Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Substance Abuse

Those suffering from bipolar disorder are notorious substance abusers. It's part of our makeup, and one of the defining indicators.

My 21 year old son also suffers from bipolar disorder, and has several things he "abuses". First and foremost is alcohol. He is a very heavy drinker, and I'm quite worried about his health where this is concerned. He doesn't eat much anymore, and is very thin. He also abuses caffeine, drinking it by, and directly from, the pot. He seems to prefer it at room temperature so he can "slam" it. He also has in the past abused marijuana. I don't think he is using it much now, as he can't afford it.

In my case, I've left most of my substance abuse issues behind. But in younger days, pot was a daily thing. Also alcohol, from mid teens on. But my makeup causes me to get so sick from over-doing alcohol, I'll likely never develop a serious alcohol problem. I also really enjoyed speed, and cocaine. Coke I couldn't afford, so no problem there, but speed was used from time to time. These days my only abuse issues seem to be with food - I can't say no. I'm not terribly overweight, 5'11, 200 pounds, but I eat like a horse. This worries me, as I can't seem to find the willpower to eat properly.

Any abuse issues, past or current, our bipolar readers would like to share?

Another time I'll discuss cigarettes - an entirely different subject for those with bipolar disorder.


Lisa said...

I have been a substance abuser jumping from different addiction to addiction.

I am definitely a caffiene addict but I think that is to couteract the sleepiness of the nighttime meds. In all honesty I love the taste of coffee and tea too.

I was addicted to pot for two years, smoking 3 times a day. I asked my husband to stop buying it and the addiction ended. As long as it wasn't in the house I didn't touch it.

I have had my issues with alcohol off and on. I go on binges for a month where I drink every night then I don't touch it for months. It is a vicious cycle.

I'm honest about it though and never try to hide it.

My doctor's know that I do enjoy an occassional drink once in a while when I am not binging and are ok when I can control it.

Usually when I am on a binge it is situationally related.

But you are right. Statistics show that those with depression and other mental disorders are more likely to have substance abuse problems.

Take Care,

Belinda said...

We would never, ever, have gotten DH's BP under control OR his addictions under control, had we not been lucky enough to land in a dual-dx hospital with a great doctor and good program...if successful treatment of BOTH problems hadn't happened at the SAME time (being comorbid conditions and all), we'd exist no longer as a family unit at this point.

It's a chicken/egg question, but I will say that when DH is stable as he has been on this med mix, he has no cravings for other substances. Which is good, thank God.

Owen Lowe said...

I think it would be best if you consult a professional about the drinking and caffeine problems of your son. If unabated, there may be tragic repercussions of these addictions. It is best to seek counsel as early as possible to prevent further damage to your son's health.