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Bipolar Disorder, Unemployment and Addiction

Bipolar Disorder, Unemployment and Addiction

Bipolar disorder is a manic-depressive condition epitomized by severe mood swings. These swings are often referred to as episodes, and they include the following:

  • Depressive episode – crippling state of depression and hopelessness
  • Manic episode – overexcitement, rapid-fire talking and delusion of grandeur
  • Mixed state – concurrent symptoms from both episode types

These episodes can hit suddenly and without warning, and they can result in aggressive behavior, emotional frailty and risky impulsiveness. A common bipolar side effect is substance abuse, which can occur for numerous reasons, including the following:

  • Predispositions for mental illness and addiction occur in overlapping areas of the brain
  • Attempts to self-medicate the emotional pain and stress caused by the episodes
  • Use of alcohol and sedative drugs to calm down during manic highs
  • Balancing out depressive lows through intoxication or drug-related euphoria

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse website, “Substance abuse compounds the problems of people with bipolar disorder.” Addiction can also compound the social problems, which include employment issues.

Unemployment and Mental Health

An ongoing addiction and untreated mental illness can affect a person’s work performance in many ways, including the following:

  • Frequent absenteeism and disappearances from the work site
  • Unreliability that results in missed appointments and deadlines
  • Mistakes caused by impaired cognitive function and concentration skills
  • Problems interacting socially, maintaining proper hygiene and accepting oversight

For those seeking employment, addiction and mental health can also cause problems, including the following:

  • Possible drug-related terminations from previous employment
  • Difficulties in acquiring positive work references
  • Manic or depressive episodes affecting a job interview
  • Outward signs of addiction and mental health problems

According to the National Institute of Mental Health website, “Substance abuse may trigger or prolong bipolar symptoms, and the behavioral control problems associated with mania can result in a person drinking too much.” In other words, each condition makes the other worse, which is why it is important to treat both conditions simultaneously.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Addiction and mental illness can be impediments to employment, but both conditions are treatable. Dual Diagnosis is a form of integrated treatment that addresses multiple issues at once. Specialized facilities provide a variety of therapies, including the following:

  • Supervised detox to wean the substance from the body
  • Comprehensive screenings to identify the mental health issues
  • Behavioral therapies to encourage positive cognitive function
  • Counseling to address personal substance abuse triggers
  • Education on addiction and mental health dynamics
  • Development of relapse-prevention tools and new life skills
  • Holistic therapies like acupuncture, nutrition, massage and yoga
  • Group counseling to discuss personal experiences

Case management is also an option for individuals with extreme needs, and it utilizes a case manager to oversee the various services, including the following:

  • Plan and implement an overall assessment of needs and services
  • Act as the point person between all the treatment programs
  • Provide support in finding housing and employment
  • Search for funding options through outside sources
  • Provide periodic reviews of the patient’s aftercare progress

Addiction, bipolar disorder and unemployment might sound like a difficult hole to climb out from, but professional help can make all the difference.

Toll-Free Addiction Helpline

Call our toll-free helpline 24 hours a day to speak with a counselor about addiction and mental illness treatments. We can explain the various options, including case management, and check health insurance policies for coverage. Don’t suffer alone. Please call now and let us help.