Here at Coastal Detox, we offer detoxification services to those suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction. We also understand, however, that mental health disorders sometimes co-occur with addiction. For example, some individuals may suffer from bipolar disorder and addiction. In cases where a person is diagnosed as bipolar and substance abuse is also present, our team is here to help!

When someone with a drug or alcohol addiction gets to the point they want to address their addiction issues, it’s a special occurrence. These are people who are living in the depths of despair without knowing where the path is to get back to living a normal life.

Many recovering individuals know that the path to recovery goes right through a drug and alcohol treatment facility. That’s the only place on earth where an addict is going to get a chance to recover from their addiction illness. So if you’re dealing with the effects of addiction and mental health disorders, please let us help you here at Coastal Detox.

About Co-Occurring Disorders

bipolar and substance abuse

Upon entering treatment, each new client has to go through an admission interview. The purpose of the interview is to give rehab facility administrators information about the addict’s circumstances. They will use this information to chart an appropriate course of treatment for the new client.

But what happens when a client reports they may be suffering from an emotional or mental disorder as well as their addiction? That’s a very interesting twist for any addiction treatment professional. Experts have a term they use to identify the existence of both emotional/mental disorders and addiction. They refer to this as “co-occurring disorders.”

When a person suffers from bipolar disorder and substance abuse, it’s important to have access to comprehensive and inclusive care. A dual diagnosis treatment program can help individuals who have co-occurring disorders. This is because this type of rehab program addresses both disorders simultaneously, rather than focusing on only one.

What It’s Like to Have Co-occurring Disorders

At any level, it’s difficult for a person to have to deal with their addiction issues. Every day, they live in the cycle of addiction, hoping they can make it from one day to the next. As part of that kind of lifestyle, they experience problems in all aspects of their life. The following challenges and experiences often occur in a person’s life when addiction is present:

  • Physical health issues
  • Isolation from society
  • Problems with relationships at home and work

  • Financial problems due to purchasing drugs or alcohol
  • Inability to handle personal responsibilities like paying bills
  • Encountering legal problems like DUI or purchasing/selling drugs

When substance abuse occurs along with a mental health disorder, these challenges may intensify and escalate. It can be difficult for dual diagnosis patients to navigate through daily life while also trying to manage their symptoms and difficulties. 

A day in the life of someone with co-occurring disorders is a life of hopelessness. When someone has a dual diagnosis, the effects can be life-altering. Individuals may use alcohol or drugs to hide from or cope with the symptoms of their mental health issues.

Unfortunately, once dependence or addiction develops, individuals cannot stop using alcohol or drugs without help. This is due to the way substance use affects the brain and body. Addiction alters the body and brain, causing overall functional impairment. 

This is why it is so important for individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder and substance abuse to receive professional help. With the assistance of addiction treatment specialists, people can find the freedom they’re seeking.

Bipolar Disorder: Types, Signs, Symptoms, and Effects

When someone has a bipolar disorder, they live in a world where their emotions move back and forth between depression and mania. One minute, they can be feeling sad and disconnected only to find themselves bouncing off the walls hours or days later. These drastic mood swings can be frustrating and emotionally disruptive.

To help you better understand that of which we are discussing, take a look at these four bipolar classifications:

  • Bipolar I disorder – The individual has been through a least one major manic episode only to fall into a hypomanic or severe depression soon after the mania
  • Bipolar II disorder – The individual experiences both severe depression and hypomania without ever falling into a manic episode
  • Cyclothymic disorder – Several years of oscillating between hypomania symptoms and periods of depressive symptoms without falling into a severe depression

Here are some symptoms of mania:

  • Racing thoughts
  • A constant need to talk
  • Feeling wired or overly energetic
  • Restlessness and trouble sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating on simple tasks
  • Unusually high regard for one’s sense of well being

Here are some symptoms of depression:

  • Suicidal ideologies
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Extremely low energy levels
  • Health issues like loss of appetite and insomnia
  • Extreme feelings of sadness and hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in once pleasurable and enjoyable things

Co-Occurring Disorders and the Importance of Treating Both Simultaneously

As we stated above, co-occurring disorders exist when someone has a combination of addiction and a mental health issue. It’s important to note that to qualify as co-occurring disorders, there must be a direct correlation between the disorders. What does that mean?

Someone can have a bipolar disorder and drug addiction without them being co-occurring disorders. They only qualify as co-occurring disorders if one disorder is the direct cause of the other disorder.

