosed among people in their mid 20s. In many of those cases, researchers have found that the first episodes occurred during adolescence or even childhood. Bipolar disorder affects approximately 2.8 percent of the American population, and it impacts males and females equally.
People who suffer from bipolar disorder often turn to drugs or alcohol in an attempt to escape the emotional upheaval the disorder causes in their life. One study found that 44 percent of people with bipolar abuse alcohol and 56 percent abuse drugs.
Because the symptoms of a substance abuse disorder and bipolar disorder often overlap, it’s important to get help from specialists who are trained to distinguish between the two. A dual diagnosis and a treatment plan for co-occurring disorders – one that addresses both disorders simultaneously – is often necessary for a full recovery.
At Harbor Village, we specialize in treating co-occurring disorders. Our doctors, clinicians, counselors, and therapists work together to help you overcome your addiction through drug rehab or alcohol rehab and learn to manage your bipolar disorder at the same time. This provides you with the best opportunity to complete a successful and lasting recovery.