THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MENTAL HEALTH AND DRUG ABUSE
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), around 1 in 4 individuals who are struggling with a serious mental illness also have a substance use disorder (SUD). In fact, a person’s mental health disorder can serve as a major factor in their drug or alcohol abuse.
This is because these substances may offer temporary relief from the painful emotions and difficult thoughts that often come with these disorders. However, this is not a permanent solution, and can even actually make these symptoms worse over time.
Furthermore, in some cases, a person’s substance abuse can lead to the development of certain mental disorders. This is due to the way in which many substances chemically alter the brain, resulting in permanent changes or damage when used repeatedly over long periods of time.
What is a Dual Diagnosis?
For many people who are abusing cocaine, the connection between cocaine and bipolar disorder is something they deal with every day.
In fact, many people who use cocaine have already been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
When someone has both a mental illness and a drug addiction, this is called a dual diagnosis.
People with a dual diagnosis find it especially challenging to overcome their addiction because of how drugs affect the brain’s activity.
However, having both an addiction to cocaine and bipolar disorder can affect your physical health and further complicate your mental health.
Cocaine is an illegal, extremely addictive drug made from coca plant leaves. These leaves are processed multiple times using gasoline until reduced to small white rocks, called crack cocaine. The rocks are processed even further into a white powder, which is what most people think of when they hear the word “cocaine.” The powder is inhaled through the nose or dissolved in water and injected.
On the other hand, crack cocaine is smoked with a small glass pipe.
No matter the amount or method by which cocaine is ingested, it is hazardous to your health.
HOW DOES COCAINE AFFECT THE BODY?
As a central nervous system stimulant, this drug use can have significant effects on both your brain and your body. In fact, most people choose to begin using cocaine due to the several temporary pleasant side effects it can have.
Cocaine speeds up your bodily functions, which can make you feel very energetic, excited, and happy. It also makes your brain release a flood of dopamine, which is the chemical responsible for making you feel happy.
Dopamine also plays a significant role in the parts of the brain that control your reward system and intrinsic motivation. The extreme amounts of this chemical that cocaine introduces to your system can cause a number of effects, including:
- A rush of euphoria and energy.
- Fewer inhibitions, similar to what you feel when you are drunk.
- Feeling that your thinking is much clearer than normal.
- A sense that you are more in control of things around you.
- More self-confidence.
- A desire to be more social.
What are the SIDE EFFECTS OF COCAINE ABUSE?
However, while these effects may be pleasant, cocaine only stays in your system for a limited amount of time. People who snort or smoke cocaine experience this high for less than 30 minutes. This may lead them to begin injecting it in an attempt to make the high last longer.
While snorting or smoking cocaine is dangerous, injecting is even more so. This method comes with an increased risk of developing major health problems and of becoming addicted. People who inject cocaine are at risk of additional health problems, including:
- HIV or hepatitis from sharing needles.
- Collapsed veins or scarring from frequent injections.
- Serious skin or muscle infections from dirty needles.
- Liver damage and even death in cases of untreated hepatitis.
Furthermore, cocaine use does not just affect your energy and mood. It also affects certain areas of your body and how your organs work. It can cause an irregular or fast heartbeat, which puts extra strain on your heart and may lead to high blood pressure.
Many people also experience a reduced appetite, which can lead to extreme weight loss. Other effects include high body temperature, problems with your kidneys, breathing, and even stroke. The longer you use cocaine, the higher your risk of experiencing these serious health effects.
Learn More About Our Treatment Programs for Dual Diagnosis Disorders
UNDERSTANDING BIPOLAR DISORDER
The National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH) clinical definition of bipolar disorder, formerly referred to as manic depression, categorizes this condition as a mood disorder that can cause extreme mood swings.
These mood shifts are typically characterized by emotional highs (manic episodes) and lows (depressive episodes). While the exact reason why people develop bipolar disorder is not yet known, there are factors that are known to contribute to this, including:
- Biology. People with bipolar disorder share a common trait in which the chemical make-up of their brains is different from those who do not have mood disorders. While it is not yet known to what extent these differences affect their bipolarism, further research may hopefully provide a better understanding of this.
- Genetics. This can be a significant risk factor in a person’s chances of having bipolar disorder, as having first-degree relatives, including siblings or parents, with bipolar disorder increases the likelihood of them having this mood disorder themselves.
What are the SYMPTOMS OF BI-POLAR DISORDER?
While there are generally common bipolar symptoms, the frequency and severity of these symptoms may vary depending on what type of bipolar disorder a person has. This mood disorder can be categorized into several different types, including:
- Bipolar I disorder. This type is characterized by individuals who have had at least one manic episode, which may have been followed by hypomanic or major depressive episodes. Sometimes, this mania may result in a disconnection from reality (psychosis). Mixed episodes are also a possibility, characterized by mood instability reflective of both a depressive and manic episode.
- Bipolar II disorder. People with this type of bipolar have had at least one major depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode, but have not experienced a manic episode.
- Cyclothymic disorder. This mood disorder is characterized by having experienced at least two years — or one year during adolescence — of several occurrences of hypomania symptoms and depressive symptoms.
- Other types. Some cases of bipolar or other related mood disorders may be induced by substance abuse or certain medical conditions (i.e., multiple sclerosis or stroke).
The most prevalent bipolar disorder symptoms include mania or hypomania and depression. These can cause unpredictable changes in mood and behavior, resulting in significant distress and difficulty in life.
