Warning Signs of Bipolar Disorder



Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness characterized by periods of mania, depression, or both. This variety of symptoms can make it difficult to diagnose bipolar disorder, as it is often mistaken for depression especially when accompanied by substance abuse, which tends to mask periods of mania. Here are a few signs and symptoms which are indicative of a person suffering from bipolar disorder, warning signs you should be on the lookout for especially if you are suffering from a substance abuse disorder.


Bipolar differs from major depressive disorder in that periods of depression will be interrupted by those of mania or hypomania, depending on the specifics of a person’s disease. In bipolar I disorder, these periods of mania are more pronounced and noticeable, often leading to the afflicted individual to rely on substance abuse to self-medicate through these manic episodes. If you find yourself experiencing periods of restlessness, excessive energy, a racing mind and an inability to focus, these could be symptoms of bipolar disorder which could be contributing to your substance abuse problem.


Type II bipolar is more subtle when it comes to periods of mania, and these can be easily missed by both a physician and the affected individual. Most of the time a person with type II bipolar exists in a state of depression, making it all too easy to mistake this mental illness for major depressive disorder. This misdiagnosis will render any prescribed medications ineffective, as those drugs which treat depression are not designed to deal with bipolar disorder. It is therefore important for you to maintain open communication with your prescribing doctor, as a lack of improvement in your depressed mental state is another warning sign that you may be suffering from bipolar disorder rather than depression.


Proper diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders can be a complex and nuanced process, requiring some trial and error before an effective treatment regimen is established. This is especially true of bipolar disorder, as the symptoms can closely resemble that of traditional depressive disorders, while the specific markers for bipolar remain masked by the individual’s substance abuse. This is why it is crucial you receive substance abuse treatment at a center whose clinical staff are experienced with the identification and treatment of dual diagnoses cases such as this. At Evolutions, our team of therapists and physicians have years of experience dealing with patients who suffer from substance abuse in conjunction with bipolar and other mental illnesses. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse and you suspect an underlying mental disorder may be contributing to the addiction, call our Admissions Counselors today at 833-818-3031 and let us help you restore your mental health and well-being!


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