Bipolar disorder is a very intense, very difficult mental health disorder to address, and can cause many issues for someone just trying to go about one’s own daily routine. Those who suffer from bipolar disorder can experience rapid mood swings, causing seemingly innocuous situations to be seen through drastic and changing emotional states. Due to this nature, some may turn to alcohol or drugs in an attempt to self-medicate. However, bipolar disorder and drug addiction or alcohol addiction do not mix, and addiction can often exacerbate the effects, emotional state, and well-being of someone suffering from bipolar disorder, especially when it comes to cases involving bipolar rage. Learning about this dual-diagnosis can help someone better understand the relationship between bipolar disorder and addiction, as well as the steps that someone can take in order to begin their journey addressing the complicated recovery path that will be required to address these issues.
Understanding Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a very complicated mental health disorder that causes someone to experience frequent, fast, and drastic changes in their emotional state. These massive mood swings can cause someone to be feeling happy and amicable before they seem to suddenly feel very depressed with little warning. For someone suffering from bipolar disorder, mania becomes a part of their daily life. During mania or manic episodes, someone’s emotions can feel like they are on overdrive. Instead of feeling happy, someone will begin to feel elated, or almost euphoric. However, when someone becomes sad or irritated, it instead can manifest as a crippling, inescapable depression or an extreme episode or outburst of rage. Bipolar disorder can influence someone’s perception of the world around them, and they may suddenly perceive normal situations or objects in a changing light. It is also possible that someone may change other aspects of their behavior or personality during these mood swings, adopting new or specific habits when experiencing a particular emotion. Drastically varying energy levels or shifting priorities are just a couple of examples. Coping with bipolar disorder is a constant struggle that requires the sufferer to always have their coping strategies ready. While bipolar disorder can be debilitating, it is also possible to live and be successful with bipolar disorder when using the right therapy, grounding techniques, and accompanying medications.
What Is Bipolar Rage?
Bipolar outbursts of rage are a common symptom of bipolar disorder and can be very frightening at the moment if both the sufferer and their company are unprepared. Mania can affect all emotions, anger included, and can accentuate those feelings to drastic levels. Experiencing bipolar rage attacks can be a result of this mania, or even the increased anger that arises from someone constantly trying to cope with their own rapidly shifting emotions. Bipolar anger outbursts are often irrational and can result in someone lashing out in anger that may be without an immediate, concrete cause. People suffering from bipolar disorder may even become overcome with erratic, irrational rage directed towards their loved ones and those trying to care for them. In these cases, it is important to remember that it may not be anyone’s fault, and the directed anger isn’t to be taken personally. Learning how to control bipolar rage is difficult, takes a lot of time and practice, and is usually supplemented with medication in order to placate the various and intense emotional experiences that someone suffering from bipolar disorder may be living with each day.
How to Control Bipolar Rage
Learning how to control bipolar rage is a very involved process, and requires a number of grounding techniques and consistent behavioral therapy sessions in order to address. However, bipolar anger can be addressed. Through the process, it is important to remember that anger, in and of itself, is not inherently bad. In fact, someone suffering from bipolar disorder will still need to express these emotions when appropriate. Addressing bipolar outbursts of rage involves addressing the irrational, explosive expression that anger can take. In order to help control someone’s bipolar rage, they will need to employ a few techniques.
Identifying triggers is always a place to start. Even if outbursts may seem to come without warning, there may still be underlying elements that can help someone understand the source of their rage. Triggers aren’t required to be specific events or words. They can be places, times of day, or even if someone feels like they are being addressed in a certain way despite if that notion is true or not. Identifying triggers can also help someone with managing their stresses early, which is another way to address bipolar anger. By getting ahead of stressful situations, like someone’s social circles or work life, someone can decide to remove themselves from those situations altogether or preemptively employ coping and grounding strategies when in the vicinity of potential stresses and triggers. Journaling someone’s day and their emotional state through time and location can help identify potential stressors and will allow someone suffering from bipolar disorder to address this potential trigger with a professional and learn the proper coping technique that will help them in that specific scenario.
It is also important to remember strategies for when someone first begins to feel anger rising. These grounding techniques are used in the moment and can have incredible results. Some of these techniques that may work for individuals include taking deep breaths, counting, going on a jog or short exercise routine, or brief moments of meditation to process these emotions safely. Constant attendance with professionals in therapy sessions can help someone find the right grounding techniques that are appropriate for them.
Bipolar Disorder’s Relationship with Addiction
Those who suffer from bipolar disorder will commonly suffer from bipolar dual-diagnosis with addiction to drugs or alcohol. While the relationship between mental health issues and addiction is complicated, it is common that someone who suffers from bipolar disorder will feel desperate to try to regain control of their own emotional state. This can involve drugs and alcohol easily, as they are quick-acting, and can make someone feel as if they are gaining that essence of control over their emotions, primarily by using these substances to suppress these shifting emotions. However, this use of a coping technique can have many adverse effects on those suffering from bipolar disorder and can complicate the recovery process.
The Effects of Substance Use
While the use of drugs or alcohol may seem to help at first, their usage can often exacerbate the effects of bipolar disorder. Alcohol and drugs can also cause mood changes themselves, especially if someone had been using them as a coping mechanism for a long period of time. Withdrawal symptoms can be very similar to those of bipolar disorder as the body tries to readjust to life without access to a certain substance, causing its own emotional shifts. Compounding these effects, combined with the mental and emotional deterioration that addiction to drugs and alcohol can cause, can create a storm of emotional changes and buildup that can further one’s own extreme emotions. The control that drugs and alcohol may seem to provide for someone suffering from bipolar dual-diagnosis is a false kind of control. As someone begins to feel as if they have to bend to the will of their addiction while simultaneously losing control of their own emotional state, the journey to recovery can be long, difficult, and painful. However, that doesn’t mean that it is by any means impossible.
Addressing the Holistic Need of Bipolar Dual Diagnosis
Addressing just one element of bipolar dual diagnosis is often ineffective. Trying to address addiction without addressing bipolar disorder can cause someone to continue to desperately grasp for ways to feel like they are in control of their emotions, while addressing bipolar disorder without including the addiction element may leave someone to continue to think that their coping mechanism is effective, and delve deeper into the world of drugs and alcohol. Effective treatment for bipolar dual-diagnosis will have to deal with both sides of the diagnosis simultaneously. For loved ones of someone suffering from bipolar dual-diagnosis, know that this takes time and energy, and involves many simultaneously moving parts and techniques in order to effectively be treated. Love and support are needed, as the sufferer is often just as desperate to gain control over their emotional state and addiction as anyone else, if not more so. No person sets out to become addicted. Rather, it is a desperate reaction to try to cope with the various other painful elements of their mental health. A unified front between the sufferer, trained professionals, and a supportive circle of family and loved ones is essential in addressing the road ahead — a difficult road, but not an impossible journey.
Chateau Recovery understands the need for someone to regain control in desperate situations, as well as the need to address the complex and intricate relationship between bipolar disorder and addiction to drugs or alcohol. The trained staff at Chateau Recovery can personalize any of our programs based on your unique needs and goals. We will work alongside you to help you better understand the nature of bipolar disorder and addiction, as well as employ the strategies that may best help you and your specific situation.
Chateau Recovery curates a safe and comfortable environment, full of trained, supportive staff in order for each person to address their own vulnerabilities when it comes to confronting bipolar disorder as well as the detox phase of addiction. For more information on how Chateau Recovery can help you, or to learn more about bipolar disorder, bipolar rage, or addiction, call us today at (435) 222-5225.