Meth can worsen the symptoms of bipolar disorder or cause them to start if the disorder has been present but without major symptoms.
Meth is a dangerous illicit stimulant drug. It is usually smoked, and its effects include an intense, euphoric high followed by a prolonged period of increased energy and agitation.
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder. People with bipolar disorder tend to have intense mood swings that include periods of mania, hypomania, and intense depression.
Methamphetamine is dangerous for everyone mentally, but those with bipolar disorder are taking even more risk if they use the drug.
How Meth Use May Influence The Onset Of Bipolar Disorder
Meth use does not cause bipolar disorder. However, those who already have bipolar disorder have an increased risk of serious symptoms if they use meth.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that, along with dopamine and norepinephrine, is one of the primary chemicals responsible for making us feel a sense of well-being and happiness.
People with bipolar disorder experience spikes of these neurotransmitters during manic episodes. These are followed by intense crashes.
Meth use makes this cycle even more pronounced. Using meth releases the same neurotransmitters for a short period of time, then sends their levels crashing down.
Meth does the opposite of what treatment and management of bipolar disorder aims to do. Instead of stabilizing the brain chemistry, it makes it even more unstable.
Vast, intense mood swings are the main symptom that characterizes bipolar disorder. Mood swings are also one of the effects of meth use.
Meth can initiate mood swings when someone with bipolar disorder is not currently experiencing symptoms.
Use of the drug can also make mood swings worse, and cause them to cycle faster.
Pre-Existing Mental Health Disorders
Meth can also worsen and contribute to other mental health disorders, including anxiety disorders.
Bipolar disorder is very difficult to manage on its own, so adding any other mental health issues into the mix can heighten these issues.
Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is characterized by intense high periods followed by intense lows.
There are three types of bipolar disorder. From most severe to least severe, they are: bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymic disorder. Most symptoms are common of all types of bipolar.
People having a manic episode may act impulsively.
Risky things that people often do during a manic episode include eating and drinking too much, spending or giving away large sums of money, and having reckless sex.
Racing thoughts are a common symptom of manic episodes.
Meth also causes racing thoughts, which is one of the ways that meth use can exacerbate symptoms of bipolar disorder.
People having a depressive episode may get so “low” that they start having suicidal thoughts. In fact, people with bipolar disorder commit suicide at a much higher rate than other people.
Behavioral Issues Caused By Meth Abuse That May Excite Bipolar Symptoms
Meth use is like adding fuel to the flames of bipolar disorder. A meth drug addiction can cause a number of behavioral problems that make bipolar symptoms worse.
Hypomanic episodes are similar to manic episodes, but less intense. Meth can cause hypomanic behavior, even in people without bipolar disorder.
It can trigger longer hypomanic episodes in people with bipolar disorder and make these episodes more intense.
People addicted to meth will begin to feel withdrawal symptoms within hours after their last use. Withdrawal from meth includes intense cravings for more of the drug.
The cycle of getting high, then crashing and craving more meth closely resembles the mood cycles that people with bipolar disorder experience.
Meth-induced psychosis is common among people who use the drug. Psychosis may include hallucinations, feelings of rage, violent behavior, and more.
Meth psychosis further dysregulates the brain and central nervous system in people who have bipolar disorder.
Treatment For Co-Occurring Bipolar Disorder And Meth Addiction
People with both bipolar disorder and meth addiction need special treatment that is specifically designed for people with a dual diagnosis.
Psychiatric interventions like cognitive behavioral therapy and medications such as antipsychotics may help with both meth addiction and bipolar disorder.
Oftentimes, there are underlying causes that trigger both meth use and intense manic and depressive episodes.
Through psychiatry and behavioral health interventions, people can begin to uncover these causes and work to manage them.
Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment
People with both a drug addiction and a mental health disorder need specialized treatment.
Co-occurring disorder treatment does not target each issue individually. Instead, it focuses on treating the person in a holistic way that considers all the issues at hand.
Having meth in the system is dysregulating. The first step to healing from meth addiction is to detox.
Inpatient drug detox offers a safe environment where those going through meth withdrawal can be monitored and comfortable.
Inpatient And Outpatient Care
After detox, a person can transition to inpatient or outpatient care for meth treatment.
Inpatient care is an environment where you will have lots of support and you can focus entirely on your recovery. Outpatient care allows you to return to daily life while receiving care.
Find Substance Use Disorder Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center
Bedrock Recovery Center is a state-of-the-art substance abuse treatment center located just outside of Boston in Canton, MA.
We serve people living across the eastern U.S. We offer detox and inpatient treatment services to people with drug and/or alcohol abuse issues
Are you ready to move past your substance use issues? Call our helpline today to talk to a specialist and learn more about our treatment options.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/methamphetamine-meth
- National Institute of Mental Health https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) https://www.samhsa.gov/meth
- United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) https://www.dea.gov/factsheets/methamphetamine