Bipolar Disorder and Drinking
Last night I drank.
OK. You probably don't need to alert the media. But I do need to alert you about the horrible effects alcohol can have on a person with bipolar disorder.
I'm human. I'll admit it right now; I am. And one of the things this means is that I'm subject to human cravings and desires and occasionally I like to have a drink. It's not the biggest deal in the world but it's something that I shouldn't do. But then, there are a lot of things in life that I shouldn't do and I get tired of not doing them all.
And I was feeling weak and weary and tired of my own mind and my own troubles so I drank some gin. This is something that takes place in every restaurant, in every bar, in every pub, every day.
Of course, I'm not like those people. I'm a medicated bipolar. For me, drinking is more meaningful.
One Drink Equals a Lot
And one of the things about drinking is that one drink tends to do the work of many drinks for a person on bipolar medication. For a female, one drink does not, typically, put someone over the legal limit to drive, but for a medicated person it sure should. One drink on an empty stomach tends to hit me like a whole night of drinking. I go from sober to strawberry fields in minutes. Alcohol is like that.
And drinking also destabilizes bipolar disorder. Alcohol is one of the things doctors tell you to avoid, not just because they're doctors and they're like that but because alcohol can induce bipolar mood swings. It's a drug. And not a very nice one at that.
Alcohol and the Brain
And alcohol is not a simple, clear-cut drug either. It works in your brain and throughout your nervous system on GABA, dopamine and other neurotransmitters critical to mood and well-being.
Alcohol Impairs Thought
Well, duh, you're saying - that's why you drink it! But it doesn't just impair unpleasant thoughts; it impairs useful trains of thought as well. Like all those great cognitive behavioral therapy skills you've been practicing don't work so well after a martini. It tends to leave you both shaken and stirred.
And so, I found myself drowning out unpleasantness only to find myself wrapped in a cloak of greater, more salty, unpleasantness. Sure, I had been tired of my usual place in the world but I had failed to take into consideration how carefully constructed that place was. How much work it takes for me to beat back all the bipolar thoughts I have every moment of the day. I take for granted that I'm doing it. Because now, beating back the thoughts that would try to kill me is like breathing.
And alcohol undid my breathing.
Which makes alcohol dangerous. Not dangerous because of what it inherently does to you, but dangerous because of the way it compromises control over your own brain. Your control. The thing that keeps you whole. The thing that reminds you that your kids matter. The thing that remembers that pain is temporary. The thing that prevents you from hurting yourself. The control that keeps you upright and in one piece.
Now I am fine, of course, no reason to panic. I just got slapped upside the head with a reminder. Drinking is bad. Drinking will get my cheeks wet. Drinking will cause me suffering. No matter how seductively it promises to take my pain away. It's a big liar.
Tracy, N. (2012, January 30). Bipolar Disorder and Drinking, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2012/01/bipolar-disorder-and-drinking
Author: Natasha Tracy
Due to my evident signs.. as very lonely and selective muteness. Yes , my childhood was a real struggling because my reality was not as the rest of the people.. at the beginning I was unable to be aware of that but after I did reach it my teens... that trend of be antisocial did really hit me.. and I was starting to explore what meant to have this bipolarity ( basically I was having a wammy set of stuff, starting with some autism -dyslexia .. changing to be a adhd toward the end of be a bipolar II ... I may have to say my environment on where I was growing up.. was not much help , my father was an alcoholist -womanizer with his own traumas... that did make be as that proverbial bird... born with wings but unable to get the ideas of how to used them to lift up the fly..
Well after my 15 th birthday I was getting better control of my symptoms but after 3 years I did fall into a vorágine of fast life.. in some how I was some reckless and not caring for nothing but what I want..
I was never given any drugs to control it my symptoms
But basically I did use it the alcohol as a mood moderator and that did help me to hold up..
And I did also Learn to meditate ..
I am a 27 yrs of age and have been diagnosed with BiPolar Disorder 1 since early teens. Upon moving away to college, I had drug-induced psychosis requiring hospitalization 3 times (Marijuana and Alcohol) that left me with many damaged relationships and credit card debt, endless thoughts of self-doubt, depression, etc. After almost 2 years of healing from the trauma I feel I can finally make progress in my life.
I was the first person in my my family to attend college. I graduated with my AA, and am very close to receiving my BA. Very recently I was working at 3 jobs just to afford bills, and then I stopped getting hours and took myself out of a toxic environment where I felt I could no longer develop professionally. Thankfully, I have another job that supports people with Disabilities. Its not a lot of money, its barely enough to get by, but I am thankful that I have water, shelter and food.
