Life is full of ups and downs, but for those with bipolar disorder, these fluxes are more severe and can cause extreme mood swings that greatly impact daily functioning. The highs and lows of bipolar disorder go beyond simply feeling good or bad, and these abrupt changes in mood are so intense they often interfere with work, school, personal relationships and more. When combined with the effects of substance use, the symptoms of bipolar disorder can become more severe and further diminish quality of life as addiction takes hold.
At Enlightened Solutions, we understand how unpredictable living with bipolar disorder can be and provide holistic solutions to help clients find a sense of balance, stability and well-being in their lives. Bipolar disorder is a complex, multifaceted condition that requires an all-encompassing approach to address the profound impact it has on daily life, rather than the “one-size-fits-all” treatment it often receives. Our team can help clients with bipolar disorder and co-occurring substance abuse problems move forward in recovery with holistic, sustainable ways to heal that can make a lasting difference.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings and alternating periods of highs and lows. Known as depressive and manic states, those with bipolar disorder experience bouts of heightened energy, racing thoughts and feelings of euphoria, followed by periods of decreased mood, lethargy and hopelessness. Episodes may occur infrequently or multiple times throughout the year, with varying degrees of symptoms depending on the individual. There are two main types of bipolar disorder, type I and II:
- Bipolar Disorder Type I: Marked by more severe manic episodes, bipolar disorder type I can occur with or without a major depressive stage. The symptoms experienced during a manic phase are disruptive, debilitating and often dangerous, and may lead to risky or impulsive behaviors that require hospitalization.
- Bipolar Disorder Type II: Although the symptom patterns are similar, bipolar disorder type II is distinguished by episodes of deep depression and hypomania, a less severe form of full-blown mania. Because the symptoms of hypomania are more subtle, this type of bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed as depression.
Bipolar disorder may also feature mixed symptoms, or episodes that occur simultaneously or in quick succession. Regardless of the type, bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition that won’t get better on its own, and a proper diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment and symptom management. Left untreated, bipolar disorder is more likely to cause problems at home, work or school and increase the risk of substance abuse or suicide.
Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
- Abrupt or sudden mood changes
- Periods of depression and isolation
- Hyperactive or manic episodes
- Concentration issues
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Racing thoughts
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Irrational or risk-taking behavior
- Changes in weight or appetite
- Agitation or restlessness
- Anger and irritability
- Jumbled, racing thoughts
- Overly talkative or frantic speech
- Inflated self-esteem
Understanding Bipolar Disorder and Addiction
Bipolar disorder is a complex mental health condition that involves chemical imbalances in the brain, affecting mood stability and behavior. Diagnosing bipolar disorder is not a simple task, and symptoms must continue for an extended period of time before being classified as a mental health problem. It is also possible for psychiatrists or therapists to mislabel bipolar disorder as severe depression, anxiety or even schizophrenia if seen in the midst of active substance abuse or post-acute withdrawal, and many people begin to self-medicate to manage their symptoms when proper treatment isn’t given.
Although it can provide temporary relief, self-medication with drugs or alcohol is particularly risky for those with bipolar disorder. Studies show that as many as 30 to 50 percent of bipolar patients will develop a substance use problem during their lifetime, which can worsen symptoms and cause manic or depressive episodes to become more severe. Substance abuse can also mask the signs of bipolar disorder and decrease the motivation to seek help, further delaying treatment and complicating the recovery process.
At Enlightened Solutions, we understand how complex bipolar disorder is, especially when combined with the effects of addiction. To promote holistic healing that addresses the physical, mental and emotional needs of those in recovery, we treat both conditions simultaneously to get to the root of addictive behavior. While we are primarily an addiction treatment center, we offer personal mental health and substance use disorder assessments to better understand the unique needs of our clients. Following these evaluations, either by referral or through our treatment center, we can then schedule detox and formulate a recovery plan tailored to each individual. We require clients to enter detox first to separate the effects of addiction from those of the mental health disorder, ensuring a positive, successful experience that will build a strong foundation for lasting recovery.
Holistic Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
Enlightened Solutions is a great place for clients to distance themselves from an addictive environment and find support in a recovery-oriented atmosphere. While the addiction cycle may feel impossible to break, our holistic approach can provide the tools needed to successfully manage bipolar disorder and abstain from drugs and alcohol. We understand that bipolar disorder is complex and clients may need to take medication as prescribed while completing treatment, but our program is designed to provide a more sustainable solution for managing symptoms. Some of the techniques we use include:
- Meditation and mindfulness
- Experiential therapy
- Coping and life skills development
- Family constellation therapy
- Individual and group therapy
- Wellness and nutrition-focused care
- Herbal supplements
- Art and music therapy
By utilizing a number of holistic and experiential therapies, our goal is to help clients find new ways to balance their moods and heal from the inside out. We often find that with addiction and bipolar disorder, clients are often self-medicating or being over-medicated with prescription drugs that only serve one side of the issue. Substance abuse then becomes the other “medication” that feeds the current mood, like caffeine and other stimulants. With therapy and a proper diagnosis through referred physicians, we can tailor our approach to address the mood changes of bipolar disorder, such as manic episodes or depressive days. By treating the whole person with holistically-minded care, we help clients develop solutions that medication alone can’t deliver, providing an alternate, more sustainable way to heal.
Benefits of Holistic Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
In a typical psychiatric setting, prescription medication is often the first line of treatment used for bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, medication only treats the symptoms of mania and depression, isn’t curative and comes with unpleasant side effects. While prescription drugs can correct chemical imbalances within the brain, we’ve found that a holistic approach supports lasting wellness by treating the whole individual, not just their symptoms. Some of the benefits of holistic care include:
- Enhances the body’s innate healing abilities by promoting relaxation, stress reduction and an overall improvement in mood.
- Increases mindfulness and awareness, helping clients recognize the onset of symptoms and develop better ways for managing them.
- Helps cultivate healthier lifestyle habits.
- Introduces natural and integrative healing techniques that are more sustainable.
- Psychotherapy can help reframe negative thinking and change destructive behavioral patterns.
These and other benefits help clients access solutions for managing their mental health from within and provide sustainable tools for achieving the goals of symptom relief, mood stabilization and sobriety. By thoroughly addressing mental health and substance abuse problems in a holistic way, our approach helps clients break free from the ups and downs of mood cycling and addiction without overly relying on medication.
Contact Enlightened Solutions
If you’re someone that wants to understand more about substance use and co-occurring bipolar disorder, we can help. We’ve created a program here at Enlightened that allows you to be mindful of these behavioral mood changes, recognize them and practice coping skills that can taper the feeling. Managing mental health disorders requires work and special skills such as breathing exercises, meditation, physical fitness, yoga, pilates or jogging and talk therapy. Acceptance is another series of treatment sessions our therapists offer that helps clients process their diagnosis, understand it better and move toward solutions that will make life manageable without substances.
To learn more about our holistic solutions and programs available near Atlantic City in Egg Harbor, New Jersey, and how they can help you or a loved one, contact or call us today at 833-801-LIVE.