The Effects Of Substance Abuse On Young People With Bipolar Disorder

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It has been said that people do not use drugs to feel good, but that they use them to avoid feeling bad. Regardless of anyone’s opinions on drug abuse, this concept holds a lot of truth in regards to substance abuse in those with bipolar disorder. Many times this abuse is referred to as “self-medicating”. This means the use of medicine (or drugs) without medical supervision to treat one’s own ailment. While self-medicating can be healthy, like taking pain killer for a headache, it can also be detrimental to someone’s health as many drugs have nasty side effects. Self-medicating can relieve psychological symptoms, but many people with bipolar end up abusing substances more often than those without it. In both manic and depressive states somebody with bipolar may be motivated to use. Someone in a manic state may be more impulsive, and feel invulnerable, inclining them to take illicit substance. Someone who is depressive may use to escape their feelings. Using illicit substances and finding pleasure or short-term symptom alleviation has, many times, lead to addiction or a substance abuse disorder. Bipolar disorder and substance abuse disorder are considered separate mental illnesses, but research has found a strong comorbidity between the two. Given these points, it would be crucial to better understand bipolar disorder. As research indicates (National Institute of Mental Health, 2016) bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that creates unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. These shifts in mood and energy can range from mania to hypomania to depression. Mania is characterized by elated feelings, and boosts in energy and activity. Those in a manic state may generally have troubl... ... middle of paper ... ...meone with this disorder. Additionally, there are three stages that lead up to the addiction stage. First is experimental use where someone uses a drug recreationally, which may be for many different reasons including pleasing peers, defying parents or authority figures, or to have fun. Regular use follows and is defined by the user missing out on life like school or work. At this stage the user may have anxiety about losing their drug source. People may use drugs to “fix” negative feelings, may begin to avoid friends or family unless they are users too. By this point they have an increased tolerance and the ability to handle the drug. Next, problem or risky use becomes an issue and the user tends to lose motivation, does not care about school or work, and experiences behavior changes. At this stage they will put drugs ahead of other important aspects of their lives.

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