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Many individuals with substance use disorder (SUD) have co-occurring mental health issues. Bipolar disorder (BD) is a common co-occurring disorder. Some individuals with bipolar disorder experience symptoms of psychosis. The more severe symptoms may complicate treatment for SUD and impact the quality of life for clients during recovery. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “An estimated 82.9% of people with bipolar disorder had serious impairment, the highest percent serious impairment among mood disorders.” The Redpoint Center uses evidence-based methods to treat co-occurring bipolar with psychosis.

The Connections Between Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Bipolar With Psychosis

Many people with bipolar disorder featuring psychosis experience the majority of psychotic symptoms during manic episodes. According to the World Journal of Psychiatry, “The lifetime rates of psychosis were about 40%-60% in mania and mixed episodes but only about 20% in the episodes of bipolar depression.” The condition is frequently misdiagnosed as schizophrenia, leading to unhelpful or sometimes detrimental treatment. The Redpoint Center uses comprehensive assessments and screening tools to ensure all clients are diagnosed accurately and treated appropriately.

Co-occurring substance abuse and bipolar with psychosis have the potential to cause the following:

  • More severe symptoms of withdrawal during detox
  • Increased risk of not completing treatment
  • Reduced effectiveness of therapy
  • Increased risk of relapse

Individuals experiencing untreated or unmanaged symptoms of psychosis are more likely to develop SUD. Some people use alcohol or drugs to self-medicate and cope with their symptoms. In other cases, individuals struggling with psychosis may misuse substances due to impaired judgment or a genetic predisposition to addictive behaviors. The connections between bipolar-related psychosis and SUD vary significantly.

Some risk factors for dual diagnosis include a family history of psychotic symptoms or substance abuse and abusing marijuana or other mind-altering substances at a young age. Individuals who have experienced psychotic symptoms before misusing substances often notice the symptoms of psychosis increase or become more severe after misusing drugs or alcohol. The effects may be cumulative. Early intervention is the best way to help people manage psychotic symptoms and SUD.

Treatment Options for Co-Occurring Bipolar With Psychosis

The clinicians at The Redpoint Center collaborate with clients to develop personalized treatment and aftercare plans. Tailored treatment reduces the risk of relapse and improves mental health outcomes. Individuals with active psychosis during rehabilitation may need prescription medications to manage symptoms. Personalized treatment plans make it easier for the care team to adjust treatment as necessary to accommodate changes in symptoms or side effects. Most care plans involve multiple treatment methodologies.

Some of the most common treatment options for co-occurring bipolar with psychosis include:

  • Antipsychotic medications
  • Mood stabilizers
  • Psychotherapy
  • Alternative holistic therapies

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “In some cases, the combination of bipolar disorder and an SUD may deepen bipolar disorder’s manic and depressive symptoms,” making it more challenging to treat. The care team at The Redpoint Center uses evidence-based and alternative holistic therapies to ensure a whole-person approach to treatment, reducing the severity of symptoms related to bipolar with psychosis.

Role of Medication Management

Medication management is used during treatment and aftercare to ensure clients can access essential medication to support long-term recovery. Prescription drugs may help clients feel more comfortable and emotionally balanced during treatment for dual diagnosis. The care team ensures clients are only given necessary medications to improve mental and physical health.

Medication management generally involves the following:

  • Reviewing medications for safety and effectiveness
  • Monitoring medication effects to determine the best dose
  • Ensure clients adhere to prescription guidelines
  • Educating clients on the effects and importance of medication
  • Responding to any adverse side effects

Bipolar disorder is primarily treated using therapy and prescription medications. Individuals with active psychosis may require medication management until their symptoms become manageable. The Redpoint Center offers medication management and other services to help clients achieve and maintain mental health and emotional stability. Clinicians collaborate with clients and their families to ensure the best outcomes for individuals with dual diagnoses involving BD.

The Challenges of Managing Co-Occurring Bipolar With Psychosis

People experiencing psychotic symptoms may have difficulty trusting their care team, regulating emotional responses, and focusing on their recovery. Finding healthy ways to manage the symptoms of bipolar with psychosis allows clients to use their energy to address substance abuse and any underlying issues affecting their mental health.

A few other challenges of treating bipolar with psychosis alongside SUD include:

  • Safety Concerns: Individuals with active psychosis may be referred to a higher level of care until their symptoms become less severe and don’t pose a danger to themselves or others.
  • Higher Risk of Relapse: The cyclic nature of BD increases the risk of relapse.
  • Treatment Resistance: Clients with symptoms of psychosis may resist some aspects of treatment until their condition stabilizes.

The Redpoint Center uses integrative treatment to help clients manage their condition and heal from co-occurring SUD and BD.

Long-Term Management of BD With SUD

Bipolar disorder requires long-term management. Treatment does not “cure” BD. However, it does provide clients with the resources, tools, knowledge, and skills they need to successfully manage their condition and maintain sobriety. The care team collaborates with clients to create a comprehensive aftercare plan, supporting long-term recovery.

Many people diagnosed with bipolar disorder experience some form of psychosis during depressive or manic episodes. However, some individuals have more severe or persistent symptoms of psychosis and require more comprehensive treatment. The clinical team at The Redpoint Center uses a range of treatment options to help clients stabilize their condition and recover from co-occurring bipolar disorder and substance abuse. Individuals with dual diagnosis have the best outcomes when they receive evidence-based treatment for both conditions simultaneously. The Redpoint Center uses a whole-person approach to treatment that ensures clients receive the support, resources, and therapy they need to manage bipolar with psychosis and SUD. To learn more about our programs, call us today at (303) 710-8496.

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The Redpoint Center
1831 Lefthand Cir, Suite H
Longmont, CO 80501

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