Causes of Dual Diagnoses

Generally speaking, the cause of co-occurring disorders can go both ways. In some cases, a person may develop a drug or alcohol addiction after using these substances as a means of coping with their mental health issue or issues. This typically happens when someone isn’t getting the proper treatment for bipolar disorder. The only way they know to cope is to hide behind drugs or alcohol.

It’s also possible that someone’s addiction to drugs or alcohol will create mental health issues. This occurs when a person’s mental health is fine until they start abusing a substance. After entering the world of drug abuse, the troubles in their life lead them right into emotional or mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

Bipolar and Substance Abuse: Treating Co-occurring Disorders

As for treatment, the addiction treatment community refers to the treatment of co-occurring disorders as dual diagnosis treatment. During dual diagnosis treatment, the addiction treatment facility will assign a therapist or group of therapists to treat both conditions at the same time.

The simultaneous treatment of both disorders is crucial. Failure to treat both disorders leaves the untreated disorder with the ability to disrupt the treatment process. Here’s an example that may help to show just how important it is to provide simultaneous treatment:

A client enters rehab for treatment of their heroin addiction. He or she claims to use heroin as a means of coping with their bipolar disorder. If a therapist treats the addiction without addressing the bipolar disorder that is prompting the drug abuse, treatment will fail. Why? The bipolar disorder is still in full flight. The probability that the client will eventually return to drug abuse as a coping mechanism is very high. Simultaneous treatment of both disorders makes this a less likely occurrence.

Dual diagnosis treatment does offer challenges for an addiction treatment facility. If they have a therapist who is licensed to treat both disorders, everything is fine. If they don’t employ such a therapist, the client will have to work with multiple therapists on a daily basis. That makes treatment a little more complicated and cumbersome for all parties.

However, dual diagnosis treatment is something addiction treatment facilities have to offer. Otherwise, clients with co-occurring disorders would have to live with the possibility of chronic relapses.

Details About the Addiction Detox Treatment Process

As a detox facility, we strive to do our part in the dual diagnosis treatment and recovery processes. We may even act as the first line of defense in identifying clients with co-occurring disorders. Even if clients don’t know they have mental health issues, we can observe and report the possible existence of co-occurring disorders.

Our job is to prepare our clients for therapy by helping them get safely through their withdrawal issues. Yes, most clients who enter rehab will have to deal with withdrawal symptoms. This is assuming they came in for treatment before or right after the cessation of taking drugs or drinking alcohol.

We offer detox programs for alcohol and most drugs. If a client has a significant addiction issue, we will place them in a medically monitored detox program. The goal of such a program is to keep the client safe as they deal with dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

About Withdrawal Symptoms

How dangerous are withdrawal symptoms? They can directly affect the individual’s physical or mental health. In some cases, they can cause permanent health issues, including death. It depends on the client’s drug of choice. As an example, look at this list of withdrawal symptoms that relate to opioid addiction:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe breathing issues
  • Severe muscle cramping
  • Inability to control thoughts and motor function

  • Tremors in the extremities and body convulsions
  • Dangerous increase in both heart rate and blood pressure
  • Hallucinations and nightmares that can cause sleeping issues

These and other symptoms may occur in a person’s life while withdrawing from substance use. It can be dangerous for individuals to attempt going through this phase of recovery alone. That’s why we have medical professionals standing by to offer relief medications should a client’s withdrawal symptoms become problematic.

Does the Existence of a Bipolar Disorder Affect Detox Treatment?

If a client has co-occurring disorders with bipolar disorder as the primary mental health issue, we can customize detox treatment accordingly. We would continue the client’s medication regiment for their bipolar disorder unless that medication is the source of their addiction. In that case, we would use alternative medications to address the mental health issue.

The fact someone has a bipolar disorder will not impact the time it will take them to get through our detox program. It will take them up to a week before they are feeling functional again. If they have a significant addiction, they need to go through a tapering program.

When dealing with tapering medications like methadone or suboxone, the detox process could take several weeks. But each individual is different and we work to make sure our patients have everything they need on the journey to recovery. Are you or a loved one suffering from addiction and bipolar disorder?

If so, you will need a dual diagnosis therapy program. To prepare for the rigors of therapy, we can help you get safely through your withdrawal issues with one of our customized detox programs. We can also offer you a treatment referral to a facility that specializes in dual diagnosis treatment. For more information, please contact us as soon as possible.