Substance-Induced Bipolar Disorder

Substance-Induced Bipolar DisorderDrug addiction can produce symptoms similar to those of bipolar disorder. Because many drugs of abuse work in the brain to alter brain chemicals, a person who is addicted to drugs may experience both manic and depressive episodes while dealing with addiction. Those who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder have alternating manic, depressive, and mixed times based on their current brain chemistry. Understanding the symptoms of bipolar disorder and how they relate to drug addiction can help those dealing with addiction know what to expect and how to cope with this aspect of their recovery.

Drugs and the Brain

The brain is the most complex organ in the human body and is made up of many parts. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drugs can alter areas of the brain responsible for life-sustaining functions. Some of the areas of the brain affected by drug abuse include the following:

  • Brain Stem – controls heart rate, breathing, sleeping, and other basic functions.
  • Limbic System – contains the brain’s reward circuits that link brain structures that regulate the ability to feel pleasure. For example, feeling pleasure motivates us to repeat behaviors vital to our survival, such as eating.
  • Cerebral Cortex – controls specific functions such as the senses and our ability to think, plan, solve problems, and make decisions.

When the brain’s communication pathways are altered or broken by drugs, we no longer get the right messages at the right times. This can result in severe symptoms often associated with mental illnesses like bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Disorder Side Effects

Bipolar disorder can be devastating to an individual and his family. Left untreated, bipolar disorder drives the sufferer to make decisions that he would not normally make, take risks with people and things that can put his loved ones in harm’s way, and make choices that might even put his own life in danger. Those who have undiagnosed or untreated bipolar disorder may try to cope with their symptoms through the use of drugs. A brain that is already unbalanced with this condition can be made much worse when addictive substances are introduced. Whether the bipolar disorder is drug induced or genetic, getting the right diagnosis and treatment is the only way to deal with this condition.

Permanent Effects, Temporary Symptoms

Some bipolar side effects from drug abuse can be temporary. Depression and severe mood swings may dissipate after the person in recovery has been drug free for a period of time. However, the psychological damage done from bipolar episodes can be much more far reaching. The relationships damaged during manic episodes due to decisions made may take years to rebuild or be permanently damaged.

Finding Help for Drug Addiction

The best way to deal with bipolar disorder brought on through drug abuse is through professional diagnosis and treatment. The right diagnosis can determine the cause of both the addiction and the mental illness. If you or a loved one struggles with substance abuse, we are here to help you. Call our toll-free number to speak to an admissions coordinator 24 hours a day. We are ready to answer your questions about addiction and help you find treatment.

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