I am a gifted Artist/Designer and have great rapport with people, but can find it challenging to control my moods when I need to. While on medication, I feel like I have no soul, I don't care about anything besides smoking cigarettes and eating junk food. Aside from that all of my inspired thoughts and creativity is dulled down to the point where it doesn't even surface in my mind.
I decided to get off meds, due to numerous postings I've read where people get severely addicted to them, psychiatrists raising doses every so often and causing organ damage in the long run. I keep meds for preventative maintenance, which doctors WOULD NOT recommend. Zypreza is what I was prescribed to last, and It started to make me delusional in terms of hearing people talk when they weren't and just random things would appear to be happening when they actually aren't. I am a good actress most of the time and people wouldn't realize the things I'm actually experiencing on a day to day basis just to run errands or perform at my job. It really helps to be busy and have a sense of center of yourself when people upset you or you lose your cool.
My coping mechanisms have been writing a lot, listening to music, preparing very healthy foods and snacks, avoiding sugar, staying AWAY from alcohol, marijuana is also mind numbing to me. I find cigarettes to be enjoyable along with Kombucha. Not everyday, but sometimes.
Meditation is very underrated in terms of anxiety control and relaxation for BP1 and BP2.
I could seriously write a story about the challenges I've encountered and the strength I've gotten from pushing through believing in myself and keeping my dreams alive. I wouldn't be where I am today without the positive support a special friend and my family has tried to have. They don't understand me or suffer with their own mental and physical disabilities.
I often feel alone, but when reading the experiences on this site its frightening how much I can relate.
Best of love and life this new year!
Ive lived with Bi polar 1 since a teenager and i am known for being loose and wild when drinking alcohol. For me personally the alcohol gives me more of a high and i become very hypoactive. I struggle with ansomnia for 1-2 week periods every 3 months... Im assuming its to do with the Bi Polar 1. So while normal people become tired and messy after drinking... i become quite alert and hypoactive. Because of this it forces me to not sleep night outs which leads to drugs and everything else that comes with that. Ive been stuck in a cycle of living extremely unbalanced, in debt causing me to lose time, feel pressured, and constantly be going around in circles cleaning up destruction and turmoil. Im at a point now where I've turned my back on most friends and family for not taking the time to understand me.... its just seemed to be easier than trying to explain living with bi polar and alcoholism. I have a girlfriend who i love dearly and who has help me to have some stability in my life. She means everything to me, but my actions say otherwise when i get on these rampaging, drunken episodes. Today she told me she had, had enough and i don't know what to do anymore. Life would seem pointless without her. I feel like a failure, for not giving her what she deserves. I feel disappointed that she has stayed with me this long and endured the brunt of my bi polar, alcohol and drug abuse. What make me feel even more like a low life is that I've some how been with her 8 years and subconsciously allowed her to be abused and mistreated. We have never had counciling and i have never had help. If she leaves today i fear that 1 day i will get drunk or high, get into a low state and just do away with myself. I feel like that today. I feel like I've run out of lives. Im under pressure at work. I'm under pressure in my relationship. Im under pressure with my family relations and I'm absolutely out of answers for the cure to this mess of a life i live. Its not all bad... i love my life but these episodes and bad decisions can leave a months commitment and hard work in vain within a 24 hour period. I just tired. I know god and I'm a faithful man but the bi polar and alcoholism together is the most decieving, destroying and depressing illness you will experience. Just being around someone with this combination of issues can be mentally draining and taxing. Don't ask me how i found this site. i type something in on google after considering suicide.
Ps... last night i slapped a guy who was very important to a good friend of mine. The guy i slapped basically provides his lively hood, but an alcohol fuel Michael just added another story to the long list of fights, arguments and embarrassments that have haunted me over the last 18 or so years.
Im an extreme creative that has god given gifts in the areas of people, business and athletic ability. Im blessed... but this bi polar and alcoholism has been the thorn in my side. The demon constantly waiting around the corner of any achievement I've accomplished, ready to devour the credibility by drowning the occasion in financial debt or just embarrassing behaviour.
This is my life in a nut shell
I have Bipolar 1 and I find the Komucha tea in particular helps my mood.
