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 16 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2012/01/bipolar-disorder-and-drinking
Author: Natasha Tracy
My name is amanda. I was sick ever since i was a little girl. I would say i went through alot but i know others have been through worse. My bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, panic attacks and my phobia had me getting physically sick through out years. I ended up doubled over for two years, 70lbs mnt nutrition no muscle mass and developed 3 stomach disorders from it. My anxiety over worked my stomach to the point where i couldnt digest food. Experimenting with drugs and alcohol when i was younger brought it out worse and didnt help thats why i got so sick. Plus trauma. Alcohol is bad even though i love it and still once in a blew drink. Im guilty but young so i think its ok but the alcohol just makes my head worse and then my stomach on top of it. Best thing i ever did was mj and went on my bipolar meds. It helps me alot i can digest now. I gained 45lbs now im 125lbs and healthy. Its just the alcohol that will kill me but i learned to moderate my drinking. Now i dont even feel like drinking half the time because of my meds and my mj. Thats all i need keeps my head clear. So mayb once in a blew ill have a beer for a special occasion. I pray for u all. I thought i was dying lit thats how sick i was. Never give up. Have faith. u can do this.. god bless
I suffered all my life with manic depression. Just recently at the age of 38. I was diagnosed with bipolar.
I have always used alcohol from an early age to medicate. It always made me feel better. It would also trigger episodes of Euphoria. This I really enjoyed.
I am on medication now . I feel "normal" now. However, I feel like I have wasted most of my life.
Just my opinion.
Well she is a full blown drunk and drug abuser. Post separation she has just gone off the deep end. Disappearing for days. When home, laying in bed surrounded by filthy. Verbally using our children. Crying one second than proclaiming she's happy the next. Talking normally one second than viciously attacking the next. Observed drunk, often. But here's what's odd. When her 'new' friends come over she is the model of motherhood and cool. My kids see right thru it. How in heavens can she fool these people? I mean she's the greatest. How can she control her self around them but not her kids? I mean how is bi polar disorder so selective? Thought these folks didn't have much control at all. Of course the X is always plastered and floating on narcotics with these people. Any thoughts? This woman seems like she is headed for complete disaster. Oh, she denies she is bi polar, won't take her meds, denies she's a drunk and denies she's a pill head. Well, heck, she denies everything she's done and blames me for that matter. Always a victim. Always. That's how she roped my dumb ass in 20 years ago. I felt sorry for her. Putz!
Not everyone is the same. Not everyone responds to meds or other treatments. Not everyone is cruel when drinking. I have been dealing with bi-polar for over 20 years. I have tried meds, they did not work. I have tried counseling, and all they seem to want to do is talk about feelings and what may or may not have happened. Not very helpful.
The only thing I have found that does seem to work a bit is drinking. I am not saying it is the right fit for all, but before you judge, try living a day in our shoes. Thoughts bounce around in your head until its all you hear. The more you struggle, the stronger it gets. Or so it sometimes seems.
I know its not easy living with someone with this disorder. BUT, sometimes drinking is the only thing that makes it tolerable.
"There is always a lock for every key and there will always be a treasure behind every locked door"
Thank you 'Strawverry, Oct 26, 2013"
It helps to think of this when I'm getting discouraged looking for the right key (the right medication combination) to unlock some relief for this bipolar disorder
I'm not a drinker (I used to have a couple of glasses of wine 2 or 3 times a year). I know how destructive drinking can be... 3 generations of my family worked for a brewery. My uncle was a mean irresponsible drunk and my dad tried to commit suicide once while drunk... neither of them had bipolar disorder
Since I've been medicated for my disorder I find that with just 1 or 2 drinks (depending on the alcohol content) I can become hypomanic very quickly and I often get a pounding headache the next day so I don't bother. It's just not worth it for me.
You're not alone. Have you heard of NAMI? They often offer support groups for family members of people with mental illness.
You might also want to check out Alanon which offers help for those with a family member who is an addict. (They are specifically anonymous, of course.)
There are people out there you can talk to. You do not have to handle this all yourself.
- Natasha Tracy
my meds are quetiapine 200mg Prozac 60mg ( gets alterated when buzzing ) but actually stablizies at times,my actual mood which is weird...lamotarine (which is actually an epiletric drug but usded for mood swings also has always helped as no side affects!!! which is cool. diazapan .. which make me sick so just take at night with zopiclone acationally, No problem with that! just alcohol ... the devil juice!! sorry if that sounds really harch, as I am drinking now, hope you don't think me to be a hypacrit but had bad day!!! sorry my spelling is offal.. he he!.. love you all fellow sufferers always, Lindsay xx
when u cut people off in mid sentence take care tyler my message was very hearfelt but obliously the morons who run this site dont give a crap
im not repeating all the things i said cuz it was from my heart but after this i really dont give a damn ill live with my illness or die by my illness either way im okay with it
I had been struggling with awkward mood swings and at times I wanted to die. After being misdiagnosed and then finally gotten answers I was told I was Bipolar Type 2.
