The development of an addiction during the course of a mental disorder is often seen as a common affair. Likewise, people afflicted with bipolar disorder frequently struggle with substance abuse and dependence due to sudden and intense changes in their mood, behavior and energy level. According to the Epidemiologic Catchment Area study, 46 percent of patients struggling with bipolar disorder reported a lifetime history of an alcohol use disorder (AUD) and nearly 41 percent of them had a history of abusing other drug or dependence.
Among people diagnosed with bipolar disorder, marijuana has been identified as a favorite substance of abuse. Some of the studies have drawn attention to the exponential rise of cannabis use compared to alcohol abuse or dependence among people with bipolar disorder, particularly young adults. While a large number of studies have been carried out on the repercussions of AUD among people with bipolar disorder, there has been limited research on the effects of cannabis. This is primarily due to the fact some researchers have the notion that cannabis may actually be helpful in stabilizing mood in patients with bipolar disorder.
A few of the published studies have summarized that drug abuse in general and cannabis abuse in particular are associated with poor treatment adherence, severe levels of mania and other negative consequences. The comorbidity of cannabis abuse and bipolar disorder affects treatment outcomes and inflicts greater functional impairment.
Cannabis use negatively affects treatment outcomes in bipolar disorder
Since people suffering from bipolar disorder experience one or more manic or hypomanic episodes along with a major depressive episode, they run an increased risk of abusing substances, particularly cannabis. Considering the fact that cannabis is responsible for triggering a number of psychological effects, such as euphoria, relaxation, a sense of calm, enhanced perception of current activities, simultaneous focus on multiple things, etc., many people with bipolar disorder tend to use this drug for self-medication purposes.
In a survey of 43,070 respondents aged 18 and above, the lead author Lev-Ran along with other researchers found that compared to people with or without any mental illness, the rates of marijuana use and cannabis use disorder were highly variable among patients with bipolar disorder compared to those without any mental illness.
Moreover, pot use is associated with the diminished probability of long-term abatement in bipolar disorder. Surprisingly, marijuana use, in particular, was related to bringing down the remission rates for the symptoms of depression in women and maniac in men.
Furthermore, that the level of reduction in depressive symptoms was lower in cannabis users prescribed mind stabilizers alone, whereas reduction rates for manic symptoms were lower in cannabis users prescribed olanzapine. This indicated that pot might lessen the impact of medications used to treat bipolar disorder.
Cannabis use among those with bipolar disorder is related to numerous poor treatment outcomes, which include increased disability and mixed episodes, increased manic, increased likelihood of a suicide attempt, depressive and psychotic symptoms, low compliance and rapid cycling.
Treatment is just a call away
The co-occurring disorders like bipolar disorder and cannabis use disorder can be treated using a detoxification program, behavioral therapies and medications. In the absence of appropriate and effective treatment for these disorders, one tends to witness numerous challenges that may affect his or her life, work and relationships. Dual diagnosis is a serious condition that requires proper medical attention and holistic treatment. Therefore, it is essential to seek appropriate treatment to address both the problems adequately.
People looking for information on dual diagnosis, including dual diagnosis treatment centers in California and drug rehab centers in southern California, can contact the California Dual Diagnosis Helpline. You can get instant help in your area by calling at our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-1736 or joining our representative over live chat.