Honestly it became intolerable. She purposefully had stopped taking her meds and we had an almost morning ritual where I would ask her how much she remembered and fill her in on the rest of the night. After 3-5 drinks she'd black out. I love the girl and still miss her good side, but she needs to take her meds and take her illness seriously before she's ready for a relationship with anyone.
Her biggest screw up was promising me we would go camping (sober) and then when I was trying to find the camping spot she (sober) vehemently denied making the promise. We had a minor disagreement over this because she wanted to go clubbing. She got drunk, stomped off, and ended up high on crystal meth on skid row and got picked up by the cops and thrown in jail, found wearing someone else's tank top over top of her shirt. Ironically, she broke up with me because I was pushing her to get an STD test after that episode.
What a horrific illness. She will be really regretting all the horrible things she said to me one day, if she isn't already. Leaving a pig mask with X's in the eyes at my door, putting up posters about me, saying I had a small ugly penis, saying she wished I would die, saying she hoped I lived a lonely life. When she was on the level and medicated she was the sweetest girl and we were the best of friends, not just boyfriend and girlfriend. I miss that Sarah, but I certainly dont miss the Sarah she became.
I need help I'm finally admitting that I need help. This anger is destroying my happiness. It starting to make me act like when I was at the end of my relationship with my daughter's mom. Not to forget, she left me on the day my daughter was born. I don't blame her. I would of left me too. I'm afraid of losing my current girlfriend. Though I've only known her for a short amount of time compared to my daughter's mom (know for 7 years and dated for 6. We were high school sweethearts).
I lashed out a few days ago towards my girlfriend and mother. This isn't me. When I'm sober I know how to control my anger and avoid violent episodes. I need help but I'm embarrassed to seek help. I feel like I'll be ridiculed or humiliated in front of the people who mean the most to me. I kinda just want to talk to someone. Have someone listen to me. Maybe a stranger would be better cuz they don't know my life and I don't know there's.
Oh yeah, I got my 1st DUI on mothers day, three weeks before my graduation. Maybe I am bipolar or depressed. Not sure but I feel like I'm at the lowest point of my life. However I'm looking forward to going to a.a. classes and speaking with counselors. Not the best way to seek help but the state is recommending it to me so I'm taking those recommendations as an excuse to seek for help.
It was here she was diagnosed with depression and bi-polar. I haven't dealt with it very well, going on stupid w.sites haven't helped. But she continues to drink, not everyday(her dr says only on special occasions) a few times a week. I feel that by her still drinking she is not remorseful for her actions over the past year, shes just so argumentative when she drinks. Am I wrong to assume this. I just want my old partner back, medicated or not.. She just thinks everyone is against her..
I ask her to stop drinking-I'm told I'm just being controlling. I only want an affectionate loving partner I had. Not to mention the damage its doing to our 11yr old son......?
Please do call a help-line and ck into the resources given. You can get through it, may feel like the end of your world, but it's just not, keep going sweetheart. I send much love to you. It's okay, breathe in this next moment and know that there is hope.
I'm so sorry to hear you are depressed and suicidal. I know how hard that is. You need to reach out. You need to call a helpline or talk to a professional immediately. Please find our helplines and resources page here: http://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-referral-resources/
- Natasha Tracy
So sorry for your loss and what you went through. Yeah alcohol can release demons. I think for bipolar folk those demons are always there though so I would not say alcohol killed him but his demons/illness did. The promise of brief reprieve from torment and alcohol can be strong. The inhibitions come down and all the uncontrolled emotions rush in like a ferocious tide. Each time it rages in and out it causes damage and bipolar people get weary of the rollercoaster, guilt anger etc. .
You are not completely helpless...
Of course alcohol is a depressant and mixing meds with alcohol doesn't make the situation any better, but you also said your daughter is disappointed about her life. Just guessing but, maybe it's partly a self esteem problem. When I was first diagnosed with bipolar 1 my self esteem was in the gutter a very long time, because the bioplar negatively affected my ability to function and also because of the stigma related to having a mental illness. I was never a drinker but I took to my bed 12 to 16 hours a day. I felt my life would never be the same again and it wasn't for a very long time. When a person's self esteem is low, depression is usually not far behind. Unfortunately few bipolar meds effectively address depression as antidepressants can throw someone into mania.
All this complicates bipolar depression which can be quite severe in itself. Some people feel helpless and hopeless and try to drown their problems in alcohol.
Maybe helping your daughter deal with the roots of the drinking would give her a reason to stop... Perhaps cognitive behaviour therapy would help or AA.
When all else fails perhaps you could try Alanon