While mania and hypomania present the same symptoms, they are two separate types of emotional episodes. Mania serves as a more severe form of hypomania, and may cause significant issues in a person’s life, particularly in their work, school, and social activities.
A manic episode may also cause significant relationship issues, whether this is romantic, familial, or otherwise. Manic episodes can also trigger psychotic breaks, which may require hospitalization.
Manic symptoms may include:
- Feeling unusually wired or upbeat.
- Experiencing an increase in energy levels.
- Feeling easily irritable or agitated.
- Feeling euphoric or unusually confident.
- Decreased need or desire for sleep.
- Feeling unusually talkative or social.
- Having racing thoughts.
- Becoming easily distracted.
- Engaging in poor or impulsive decision-making, such as going on spending sprees, engaging in risky sexual behavior, or gambling.
Both manic and hypomanic episodes are characterized by a person’s expression of three or more of these behaviors. A hypomanic episode, however, will be significantly less drastic in nature, and will usually have less destructive consequences.
MAJOR DEPRESSIVE EPISODES
Bipolar depression is characterized by experiencing what is known as a major depressive episode, which can have symptoms that may cause severe impacts on a person’s day-to-day activities. This includes their work, school, and social activities, or within their relationships.
Major depressive episodes can be recognized through a person’s expression of five or more symptoms of major depression, including:
- Feeling sad, empty, or hopeless.
- Feeling excessively tearful.
- Increased irritability in children and teens.
- Decreased interest in or inability to experience pleasure in regularly enjoyable activities.
- Significant unintentional weight loss or gain, or decreases or increases in appetite.
- Sleeping too much or too little.
- Feeling restless or expressing slowed movement.
- Extreme fatigue and decrease in energy.
- Feeling worthless, or experiencing excessive and usually misplaced guilt.
- Decreased ability to concentrate or think clearly.
- Lack of decision-making abilities.
- Suicidal ideations or feelings.
Cocaine and Bipolar Disorder
Cocaine and bipolar disorder often go hand-in-hand because of how having bipolar disorder affects a person.
People with bipolar disorder experience periods of very low moods or depression, leading them to use cocaine to improve their mood and energy levels. But, someone with bipolar disorder is more likely to become addicted to cocaine because they quickly become dependent on the drug to feel happy.
When that person stops using cocaine, a depressed mood ends up even worse than before.
The longer someone with bipolar disorder abuses cocaine, the less effective it will be at boosting your mood. Instead, many people with bipolar disorder report feelings of paranoia, irritation, and even thoughts of suicide after abusing cocaine for an extended period of time.
BIPOLAR DISORDER AND COCAINE ADDICTION TREATMENT
When it comes to treating bipolar disorder and cocaine addiction, the best path to success is to simultaneously treat both affective disorders. After all, without addressing an individual’s mental health issues, their initial recovery from addiction will likely not last very long.
When it comes to combining drug abuse and bipolar disorder treatment, this approach will likely be highly individualized and shaped to fit an individual’s personal care needs.
While a specific treatment plan will vary based on a person’s specific addiction and mental illness, this process will typically include:
- A medically supervised detox process
- Inpatient/residential treatment
- Behavioral therapy
- Medication-assisted treatment
One of the biggest hurdles for many people with cocaine addiction is getting through the withdrawal period. This is because cocaine withdrawal can present numerous uncomfortable symptoms, including:
- Body aches
At Emerald Isle Health and Recovery, we offer this detox process through one of our trusted partners to help ease these withdrawal symptoms and get you through detox as comfortably as possible.
When it comes to dual diagnosis addiction treatment, residential rehab is one of the most popular and effective options. At Emerald Isle, our inpatient addiction treatment program allows you to stay at our facility 24/7, giving you access to around-the-clock care and support.
When simultaneously dealing with a mental health condition such as bipolar disorder, participating in an inpatient program can help ensure that you stick to your substance abuse treatment plan even in the face of unpredictable mood swings.
One proven way of overcoming co-occurring disorders is through participating in therapeutic treatment services. This may include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which can help people with a co-occurring disorder see how their mental illness can change their way of thinking.
CBT can also help with identifying why a person began to abuse drugs in the first place, and how they can avoid this behavior in the future. In the case of bipolar disorder, this will likely be done through helping them to identify what a depressive or manic phase looks like, and how to better manage these.
Many of our clients dealing with cocaine addiction and bipolar disorder benefit from medication-assisted treatment. These can help manage the symptoms of both disorders, and furthermore, prevent relapse once removed from a controlled recovery environment.
This may include the administration of prescription or psychiatric medications. There are many medications available to treat the symptoms of bipolar disorder, including mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants.
WAYS OF PAYING FOR DUAL DIAGNOSIS TREATMENT
It is quite common for people to express concerns over the financial aspects of substance abuse treatment. Fortunately, most treatment centers accept a variety of payment methods, including insurance coverage, out-of-pocket payments, or other means of financing treatment.
Unsure about whether your insurance will cover your treatment? There is no need to worry; contact us today, and one of our addiction specialists will be happy to provide free insurance verification and help you determine how to move forward with treatment.
24-Hour Dual Diagnosis Hotline for Cocaine and Bipolar Disorder
Get Help Now with Emerald Isle Health & Recovery
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We understand that it can be hard giving up a long-term addiction because of cravings, triggers, and physiological symptoms.
Our team of experts creates a customized treatment plan based on your addiction and objectives.
Our ultimate priority is to ensure you leave treatment with the right tools and resources you need to live a long-term sober lifestyle.
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