Friday, May 18, 2012

Alcohol Abuse and Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder and Drinking AlcoholI definitely have a drinking problem. Don't drink during the day, or drink hard alcohol. Wine is my poison. Unless I am sick with a cold or ill in some other way (or when I was pregnant), I usually drink a bottle of wine a night, once I get home.

I have a lot if tricks that I use when feeling motivated to drink less...start drinking as late in the evening as possible, switch to tea earlier, before bed.

My husband is out of town now. His presence helps stabilize my behavior, so I am drinking more.

I don't appear drunk when I drink, but I hate having my kids see the example of my alcohol consumption most nights. My husband and I also fight more when we drink.

I drink enough to feel crummy some mornings, and vow that I wont drink that night. But, when evening rolls around, it is always hard for me to abstain from alcohol.

Sound familiar to anyone?

Bipolar Stats:

  • Level of Mania (on scale of 1 - 10, with 1=none, 10=practically levitating): 0
  • Level of Depression (on a scale of 1 - 10, with 1=none, 10=can't get out of bed): 0
  • Medication Compliance (0 = not taking, 5=taking some, 10=taking all): 10 (not sure took right meds today)
I am recording my mania and depression bipolar data separately because I often have mixed episodes where manic and depressive symptoms occur at the same time.

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, not a computer. 


  1. Been there, done that. Like you, I drank wine (more than two bottles per night) until my body gave out and I was hospitalized with two bouts of pancreatitis. Unfortunately, my Dr's didn't assess the mental aspect of why I was drinking and only recommended AA.

    Finally, a long time sober friend of mine asked me to see his family physician. I was a bit nervous admitting the extent of all my problems (mania, depression, alcohol abuse, etc.), but she never judged and never batted an eye.

    Since that first visit, she has been wonderful. While not a Psychiatrist, you could tell I wasn't her only 'basket case' to walk through the door. It took 7 long months; many different drug mixes; continued drinking; and a lot of nerve to look my disorder in the face until we reached what I call 'Day 1 of living.' I went in to her office with a long list of notes about my ups/downs/mixes/madness and I finally said: "I think I'm Bi-Polar." She smiled and said, "I think you are, too." Later I would learn that, like alcoholics, we Bi-Polar patients must come to an acceptance before treatment is going to work.

    Since that day, I have been on a good regimen that is definitely helping. Within two days my motivation skyrocketed to the point that I was journaling again and I found my desire for alcohol vanish. It's been over two months and I still haven't picked up.

    If I may recommend something to try out: instead of pouring that glass of wine, pour a glass of Arnold Palmer Ice Tea (no sugars and no calories!) and sip on it as you do your routine. I found alcohol had become a formed behavior rather than a mood stabilizer. I now go through a lot of tea, but it's a heck of a lot better than the poison that throws off our minds.

    Sorry for the long post, but I hope this has been helpful.


    1. Also, S. - If you are ever interested in guest blogging, let me know. I'd like to build a variety of experiences and thoughts on bipolar represented on the blog.


  2. S -

    Thanks you so much for your comment! I really appreciate you sharing your personal story. Long comments full of helpful life experiences are just fine with me.

    I am so glad that you were finally diagnosed, and successfully treated, along with bringing your own big dose of willpower to the mix. No alcohol for two months. That's fantastic!

    It's so interesting that you brought up Arnold Palmer Ice Tea. We have a giant canister of the powder mix, and I drink it a lot. I often get cravings specifically for that drink, especially when feeling a little dehydrated. The stuff is delicious. Tea, hot or cold, does help me at night, when I have the self discipline to switch to a healthy drink sooner rather than later. I'll keep trying.

    Thanks again, and good luck to you!


  3. Try seeking professional help to know how to overcome your alcoholism. Drinking at any time of the day would have the same result - hangover. And I'm sure you wouldn't want your children to see you wasted early in the morning. Excessive drinking is not healthy, and it is also detrimental in building a better relationship with your family. Never risk your personal relationships over some bottle of wine. It's time to change your lifestyle.

    -Owen Lowe

  4. Alcoholism and bipolar disorder do not exactly make a good match. But a good thing you can always look forward to is HOPE. There will always be people who will help you. I applaud you for sharing your story and educating people about what you're going through.

    -Georgine Roe

  5. Well, I would say that you have a strong mind because you can motivate yourself not to take alcohol at some times.