Blog Post Week 40 6

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

bipolar disorder, dual diagnosis

A common condition that is often seen together with substance abuse is bipolar disorder, but what is this? Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that causes severe mood swings, and it is also referred to as manic depressive disorder. Every human alive has experienced mood swings at some point, but when you have this mental illness these swings can be unpredictable and extremely severe. Rapid cycling refers to extremes that change very rapidly, so that the phases may only last minutes or hours. In other cases the extreme high or low may linger for weeks or even months at a time. During manic episodes you will find that you do not need much sleep and that your thought and energy levels are very high. During severe depressive episodes you may find even getting out of bed impossible, and thoughts of hopelessness and despair are all that you think about.




It is common for someone with bipolar disorder to self medicate with alcohol or drugs. This will not resolve the symptoms of the mental disorder and will only make matters worse. Bipolar disorder is thought to be genetic so it can be inherited from parents, but the full cause is still not completely clear and the genetic link may only be one factor involved. Just because the parent has this disorder that does not mean any children will, only that they have a higher risk of it than the general population. If any mental disorder is suspected or substance abuse is a problem then a facility that can provide and treat dual diagnosis patients should be chosen. This allows both conditions to be treated at the same time.


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