Monday, May 18, 2009

Bipoar Disorder and Addiction

Bipolar, alcohol abuse and other addictions...OH MY!

I'm back! Confused? Read my November 2007 entry on Bipolar Disorder and Routine. There has not been a new entry to this blog for more than a year. Case in point. :)

The topic today is the relationship between addiction and bipolar disorder. I would love to start a comment-conversation on this one with other bipolar folk, so please leave a comment if you have something to contribute.

Alcohol: Although, after being diagnosed with this disorder for many years and learning the hard way the importance of medication compliance (taking your meds on schedule, day an and day out), there has been one request my psychiatrist has repeatedly made that I have never been able to adhere to. "Stop drinking."

I am not a falling-down-drunk-everclear-fifth-finishing-passed-out-in-a-pool-of-my-own-vomit alcoholic. I am probably more of a functioning-3/4-bottle-of-wine-most-evenings alcoholic. But being bipolar, perhaps my version is just as bad.

My psychiatrist always expressed exasperation with my drinking; seemed unable to understand why I couldn't just stop, since drinking while bipolar was clearly not logical..."It's not a good idea to drink with your meds and with having bipolar disorder." Duh! Don't you think I know that? If stopping were easy, it wouldn't be called an addition, Dr. Spock!

The ONLY time that I don't drink in the evening is when I am sick with a cold or some type of immune-bashing illness. The best way I have been able to try and reduce the amount of alcohol I consume daily is to make a point to have my first drink as late in the day as I can, and then switch to hot tea as at another time marker later in the evening.

Smoking: My history of smoking is much like my history of drinking. Not too heavy, but consistent. (Momentary digression...Isn't is bizarre that one of the few consistent things about a bipolar person is the long-term support of an addiction...whatever it may, drinking, drugs, bad relationships. It's like excelling at the 'dark side' of routine.)

But listen to this...I quit smoking! So, for all of you bipolar smokers. It is possible. I just had to find a way to make quitting sound appealing. This was my ridiculous, but effective, reasoning, "If you chew Nicorette, you can essentially partake in your addiction anytime. Whereas with smoking, there are only certain paces and times you can do it." Twisted logic, but honestly it worked for me. One month so far sans cigs! Woohoo!

This entry has been more conversational than my past blog topics. I will be doing some research on bipolar disorder and addiction, and will share what I find regarding the latest studies. I plan to resume making regular contributions to this blog. I'll try to start posting something every couple weeks. How 'bout some of you out there begin posting some more comments and we'll get some conversations going?

I have been over-committed/scheduled, busy beyond belief for the past year. That's why I have not been posting to the blog. Although not being able to slow down is a sign that something is wrong, I have had very few problems with severe depression during that time. A full in-box seems to help me have direction and purpose. And when I stop to rest, I fall into a mild to moderately depressed funk. This hypomanic 'need to live life at high speed' is certainly relevant to being bipolar. I will also look into this phenomenon more closely and report what I find. I have spent the past year+ being hypomanic. As far at the Mood-ie-meter goes, I'd say an 8 most of the time, except when the bottom occasionally falls through and I plop to a 2 or 3.

Manic 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 depresseD

This blog is for informational purposes only, it is not intended to be used for the treatment of mental illness. If you are having emotional troubles, please see a mental health professional.


  1. In my latest post, "Bipolar and SAD", I suggested starting a conversation on addiction under this addiction post. Here is what I requested...

    "Still doing well. I would like, while feeling stable to try and do a better job managing my additive behavior. The drinking has got to decrease, although, when it comes down to it. I'm not very motivated. Wine every evening. Headache every morning. If any of you have done well managing your addictions, let me know how you did it. Lets start a conversation."

  2. I know I am late, but better late than never, right? I too love the vino. And I'm not particular about brands. Heck, my most consumed comes in what I like to call my own personal "CapriSun pouch" AKA boxed/bag wine. Almost every night. Not enough for falling down, passing out drunk, but enough. More than enough I am sure. I just love the dull feeling. The feeling that I am slowed down or part of the things that are normal. I really hate to think of dealing without it--I just had a mini anxiety attack thinking about it LOL. Sigh. So...yeah.

  3. My husband and I are laughing over your classification of alcholics. I'm so the functioning, 3/4 wine one too.