Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that affects about 3-5% of the population. Studies show that substance abuse and bipolar disorder are closely related. Individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder are much more likely to suffer from alcohol and drug abuse. They are also much more likely to form a dependence on alcohol, drugs, and smoking. This is especially true in adolescents. Therefore, it is important to note this correlation between the two. We must understand what causes the connection between substance abuse and bipolar disorder in order to help individuals treat both illnesses. Substance Abuse Can Make Bipolar Symptoms Worse It is important to note that substance abuse can often make bipolar symptoms worse. We should communicate this information to those that suffer from mental health problems. This will help them understand more about their condition. Additionally, it will make them aware of the possible implications of drug use. We can help those who are more likely to suffer from addiction by educating them about the risks of drug and alcohol use. If you or a loved one suffers from a mental illness, talk to them about the dangers of drug and alcohol use. If they are already using drugs and drinking, contact a treatment facility. The Right Step can help. Our professionals and staff are ready and able to help you overcome addiction. Mental Health Issues Lead to Substance Abuse Problems In the same way that substance abuse can make bipolar symptoms worse, mental health issues can also lead to substance abuse problems. Individuals, especially young people, might not know how to deal with their own mental health issues. They might not be given the correct tools or methods to help them live a healthy life with these issues. In addition, they might not have access to the therapy that is required for them to be able to navigate life with a mental illness. This is where they might turn to drugs or alcohol and develop a substance abuse problem. Therefore, it is important that we educate those with a mental illness about the risks of doing drugs or abusing alcohol. We must give individuals who suffer from mental illness the tools and resources they need to navigate life with a mental illness. This can be through a variety of different outlets, such as sports, outdoor exercise, or other activities that will help them cope with their mental illness without the use of drugs. How To Treat Both Substance Abuse and Bipolar Disorder This above information is important for anyone suffering from substance abuse problems. This is especially true if they have ever questioned their own mental health or experienced extreme mood swings. Chances are, there could be some correlation between the substance abuse and mental health. Substance abuse occurs in 30% to 60% of patients with bipolar disorder. Additionally, 2% to 4% of alcoholics and up to 30% of cocaine abusers meet the diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder. As if substance abuse is not a big enough problem to deal with, some people have the added setback of having to deal with bipolar disorder as well. Seeking treatment of bipolar disorder as early as possible is key in preventing the development of substance abuse problems later in life. If you or someone you know has a problem with drugs or alcohol, there is help available. Contact The Right Step at for more information about the correlation between substance abuse and bipolar disorder. Our staff is trained to help our patients overcome a variety of issues, including bipolar disorder and mental health. For more information about drug and alcohol treatment, please visit The Right Step today!