Treatment Plans for Bipolar Disorder

Once called manic-depressive disorder, bipolar disorder is a mental health condition. It causes extreme mood swings, including emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). But, treatment plans can help manage the dramatic shifts in mood and energy. 

Bipolar disorder can occur in teens, but most commonly appears around 25 years old. It affects men and women equally, with almost 3 percent of Americans who have bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, nearly 83 percent of cases are classified as severe. 

If bipolar disorder is left untreated, it can get worse because it’s a lifelong condition. For example, it can lead a person to suffer from bipolar disorder and addiction. However, centers like Sana Lake BWC offer treatment plans for bipolar disorder to help.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

The symptoms of bipolar disorder and their severity can vary. For example, a person can have distinct mania or depression. But, sometimes, a person can have both extreme highs and lows in rapid sequence. However, some people can go months or years without any symptoms. 

Bipolar I Disorder

Bipolar I disorder is defined by manic episodes lasting at least 7 days. Mainly, it’s characterized by manic symptoms so severe it requires medical care. But, depressive episodes lasting two weeks or more also occurs. While depression with mixed features of depression and mania is also possible with Bipolar I disorder. 

Bipolar II Disorder

Patterns of depressive and hypomanic episodes define bipolar II Disorder. But, the episodes are not full-blown episodes typical with bipolar I disorder.

Cyclothymic Disorder or Cyclothymia

Cyclothymia is defined by periods hypomanic as well as depressive symptoms. The symptoms of cyclothymia last at least two years in adults and one year in adolescents. But, the symptoms do not meet the requirements for hypomanic or depressive episodes. 

Furthermore, sometimes a person may have bipolar disorder symptoms that don’t match any of the above categories. This is referred to as “other specified and unspecified bipolar and related disorders.” But, treatment plans for bipolar disorder can help manage the symptoms no matter the classification. 

Difference Between Mania and Hypomania

Mania and hypomania are two very distinct types of episodes. But, they both have the same symptoms. Mania results in more severe episodes and will cause noticeable issues at work, school, and relationships. Also, mania may lead to a break from reality (psychosis) and require medical intervention

Manic and hypomanic episodes include three or more of the following symptoms:

Major Depressive Episode

Major depressive episodes include symptoms severe enough to be noticed at work and in social situations. A major depressive episode includes five or more of the following symptoms:

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

The cause of bipolar disorder is still unknown. But, several factors may be involved, such as biological differences and genetics.

Risk Factors for Bipolar Disorder

There are a few risk factors that can trigger bipolar disorder, including:

Complications of Bipolar Disorder

When bipolar disorder is left untreated, it can result in serious problems. These problems can affect every area of life, including:

Co-Occurring Disorders and Bipolar Disorder

Many people with bipolar disorder may also have another mental or physical issue. Treatment plans for bipolar disorder must include a “whole person” approach. This allows for all the problems to be addressed and increase lasting recovery. 

Co-occurring disorders can include:

Bipolar Disorder and Addiction: Common Co-Occurring Disorders

Unfortunately, it is typical for bipolar disorder and addiction to co-occur. For this reason, early treatment of bipolar disorder is crucial. According to the American Journal of Managed Care, stats on bipolar disorder and addiction include:

Even though alcohol use disorder is most common among people with bipolar disorder, it is important to seek treatment for all substance use disorders. Having co-occurring bipolar disorder and drug use disorder can make treatment challenging. For instance, the emotional highs and lows can make it challenging to follow treatment plans for bipolar disorder. 

To begin with, diagnosing bipolar disorder and addiction can be difficult. Many people will not be open about their drug or alcohol use. Additionally, their friends and family may only see depressive episodes. For this reason, a person may get the wrong diagnosis and treatment. 

The Effects of Co-Occurring Bipolar Disorder and Addiction

A few different factors cause bipolar disorder. But, no matter the cause, bipolar disorder leads to chemical imbalances in the brain. As a result, people have extreme mood swings. When people use drugs or alcohol to cope with mania and depression, it puts them at a higher risk of severe side effects.  

Using mood-altering substances like drugs and alcohol majorly affects the symptoms of bipolar disorder. The most significant effect being on the rate, prevalence, and intensity of manic, hypomanic, and depressive episodes. However, it is not uncommon for those with bipolar disorder to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. 

Many people believe self-medicating is helping them feel better. And, depending on the drug, they may feel like they are calming down from a manic episode or pulling out of a depressive episode. Unfortunately, it is only temporary relief. They are consequently setting themself up for a crash and even more severe episodes. 

Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder and Addiction

The first challenge of bipolar disorder and addiction is a diagnosis. Generally, a doctor will perform a physical exam, conduct an interview, and order lab tests. Even though bipolar disorder can’t be diagnosed with a blood test, it will rule out any other illnesses such as hyperthyroidism. 

