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Bi-Polar Disorder and Addiction Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

What is Bi-Polar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a mental illness defined as extreme shifts in a person’s behavior. As its name suggests, persons with bipolar disorder may experience severe mood changes. Sometimes they deal with irritable mood swings (mania or hypomania), and sometimes they experience severe depressive episodes (depression).

The person with bipolar disorder is on the roller coaster of mood swings, like feeling energized and hyperactive and then feeling low and sad sometimes. These manic and depressive episodes can cause problems like difficulty sleeping, impaired thinking and behavior, and inability to function normally in daily life.

Symptoms of Bi-Polar Disorder

The symptoms of bipolar disorder vary according to mood swings and behavior.


  • Extremely high energy levels

  • Agitation

  • Reduced need for sleep

  • Racing thoughts

  • Distraction 

  • Talkative more than usual

  • Exaggerated self-esteem


The hypomanic phase is less severe than the manic phase, and the person feels happy and energetic in this phase. It does not interrupt daily life but also needs treatment because it can convert into manic or depressive phases if not appropriately treated.


  • Feeling guilty and worthless

  • Difficulty in sleep or sleeping too much

  • Sad or depressed mood

  • Lack of energy

  • Low self-esteem

  • Lack of concentration

  • Suicidal thoughts



The mixed episodes can be very challenging and frightening for the patient because of getting manic and depressive episodes. The person can be very energetic and talkative but simultaneously deal with severe sadness and suicidal thoughts.

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Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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Causes of Bi-Polar Disorder

The exact cause of bipolar disorder is not known yet, but the physical, social, and environmental factors may be one of the causes of developing this disorder.


Researchers suggest that a person with a family history or gene with bipolar disorder is more likely to develop this condition. A parent or sibling with bipolar disorder is an obvious risk factor and increases the chances of getting the illness.


Several environmental factors act as a powerful trigger for potent bipolar condition, such as any childhood trauma or history of abuse, relationship problems, a poor lifestyle, stress over a current situation, and lack of physical activity.

Some studies also suggested that substance abuse (excessive use of drugs and alcohol) can also cause manic or depressive episodes. People with substance use disorder (SUD) are likelier to develop any mental illness like bipolar disorder.


Many brain imaging studies showed the structural changes in the brain of a person with bipolar disorder. In this condition, the brain faces difficulty producing and breaking down certain hormones and essential chemicals (neurotransmitters) like dopamine, acetylcholine, serotonin, adrenaline, and Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).


Many studies show that bipolar disorder is misdiagnosed and mistreated at first. Many studies prove that people suffer for years and years with the symptoms before getting correctly diagnosed and receiving proper care. Healthcare professionals diagnose this disease by taking a complete history and performing tests such as brain imaging and a comprehensive mental health evaluation.

Sometimes the depressive symptoms are for the long-term; people seek help for depression and receive treatment for it. This can worsen the maniac episodes and cause severe irritability, agitation, and other symptoms. People with bipolar often get misdiagnosed, and the healthcare provider treats this condition as thyroid problems.

Treatment at Rolling Hills Recovery Center

Treatment Options for Bi-Polar Disorder


Many therapies like psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, CBT, and counseling can help to ease the symptoms and episodes of mania and depression. Counseling can improve lifestyle and healthy activities that contribute to long-term recovery and reduce relapse.

Cognitive behavioral therapy CBT is the most commonly used treatment protocol that deals with positive thinking and acceptance. The primary role of this therapy is to get rid of negative thoughts and depersonalization and focus on the current situation for better outcomes.


Antidepressants are prescribed for the short term to stabilize the mood. It is combined with mood stabilizers to get results for bipolar disorder. On a long-term basis, Lithium is used because it is a powerful mood stabilizer. Many antipsychotic medicines such as Risperidone and Olanzapine also have beneficial effects in easing the symptoms. To treat the mania and convulsions, the physicians also give medications such as Carbamazepine, Valproate, and Lamotridine.


Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is the treatment of choice for those who are not responding to other treatments like Cognitive behavioral therapy CBT and medication. ECT is a brain stimulation procedure that immediately reduces the symptoms of bipolar disorder. This is a recommended treatment in high-risk catatonic (unresponsive) patients with suicidal thoughts to minimize the danger for the patient. Some side effects of ECT include short-term memory loss, dizziness, or nausea right after the treatment.


Many studies suggest that physical activity and lifestyle changes can lead to the long-term management of the bipolar disorder. Aerobic exercises, yoga, and walking can help reduce stress and limit negative thoughts. Maintaining a healthy diet and proper sleep is crucial to restricting the relapse of the disorder.

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When To Get Help?

People enjoy the less severe symptoms of hypomania like euphoria and being more productive and energized. They avoid the circumstances where the joy ends in depression and low productivity. If you are experiencing mood swings like bipolar disorder, get help immediately because bipolar does not treat itself.

If symptoms like catatonic behavior (unresponsive) or suicidal thoughts worsen, immediate emergency help is needed. Various studies concluded that bipolar patients are more likely to commit suicide than the general population.

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What is bi-polar disorder?
Symptoms of bi-polar disorder
Causes of bi-polar disorder
Treatment options for bi-polar disorder
When to get help?
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