Cocaine Abuse and Bipolar Disorder

Cocaine abuse and bipolar disorder often occur together. Bipolar disorder is a chemical imbalance in the brain that creates extreme emotional episodes of mania and depression. Bipolar disorder is difficult to diagnose, and cocaine abuse complicates the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, because cocaine abuse causes symptoms similar to bipolar disorder. It can be difficult to determine whether cocaine abuse is causing bipolar disorder symptoms or bipolar disorder is causing the cocaine abuse.

Reasons Cocaine Abuse and Bipolar Disorder Occur Together

People with bipolar disorder may use cocaine for a variety of reasons including the following:

  • To self-medicate the symptoms of bipolar disorder such as mood swings and depression
  • As the result of impaired judgment and impulsive behavior which are behavior patterns associated with bipolar disorder
  • As a coping strategy to deal with bipolar disorder
  • To experience temporary feelings of energy and confidence during depression and to provide a high when manic symptoms end
  • Due to genetic factors which may be similar for drug abuse and bipolar disorder

People with bipolar disorder are more likely to abuse drugs, and cocaine is often abused by those with bipolar disorder.

Cocaine Abuse’s Effects on Bipolar Disorder

Although people with bipolar disorder may use cocaine to self-medicate, cocaine actually causes bipolar disorder symptoms to worsen. Cocaine can have the following effects on people with bipolar disorder:

  • Longer and more frequent episodes of mania and depression
  • More mixed episodes
  • Greater intensity of psychiatric symptoms of cocaine use such as agitation, paranoia, hallucinations and delusions
  • More frequent hospitalization
  • Dangerous interactions with bipolar medications
  • Higher suicide rates

The symptoms of cocaine abuse and the symptoms of bipolar disorder are similar, and the combination of the two can lead to severe side effects.

Dual Diagnosis Care through Integrated Treatment

Since cocaine abuse and bipolar disorder share similar symptoms, it is difficult to treat the two individually. Dual Diagnosis care treats mental illness and drug addiction as co-occurring disorders. Dual Diagnosis care through integrated treatment offers treatment for both cocaine addiction and bipolar disorder under one roof and through the same program. Dual Diagnosis care takes a slower pace than standard drug rehab and offers psychiatric care for bipolar disorder symptoms. Since cocaine abuse intensifies the symptoms of bipolar disorder and bipolar disorder intensifies the symptoms of cocaine abuse, both must be treated simultaneously for treatment to be successful.

Need Help Finding Treatment for Cocaine Abuse and Bipolar Disorder?

If you or a loved one is suffering from cocaine abuse and bipolar disorder, we are here to help. Please call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline for more information about cocaine abuse and bipolar disorder, cocaine abuse’s effects on bipolar disorder and Dual Diagnosis treatment options. Call us today.

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