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Bipolar And Drinking...

Question:

Can you tell me why is it that I’m Bipolar..and the only thing that can keep me happy, when I’m using is drugs or alcohol.Then after i have came down on the drugs/Alcohol.I get depress More or worst.Can you help me please.

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Answer:

Bipolar disorder is a disease of brain chemistry as much as it is anything else. People who are bipolar experience mood swings and other symptoms when the chemicals in their brain that help regulate mood get out of balance with one another causing the person to swing between painful depressions and wild manic episodes that can start out happy and become frightening.

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p> Some people with bipolar disorder get attracted to drugs because drugs affect their brain chemistry in a way that makes them temporarily feel better. When people use drugs in an attempt to make themselves feel better (as opposed to just wanting to get ‘high’, it is called ‘self-medication’.

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p> Alcohol is a drug that belongs to a class of drugs known as ‘depressants’. Depressant drugs like alcohol basically work their magic by putting your brain to sleep. The brain doesn’t go to sleep all at once, however (you would just pass out if this were the case). Rather, the parts of the brain that give you impulse control and anxieties tend to go to sleep first. People tend to feel happier when their brain is asleep and they are not worried about things – and this is why people like the feelings they get when they drink alcohol; they stop worrying and just do what they feel. The problem with alcohol and with all depressant drugs is that the good feelings you get from them don’t last. Alcohol actually can cause depression when you use it a lot. The more you drink – the more you are making yourself depressed!

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p> What goes up must come down. Drugs cause their effects by changing how the chemicals in your brain are functioning. If you use drugs to push your brain into a ‘good’ feeling state, your brain pushes back by making you feel lousy when the drug effect has worn off. The way it works with most drugs is that you get a tolerance to them, and you start needing more and more of the drug to get any of the good effect. Ultimately, if you become addicted, you start having to take the drug just to avoid feeling bad all the time.

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p> Drugs and alcohol are a dead end. They are a special danger to people like yourself who have a mental illness. I urge you to get help for both of your problems as soon as you can. People like yourself, who have both an addiction and a mental disorder too are said to be ‘dually diagnosed’ meaning that they have two diagnoses or problems at the same time. You might ask around to see if there are any ‘dual diagnosis’ clinics in your city as a dual diagnosis clinic is the best type of treatment clinic for someone like yourself to get help in. Good luck.

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Comments
  • sarah churchill

    Hi I have just read your questions and the Doctors reply. My husband was diagnosed with Bi polar 10 years ago and certainly experiences all the mood swings that goes with this illness. He does drink every couple of weeks (Not at home) and will binge drink by this I mean very heavy drinking over a period of 10 hours . Then he will go into a deep depression for the next 24 hours and not be able to get out of bed. I wish I knew a way to deal with this behaviour, I even have tried drinking with him to ensure that he does not binge but only goes for a meal first and then has 4 pints in stead.

    However, it is really not easy because he seems to have a real need to get this 'high' from the drink.

    Does anyone else suffer similar drink patterns and what can I do to help him.

  • Anonymous-1

    There is a large percent of bipolor drinking related to the chemical imbalance. If you look up the numbers you will be appauled.

  • Suzanne

    When I was in my early twenties I drank quite frequenty, mostly to forget the pain of my life. My father died when I was sixteen. Several years later I watched a movie called Mr. Jones, low and behold, bipolar. I told my partner i thought I was and am bipolar. I went to several therapists during the years I wasn't diagnosed until I was fort-one, ten years ago.

    The figured out the drinking made me worse. I stopped and my liver was saved. I know real drinkers can't do that, but I glad I am sober everyday although sometimes I like to drink myself into oblivion, but I refrain.

  • Luiz

    "People like yourself, who have both an addiction and a mental disorder too are said to be 'dually diagnosed' meaning that they have two diagnoses or problems at the same time."

    I did not noticed the person admiting an addiction but it is not important....

    Seems to me that, the symptomalology of a Bipolar person dictates that this person should have difficuties to follow the prescribed treatment, and when in the Manic fase, for this individual, would be "normal" to believe that he is superman and the doctor know nothing thus, drinking and all the other megalomaniac ideas woulb be manisfestation of the illness.

    The paradox of treating some that "knows "that he is invensible, who know that ETOH and drugs do not interfere or cause treatment problems is the real problem...in my opinion.

    Is it, the use of drugs to bipolar, the same as the inability to see is to the blind?

    I being thinking......

  • Anne Dunne

    I am bi polar for the the last 20 years. I am on lithium and Thank God I am not too bad. However I drink heavily and worry about my liver. Drink does affect my nature. I get so depressed after a binge. There are times I wonder am I an alco. I cant stop once I start at the weekend. Im an angel then during the week. I wont allow wine,or spirits into my system, beer only, its low in percentage. The high proof drives me mental

    Thats me

    Love to give the drink up but I cant

  • alan stanton

    My Wife is bipolar and starts drinking wine at lunchtime and drinks at least a bottle of wine a day. The wine is in a cardboard cask and I put it into a bottle so she knows how much she is drinking. Some days she drinks the bottle and then starts on the cask. She says drinking makes her feel better. The problems start when she has too much and gets verbaly aggressive and sometimes physically aggressive. Nothing I say or do can make any sense to her. She is even worse if she drinks bottled wine for some reason. She says she has no intention of stopping drinking. I am at the stage of thinking of leaving as I am sick of the fights. What other options do I have if she will not agree to treatment.

    Alan.

  • Carol

    My husband is bipolar, and when something stresses him, he fixates on it, and winds up drinking, which causes him to get angry. I've called the cops on 2 occasions, and they convinced him to leave for the night (he's not gotten physical yet). He is always better the next day. It's like a reset or something. I think he self medicates with prescription pills - amongst various medical pills, he is also on Risperidone and Xanax - and the doc is weaning him off Paxil for Pristique. Stinks with 3 youngs kids who love him. He sees his shrink once a month, but it's hard to deal with the unpredictable "episodes"! No money or place for him to go...

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