Addressing Co-occurring Issues in Bipolar Disorder
Though there are many people affected by bipolar disorder, many do not display extreme symptoms. However, there are many who do. When this becomes an issue, there are a variety of co-occurring disorders can arise. The good news is that these can be treated and, for the sake of the person, should be attended to.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
When a person suffers from bipolar disorder, they have extreme swings between depression and mania. A common issue is that bipolar disorder is often exhibited through prolonged periods of both mood swings. Though many people have short periods of feeling down, or periods of feeling energized, these are not sustainable for long periods and especially when experienced back-to-back.
Symptoms of Depression:
- Loss of interest in everyday activities
- Feelings of despair
- Decreased appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
- Disturbed/illogical thinking
- Difficulty concentrating
- Suicidal thoughts
Symptoms of Mania:
- Extreme energy
- Easily irritated/agitated
- Extreme joy
- Feeling delusional
- Poor decision making
- Extreme actions with overreaching consequences
When a person has these symptoms, they will often become exhausted, and their bouts of mania will last longer. This often causes an extreme lack of sleep, with some people staying awake for days. They may believe they are solving problems or having amazing ideas when they are, in fact, slowly burning out their minds.
Bipolar disorder can lead to such overtly negative behavior because the mind is unable to regulate normal sleep patterns and dopamine, meaning that emotions are in a constant state of flux. For most people, when they are sad, it takes them some time to return to their baseline.
Also, when they are extremely happy, they will eventually tire and return to their baseline. However, when they go from their lowest emotions straight to their highest, the brain is unable to cope, and the sudden shift can cause even more issues with brain chemistry.
What Are Co-occurring Issues?
Co-occurring issues are also known as dual diagnosis. This means that a person has two or more issues that are happening at the same time. A bipolar diagnosis is an example of this type of condition.
Another issue for people with bipolar disorder is that it may lead to drastic behavior such as substance abuse. People may feel they need something to calm their minds or may have times of mania where they feel invincible and will use illicit substances because it simply feels like a great idea.
When this happens, they are left with even more co-occurring issues. These people may find that substances such as alcohol are able to depress some of the manic behavior, however, it will have the added issue of increasing the levels of depression.
Once a person is addicted, they may not stop at just one substance. For example, they may attempt to counter the effects of alcohol with something like cocaine. These two should not be mixed regardless of the situation, but with bipolar disorder, they can be even more disastrous as they will throw people’s erratic behavior into sharper relief.
Available Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
There are a variety of treatments for bipolar disorder. Due to the fact that it is a chemical imbalance within the brain, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is often utilized. Due to the co-occurring nature of bipolar disorder, there will often be a cocktail of multiple medications used to treat the various aspects of the disorder. This course of treatment will start with lower doses of medication, and a medical professional will monitor the person’s behavior to adjust levels and decide on the right mix.
Often, the treatment involves mood stabilizers. These can include:
- Lamotrigine (Lamictal)
- Lithium (Lithobid)
- Divalproex sodium (Depakote)
These are only three examples, as there are a number of different medications that can be taken. However, these medications are often used primarily to deal with mania. There are also medications to treat depression. These are called Serotonin Selective Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), and much like mood stabilizers, there is a variety for a medical professional to use and see which works best. Often included are:
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Paroxetine (Paxil)
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
There are a number of others that can be used. It is important to know that there may be other medications involved in an effort to find balance and deal with any additional side effects that the initial medications can bring. Should people become frustrated with the amount of time it takes to find the right balance, there are many different combinations to try, and the medical professional wants nothing but to get the mixture right. Patience is necessary for this process.
Twilight Recovery Center’s Approach
At Twilight Recovery Center, you can be guaranteed that you will get the assistance you need to deal with your bipolar or other co-occurring disorders. Upon arrival, a full assessment will be conducted by a medical professional to determine what issues need to be dealt with.
For people experiencing multiple issues, MAT will be used to assist with any initial issues and will be adjusted going forward. Individuals will be provided with individual care that is crafted for them so that they know they are not simply going through a cookie-cutter assembly line.
Your care is paramount, and Twilight Recovery Center is here to provide the highest quality care available.
Bipolar disorder is a condition that many people face without understanding it. In fact, many people assume that their co-occurring issues have nothing to do with having bipolar disorder. However, those with this condition may be confused by what they are experiencing and how to deal with it. At Twilight Recovery Center, we believe in addressing the whole individual through a variety of treatment options. When you enter our doors, the staff is ready to help diagnose your particular issues and develop a plan to treat them. For those without a diagnosis, we can walk you through the process and show you that things can improve for you. Call us today at (888) 414-8183.