Woman with bipolar disorderWhile the media often portrays the typical bipolar patient as someone who is an addict, irrational, and highly unstable, bipolar individuals are often very creative people who excel in artistic fields. PsychCentral notes as many as 60 percent of bipolar individuals are writers. There is no one set image of a bipolar person. The disorder comprises five subtypes, and among them, different issues can present.

The Five Types of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar I presents with episodes of depression that cycle with mania and that can last anywhere from three to six months at a time. Bipolar II presents with a milder case of mania that lasts four days or longer, known as hypomania. Mixed state bipolar affects 20 to 70 percent of all with the diagnosed disorder, per WebMD; it brings with it both depression and mania that can exist simultaneously and make treatment fairly difficult.

Cyclothymic bipolar is known to be a little easier on the afflicted in that symptoms are less intense. Patients will still suffer from depression, but it is far milder, and mania stays in a hypomanic state. These patients do, however, endure their symptoms continually for more than two years at a time. Rapid cycling bipolar can pose significant risk to patients’ sanity and emotional well-being since it can jump around from one type to the next without warning, even within the very same day.


Of specific difficulty in treating bipolar disorder is the high likelihood that it isn’t the only disorder on the table. Everyday Health notes that 10 to 20 percent of people with bipolar disorder also have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, along with around 60 percent of bipolar individuals having a substance abuse problem. It is likely that the reason for the high rate of substance abuse among the bipolar population is due to self-medication practices. In an effort to control the symptoms of bipolar disorder, individuals may turn to alcohol and drugs. Continued self-medication efforts can easily lead to addiction.

When mania or depression causes the bipolar individual to act out of character, they’re often labeled as being “crazy” or “unstable.” In an effort to fit in with the rest of the population, individuals may use drugs like marijuana to numb the effects of the disorder. Likewise, many use downers to counteract the compulsive insomnia and rapid speech that come with manic episodes. Those struggling with the depressive aspects of bipolar disorder may use uppers or stimulants to elevate their mood and energy levels.

Treatment for Both Conditions

Bipolar disorder is hardly uncommon. It’s estimated that about 2 million people suffer from the disorder in the US. If you suffer from both bipolar disorder and substance abuse, it’s essential that both issues are treated simultaneously. This conjunctive treatment process is the best way to ensure neither disorder will exacerbate or instigate the other issue post-rehab.

If you’d like more information on treatment for these co-occurring disorders, contact us today. We are here 24/7 to answer your questions.

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