THERE ARE MANY TRIGGERS THAT CAN EASILY WORSEN BIPOLAR;
I have noticed if I drink at least ONE drink, the next day I will be depressed all day.
ONE DRINK OR ANY SIP OF ALCOHOL IS WORTH IT.
THINK ABOUT THIS. How long does it take you to at least find some peace and be stable. Then by doing something like having one drink of alcohol all the bad things that can happen from one drink. Well at least this is what happens to me.
BIPOLAR IS A MONSTER THAT SEEMS TO BE FOLLOWING YOU ALL THE TIME. It follows you wherever you go at anytime of day. The thing is trying to keep that MONSTER FROM TRIGGERING AND ATTACKING YOU.
I am 22 and it is very difficult to live with this mental illness. Episodes of depression or mania last for who knows how long. The thing I say to myself when I GO THROUGH AN EPISODE IS:
" IT WILL GO AWAY. I AM STRONG. I WON'T LET IT HURT ME. YOU CAN ATTACK ME BUT YOU CAN'T BREAK ME."
MY POINT IS DONT DRINK ALCOHOL, GET 8 hrs of sleep, don't watch depressive movies, eat three meals a day, surround yourself with loved ones, keep your head up, take your medication, and MOST OF ALL IN YOUR HEART AND BRAIN THERE IS A LITTLE PART THAT CONTAINS PEACE WITHIN YOU.
MAYBE SOME OF US WILL ALWAYS BE CHAINED DOWN TO THIS BIPOLAR,it's a chain that might never be broken BUT A CHAIN THAT ONLY A FEW OF US CARRY BECAUSE EVEN WHEN WE ARE AT OUR WEAKEST, WE CARRY IT AND IT MAKES US STRONGER!
i have mood disorder but i dink alco very much and take my medication also if any one knows its said effects tell me pls.....
Yes, i saw my therapist today and am not drinking tonight and am committing to 30 sleeps, as per an online blog, without alcohol. These obsessions have gone too far. I have been going to mindfulness lessons and it's going to have to be the way to handle any fall-out but I am optimistic that I can do this!
I recently read Anne M. Fletcher's book Sober For Good, which outlines many sobriety pathways and resources. I recommend it, it's helped me start shifting my thinking and behavior.
I was like you - a drinker. I love drinking hard drinks until I pass out. Last month, I have emotional breakdown and I bought one bottle of Vodka, but I didn't continue it. Think about this - Not only that affects your mental,.. think about your liver also. It will kill your life. If you want to live longer, be kind to your liver.
I don't drink until at this very moment. My last was last April and it had proven me that drinking affected the way I'm thinking.
I can understand that alcohol numbs the pain and I can understand you wanting to do that. But that numbing is a mask and it will never truly make the pain go away. It's only when you're sober and can truly deal with those issues that you can rid yourself of them for good.
I hope you're getting therapy because they can support you and can help you get past these issues. Also, you might want to look into support groups, possibly through the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA).
You are not alone. Many people are struggling with same issues you are. Addiction and bipolar disorder are common together. You will find people who are just like you.
And if I can just say one more thing from personal experience: I had to watch my father, a bipolar and alcoholic, drink his life away and be sad his whole life long because he could never deal with the pain with all the alcohol piled on top. It saddens me greatly that he could never find the peace he deserved because of the alcohol. Don't be like him. You deserve better.
I am struggling with alcohol dependency and bipolar I depressive/suicidal symptoms at present. I really want some inspiration as to how much better I will feel as a bipolar off alcohol. My worst problem is obsessive ruminations over past wrongs (towards me). Alcohol seems to numb the brain pain associated but does it make them worse?
Any ideas, inspiration, resources (web,etc) much appreciated.
I've read your posts re: when the pain is so great that you can't go on, have given up, don't shower or brush my teeth ... just breathe. And I agreed with you and all the comments.
But when the pain goes on and on and on ad infinitum, alcohol relieves that pain, if only for the time being. It saves me. It give me a break.
My mind can at last rest. No other drug can do that ... can take me away into a pleasant place ... can actually put a little smile on my face.
As well as bipolar, he's ocd and though he's not a physical abuser, I almost wish he was. His verbal abuse is way more harmful than being hit. You can't take back what you say and when he adds alcohol he's twice as bad. There is no such thing as a good drunk. My philosophy is instant asshole, just add alcohol and that fits most drunks I know to a tee. When you add a psychological to drinking the bipolar becomes more pronounced and makes for a very bad situation.
I'm now trying to end this disaster of a marriage but he won't leave. I don't want to get the police involved because he might become physical. I'm going to talk to a psychologist myself and see if he has any ideas on how I can end this on a more amicable note. I don't want to end my life, I want to end my marriage while I've still got some sanity. I'm losing my mind fast. Your damned if you do and you're damed if you don't