Some things to consider when diagnosing co-occurring bipolar disorder and addiction include:

A trained professional will consider all the issues a person is experiencing to create a “whole person” approach in treatment plans for bipolar disorder and addiction.

Treatment Plans for Bipolar Disorder and Addiction

Bipolar disorder and drug use disorder are both chronic, lifelong conditions that require lifelong treatment. But, if a person only gets therapy for bipolar disorder and not addiction, then they will fall back into the same patterns. Simultaneously, a person struggling with addiction who doesn’t receive treatment for bipolar disorder will likely relapse. 

Generally, a person struggling with bipolar disorder and drug use disorder experience:

Both bipolar disorder and drug use disorder can interfere with daily life and social skills. Hence, issues at work, financial problems, and relationship difficulties are possible complications of bipolar disorder and drug use disorder. But, integrated treatment plans for bipolar disorder will address bipolar disorder and drug use disorders. As a result of chronic lifelong treatment, people find Recovery for Life. 

Medications in Treatment Plans for Bipolar Disorder and Addiction

Treatment plans for bipolar disorder may include medications to help manage symptoms of bipolar disorder and alcoholism. At the same time, it can help with bipolar disorder and drug use disorder. However, some professionals may be hesitant to use medications due to the addictive qualities of some medicine. 

Medications to treat bipolar and addiction include:

Psychotherapy in Treatment Plans for Bipolar Disorder and Addiction

Therapy is the most significant part of treating bipolar disorder and drug use disorder at Sana Lake BWC. Members spend the majority of their days in different treatments addressing the issues of bipolar disorder and addiction. We provide our members with a variety of evidence-based and alternative therapies to increase Recovery for Life. 

Group Therapy for Bipolar Disorder and Alcoholism

Group therapy for bipolar disorder and addiction is an integral part of a comprehensive treatment plan for bipolar disorder. It allows members to realize they are not alone, and other people also have bipolar disorder and drug use disorder. Furthermore, members share their experiences and learn from others as they share theirs. 

Family Therapy for Bipolar Disorder and Drug Use Disorder

Bipolar disorder and drug use disorder cause tension and conflict within the family. But, family therapy helps resolve the conflict and build healthy family dynamics. Typically, the first few sessions focus on educating the family on bipolar disorder and addiction. Families learn how to recognize the signs of an episode or addiction and prevent it from getting worse. 

But, just knowing the signs doesn’t repair the damage already caused by bipolar disorder and drug use disorder. With help from a therapist, family members can express their pain and hurt. As a result, families start to heal and learn to support their loved one in recovery.

Individual Therapy for Bipolar Disorder and Addiction

Individual therapy is the foundation of treatment plans for bipolar disorder and addiction. At Sana Lake BWC, individual therapy begins the minute a member walks through our doors. Whether it’s in our Urgent Access Center, inpatient treatment, or one of our outpatient programs, individual therapy addresses bipolar disorder and addiction issues. 

But, each member has their own unique set of issues. So, co-occurring bipolar disorder and alcoholism and co-occurring bipolar disorder and drug use disorder require an individualized approach to treatment. Therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy are standard therapies in treatment plans for bipolar disorder. 

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in Treatment Plans for Bipolar Disorder

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in treatment plans for bipolar disorder and addiction focuses on addiction issues. At the same time, CBT’s goal is for members to gain a new outlook on life. It does so by challenging negative thoughts and beliefs. As a result, members develop new healthy thought patterns and positive behaviors. 

Dialectical Behavior Therapy in Treatment Plans for Bipolar Disorder

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) helps members cope with stress, regulate emotions, and maintain healthy relationships. Because members with bipolar disorder have extreme mood changes, DBT allows them to recognize and change them before an episode becomes full-blown. In short, being mindful of bipolar triggers helps stop the pattern of running to drugs and alcohol.  

Holistic Therapies in Treatment Plans for Bipolar Disorder

Holistic therapies engage the body, mind, and soul in the recovery journey from bipolar disorder and addiction. But, as with traditional therapies, holistic therapies won’t cure bipolar disorder and addiction. However, it helps members cope with and manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder and addiction. Therefore, bipolar disorder and drug use disorder treatment that includes traditional and holistic medications and therapies offer a comprehensive “whole person” approach to bipolar disorder and drug use disorder. 

Holistic therapies include:

Find Help at Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center

If you or someone you love is struggling with bipolar disorder and addiction there is hope. Our team of trained professionals can help you take back control of your life. Contact us today and start your journey to Recovery for Life!

References:

https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Bipolar-Disorder

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355955

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2094705/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3872485/#:~:text=Clinical%20trials%20research%20suggests%20that,has%20not%20been%20systematically%20investigated.