What You Should Know When You Believe Your Bipolar Child Has A Substance Abuse Problem
When you have a child that suffers from bipolar disorder, you know that living with them and helping them manage their disorder can be quite challenging. Their ups and downs and associated symptoms can have a major impact on their life as well as yours. And if you have recently become worried that your child with bipolar disorder has also developed a substance abuse problem or addiction, you may find yourself wondering what you can and should do to determine whether this is the case and how you can help them deal with their substance abuse issues. Get to know some of the facts about bipolar disorder and substance abuse as well as what you can do about it.
Substance Abuse Commonly Co-Occurs with Bipolar Disorder
If you are questioning whether or not your child with bipolar disorder could suffer from a substance abuse disorder, it may help you to know that substance abuse is an issue that commonly occurs when a person has bipolar disorder. Extensive studies have been performed that show people with bipolar disorder are prone to developing substance abuse disorders.
In fact, these studies have shown that as many as 60 percent of people with bipolar disorder will also be diagnosed with a substance use disorder (SUD) at some point in their lifetime. As such, thinking that your child with bipolar disorder might have a substance abuse disorder is not an unfounded concern and should not be taken lightly.
Substance Abuse Issues Often Develop to Offset Mood Swings
When your child has bipolar disorder, they can spend weeks, months, or sometimes even years in depressive or manic mood states. These sustained extreme moods can cause a number of issues and symptoms for your child. And to try to offset those symptoms, your child may try to self-medicate and therefore cause themselves problems with substance abuse. For example, when your child is extremely depressed and they have a hard time getting out of bed, they may abuse stimulants like caffeine, cocaine, or amphetamines in an attempt to gain some energy and motivation.
On the other hand, a manic state can sometimes be more complicated. In a manic phase, bipolar individuals often feel invincible and on top of the world, like they can do anything and need little to no rest. As such, they may take stimulants to even further increase their moods or they may realize that they need to sleep at some point and might abuse depressants like Xanax, alcohol, or other similar substances in an attempt to help them get some sleep.
Drug Testing Is the Only Way to Be Sure
If you have your suspicions that your child is self-medicating for their bipolar or has developed a full-blown addiction, the only way to be sure is to ask them to go through drug testing. You can purchase a drug testing kit to use at home or take them into their doctor to get these tests run. Substance abuse issues must be dealt with swiftly when your child has bipolar as these problems can exacerbate mood swings and may interfere with or have dangerous interactions with medications prescribed for bipolar.
Now that you know more about substance abuse and bipolar disorder as well as what you can do for your child if they have both mental health issues, you can be sure that you are doing everything you can for your child. Contact a clinic, like Pecos Drug Testing, for more help.