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How Self-medicating Leads To Addiction In The Bipolar Patient?

By Author: Dr. Basim Elhabashy
Total Articles: 20

Substance abuse is common among patients with bipolar-disorder. In 30%- 60% of the patients with bipolar disorder were found to suffer from substance abuse. In another study, it was found that around 4% of alcoholics and 30% of cocaine abusers were also suffering from bipolar disorder. In this group of population, “self-medication” is common.

Bipolar disorder is a serious psychiatric problem where there are extreme mood swings ranging from manic highs to extreme depressions. These patients are successfully treated with combination medication. However due to the challenging nature of this disease, it is common for the patients to self-medicate in order to alleviate the symptoms of the disease. Self- medication is defined as the process by which the patient abuses certain drugs/substances to bring some relief to the symptoms of bipolar disorders. In patients with concomitant disease, different types of complications are detailed which includes substance-abuse mimicking the symptoms of bipolar disease, difficulty in diagnosing bipolar disorder, and substance having adverse effects on bipolar- disorder management.

What Forces Substance Abuse in Patients with Bipolar disorder?
Patients with bipolar-disorder experience wide range of emotions in a single day. With medication, the patient start feeling better and start believing that with medications only they can function properly and perform day-to-day activities normally. Thus, in order to alleviate the symptoms of bipolar disorder they start self-medicating. The characteristic feature of the trouble in such patients include: poor judgment and impulsive behavior during manic phase eventually leading to engagement in pleasurable activities such as alcohol consumption and drug-abuse.

Bipolar disorder developing in patient with substance-abuse:
In individuals with substance-abuse, the chance of developing bipolar disorder is common. Though in such people, there is an inherent chance of developing bipolar disorder, however substance-abuse accentuates the development. When both the disorders: Substance Abuse Treatment for Bipolar disorder are present, it leads to making the treatment less effective, when it is sought. In bipolar-disorder sometimes, the patient may experience only the episodes of mania and not depression, thus chances of alcoholism and drug-abuse increases.

We may feel sad over an argument with a friend, a breakup, or the loss of a job. We might be disappointed about our personal relationships. Or perhaps we feel discouraged if struggling with financial challenges. The death of someone close can lead to a specific kind of sadness — grief.
Most of the time, people manage to deal with these feelings and get past them with a little time and care.

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