Substance abuse can start out as a single addiction to any substance from alcohol, drugs, even prescription medications. Dealing with an addiction can be challenging enough, but dealing with addiction and a co-occurring mental or behavioral condition can seem impossible. Yet many who were losing the fight on both fronts daily, have found methods of treatment which help them gain the victory over their circumstance. Scott Stapp, the front man for the band Creed, may understand more than most on this subject.
What is dual diagnosis?
Dual diagnosis is a form of treatment in which one or more conditions coexist with an addiction and are treated concurrently. In many cases, a patient will be addicted to alcohol allthewhile suffering from depression or bipolar disorder. It can also be that the disorder causes the addiction. Dual diagnosis is available from treatment providers and is vital in recovery after multiple ailments. For those who do not receive treatment for a co-occurring condition, the chance of a relapse into the addiction is much higher than those who go through dual diagnosis treatment.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse finds six in 10 substance abusers have at least one mental disorder. They also add youth with a mental disorder or illness are more susceptible to substance abuse. Addiction to a substance can start in the teenage years and move on into adulthood. People may not even fully understand what is happening until the mental illness has manifested and taken over many aspects of their life. Stapp went into rehabilitation for drug abuse and alcoholism, but discovered that he also had bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder and addiction
Sherri McGregor Ph.D. explains, “Drug and alcohol abuse are far more common among people with bipolar disorder than any other Axis I psychiatric disorder.” McGregor writes about how in the past, it was more common to have the addict go through rehab and become sober before treating any other mental illnesses or conditions. However, research has shown it is more effective to treat the mental disorder or illness with the substance abuse problem.
Bipolar disorder is a manic-depressive disorder that causes unusual shifts in behavior, mood and energy. People with bipolar disorder will experience sudden emotional episodes that range from light to severe.
Florida resident and lead singer, Stapp has been going through dual diagnosis rehabilitation for his disorder and both addictions. He reflected to People magazine, “I had a psychotic break that was brought on by alcohol and drug abuse.” In November 2014, Stapp released a video in which he appeared paranoid about being under attack by ISIS and thought he was involved with the CIA. Stapp even called the police at one point, running through the streets and begging for protection from assassins.
Stapp’s loved ones were confounded by his episodes for many years and he relays the relief after dual diagnosis, “There’s a stigma associated with it. But [my wife] Jaclyn kept telling me, ‘Embrace it. We love you.’ It became a big sign of relief, because finally, we had an answer.”
Stapp highlights the stigma of anything connected to mental health illnesses or disorders. In reality, admitting to the illness is the first step toward recovery. It is important for anyone going through recovery or dual diagnosis to have support from those around them. Stapp’s wife stands by him in the end and understands he is still the same person she loves.
Living with bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses can tear family and friends apart. A mental illness can drastically change the person’s behavior and the way they live each day. It is also important for people with a mental illness to find support groups with others who understand what they are going through. Here are a few tips for those living with bipolar disorder:
Sovereign Health of Florida offers dual diagnosis, substance abuse, addiction and mental health treatment. Our Fort Myers location is equipped with a staff of top notch treatment specialists as well as a full quiver of modalities to treat addiction and mental illnesses. If you or a loved one you know shows the symptoms or signs for bipolar disorder, please do not hesitate to call 866-269-2493.
Written by, Nick Adams, Sovereign Health Group Writer
Sovereign Health Group is a leading addiction, dual diagnosis and mental health treatment provider. Call our admissions team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get the help you deserve.