Bipolar is a brain disease that often causes significant changes in the mood, energy, and ability to function. It causes intense emotional states, known as mood episodes that can occur for days or weeks in length. There are two types of episodes: a “manic” episode (abnormally happy/elevated mood or irritable mood). The second type is a “depressive” episode (extremely sad mood).
Bipolar Disorder is an umbrella disorder with three different diagnoses: Bipolar I, Bipolar II, and Cyclothymic Disorder. Bipolar I is characterized by those with manic episodes, Bipolar II is characterized by those with at least one depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode.
According to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, it is estimated that 56 percent of people with Bipolar Disorder also suffer from substance abuse. Specifically, individuals with manic episodes are 14 times more likely to suffer from substance abuse. It is quite common for individuals with Bipolar Disorder to “self-medicate” the negative effects of their symptoms with drugs and/or alcohol.
While treatment should always be individualized, the most common forms of care are therapy and medications. Mood stabilizers and antidepressants are the most common forms of medications in the treatment of bipolar.