It is common for mood disorders to co-occur with substance misuse as many people start abusing drugs or alcohol as a way to stabilise unusual moods and deal with the discomfort and symptoms of undiagnosed mental health problems.

When people suffer from an addiction to drugs or alcohol and a psychological disorder, it is medically termed a dual-diagnosis and requires special co-treatment. At Castle Health we are equipped with the necessary medical tools and therapeutic qualifications to treat dual-diagnosis.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder – formerly known as manic depression, which is characterised by drastic  mood swings between serious depression and intense manic episodes. Chemical dependency can make these mood swings worse thus increasing the severity of bipolar disorder.

People with bipolar disorder might cycle fast between episodes of euphoria, which are shortly followed by emotional crashes. They feel both energised and hopeless at the same time – and this starts to affect regular daily activities, behaviour and sleep patterns.

Common symptoms of bipolar disorder include:

  • Intense emotional highs and lows – also known as manic and depressive episodes;
  • Manic episodes are characterised by short attention spans, preoccupation with one particular goal, hyperactivity, sleeplessness, racing thoughts, talkativeness, inflated ego and self-confidence, dysfunctional decision-making (people exhibit extreme behaviour like making risky investments or taking sexual risks).
  • Depressive episodes are commonly marked by loss of interest in enjoyable activities, loss of ability to focus, insomnia or oversleeping, weight loss or gain, depression and feeling worthless or hopeless, fatigue, suicidal thoughts.
  • Bipolar disorder is usually accompanied by anxiety disorders, eating disorders, attention-deficit disorder (ADHD) and general emotional instability.

How we treat Bipolar Disorder and Addiction

Castle Health long-term treatment programme is particularly helpful for people dealing with a dual diagnosis of addiction and mental health issues. We provide centralised treatment in a single rehabilitation centre.

We have the resources to treat both the physical symptoms of addiction in our detox programme and the psychological effects of chemical dependency and bipolar disorder through our mix of specialised and complementary therapies.

Because symptoms of addiction and bipolar disorders often overlap, dual-diagnosis cases require the help of experienced psychiatry staff that can establish a clear diagnosis and individualised treatment.

When the patient is admitted at Castle Health, our qualified team of Consultant Psychiatrists conducts a complete psychiatric assessment to get a clear history of the patient’s addiction, as well as their behavioural and psychological patterns. Based on this, a proper diagnosis of mood disorders is determined.

A personalised patient treatment plan is then set-up within our multi-disciplinary, collaborative treatment team of medical doctors, addiction counsellors and therapists. We are thus experienced to tackle both co-occurring disorders at the same time.

In order to treat the ups and downs of bipolar disorder, the Consultant Psychiatrist may prescribe mood stabilisers, antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications in the first part of treatment. We provide 24/7 medical supervision and the dose is gradually reduced because our aim is to assist patients in becoming medication-free as soon as possible.

Our integrated long-term programme for addiction and bipolar disorder includes a blend of several therapies which are proven to produce the best results in treating dual-diagnosis:

  • Individual counselling sessions help the patient manage their emotions by replacing them with individual, healthy strategies.
  • In group therapy, patients identify their common triggers and risk factors and support each other in finding the best coping skills. Our community of patients form a strong peer-support group in battling addiction and mood disorders.
  • We recommend all patients do cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as it is an effective tool in overcoming the negative beliefs and behaviours that have been unconsciously set in place when struggling with bipolar episodes and substance abuse.
  • In our psychoeducational lectures, people learn about the conditions they are struggling with. Understanding what’s going on provides immense relief and motivation for the patient to stick with treatment.
  • Family therapy rebuilds the lost communication with loved ones and helps both the family and the patient in recognizing and dealing with the warning signs of addiction and mood swings.

A distinctive feature of bipolar disorder is the importance of continued treatment and lifelong supervision of symptoms. Due to its focus on long-term recovery, our treatment programme is designed to meet the needs of patients suffering from complex psychiatric conditions and addiction. Contact us for more information.