What is bipolar disorder? Does this condition make an individual more susceptible to substance abuse? Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that impacts mood and energy levels, and this condition can be very destructive and create numerous problems for those who suffer from it. Mood swings that are caused by bipolar disorder can be extreme, and the individual with this disorder may have sudden changes in mood that are very rapid. During the downward swing depression is a big component, and when the individual suffers from mania they are more likely to become engaged in certain criminal activity or make poor decisions and engage in risky behaviors. Without being properly diagnosed and treated many who suffer from this condition turn to drugs and alcohol in order to blunt the emotions that are felt at either end of the spectrum.
Someone who has a substance abuse problem and who has undiagnosed bipolar disorder will need to be dual diagnosed. Both of these components must be treated in order for the individual to get better and to lead a healthy life. Substance abuse often masks the symptoms of bipolar disorder and other forms of mental illness, and drugs or alcohol may mimic the symptoms of other conditions. Before a bipolar disorder diagnosis can be made the individual must be clean and sober so that the exact symptoms of the disease can be determined. Substance abuse may mask the symptoms of this condition but it can make the threat of suicide or violence a bigger threat as well. Without the right medications the severe mood swings will only continue or even worsen, and the individual could end up in the hospital or even in jail or prison due to reckless behavior and impulsive actions.