Recently, we posted a blog aiming to open up a conversation about bipolar disorder. In it, we addressed some of the stereotypes surrounding the condition. Additionally, we positioned it as a spectrum of disorders. Finally, we highlighted the necessity of patient-centered care. The article received such a positive response that we thought we’d dive a little deeper into the subject this week. As industry leaders in both primary mental health and dual diagnosis treatment since 1989, we welcome the opportunity to educate our readers, potential clients and their families, and the public at large about the conditions we treat.


Self-Medication and a Common Source

The National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions revealed that substance use disorder co-occurs with bipolar disorders more than any other mental health condition. One school of thought believes that this is the result of self-medication. The symptoms of bipolar disorder are so punishing that those afflicted turn to drugs and alcohol for relief. These include racing thoughts and anxiety, sleeplessness, and the deep pits of depression. Others theorize that the disorders spring from the same source. For example, it could be genetic inheritance or malfunctions of the brain systems that regulate impulsivity and reward-seeking behavior. Whatever their source, the interplay between these disorders can be incredibly dangerous and sometimes fatal.


Complicating the Matter

A Duke University Medical Center study showed that individuals struggling with bipolar disorder were more likely to be hospitalized in a psychiatric facility if they also had a co-occurring substance use disorder. Another study by Dalton et al found that bipolar-afflicted individuals with substance use disorders had a 39.5% lifetime rate of attempted suicide. Comparatively, the rate for those without was  23.8%. Complicating the matter further is the fact that the symptoms and behaviors of these disorders can mimic and mask each other. To the family of someone with this type of dual diagnosis, what they believe to be a manic episode may actually be cocaine abuse. Or a true manic episode might be hidden or “evened out” by chronic drinking.


Innovative, Creative Care

And families aren’t always the only ones missing the bigger picture. Because of the interactions, similarities, and wide range of behaviors, these disorders can sometimes be misdiagnosed and even mis-medicated (more on this in the weeks to come.) It underscores the need for comprehensive, integrated dual diagnosis treatment from professionals who see the client as a “whole person.” Creative Care gives each client a comprehensive assessment upon admission, ensuring diagnostic accuracy through psychological evaluation, physical examinations, and clinical observation. We then craft an individualized plan designed to treat the whole person, as a person. 

Treatment services may include:

  • Individual and group counseling
  • Medications
  • Family or couples therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Nutrition group
  • Equine group
  • Yoga and other relaxation therapy

We work as an integrated team to help our clients recognize and recover from their co-occurring bipolar and substance use disorders to live a new life of happiness and fulfillment. If you or someone you love is suffering, start the recovery process today by calling Creative Care at 855-954-0762.