Bipolar and Addiction

Articles and blog posts relating to addiction as a symptom of bipolar disorder.

Blogs and Articles

SoundOFF! on Bipolar & Alcohol

bp Magazine Readers
June 16, 2021

Is it a good idea to drink when you have bipolar? At all? A little? Occasionally? How do you handle social situations that involve alcohol? DRINKING MAKES ME FEEL lethargic and depressed the next day. When I’m manic it lowers my inhibitions and I make poor choices. I rarely drink since my diagnosis, and when...

holiday stress triggers trauma traditions coping skills mood manage substance abuse alcohol abstinence

5 Strategies for Handling Holiday Triggers

Tiffany Romito
November 26, 2020

For me, the holidays usually bring not only traditions and gatherings but also stress and strong triggers. Difficult memories arise as the season changes and the holidays are upon us. In the years since my bipolar diagnosis and sobriety, I’ve learned how to navigate these months and maintain a stable mood. Holidays & Memories—for Better...


Learning to Ride Out Your Urges with Bipolar

Robin L. Flanigan
October 3, 2019

When pleasurable pastimes like shopping, gaming, or online socializing cross the line from enjoyable to excessive, it may be time to tame your overindulgences. Going on a shopping spree. Binge-watching the latest fad series. Spending hours on a video game. Religiously checking Facebook. Truth is, most people can say they’ve been there, done that. Those...


The Emotional Art of Derek Hess

bp Magazine
April 5, 2019

With exhibits at the GRAMMY Museum and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Derek Hess communicates his struggles with bipolar and alcohol through his drawings—and credits his dog for getting him through his darkest days. If ever there were a way to tap into the human psyche and lay it bare for all to...


Bipolar & Succeeding in STOPPING Hard-to-Break Habits

Allison Strong
March 21, 2018

Binge eating, abusing drugs, smoking—there are many behaviors to deal with bipolar disorder symptoms that can lead to bad habits. But you can learn to break them. If video is not showing, click here From the time I was a young girl, I engaged in compulsive behaviors to balance out my undiagnosed, untreated bipolar disorder....


Dealing with a Dual Diagnosis: How to Break the Cycle

Brooke Hilton
February 6, 2018

While it may require difficult life adjustments, getting help for both bipolar disorder and substance abuse—dual diagnosis—could save your life. If video is not showing, click here Today, I will be speaking about my bipolar and substance abuse disorders, commonly referred to as dual diagnosis. But, I like to refer to myself as a “double...

A man smiles as he snaps a cigarette in half. Represents quitting addictions like smoking when living with bipolar.

Bipolar & Health: 6 Tips for Overcoming Addiction

Tanya Hvilivitzky
September 11, 2017

Substance addiction, such as to nicotine, may be common with bipolar disorder. If you’re trying to quit, here are some strategies to enhance your success. #1 Make the Commitment There’s an enormous difference between wanting to quit a smoking habit or addiction and actually making the decision to quit. Things open up when you make...


Bipolar & Animals: How Horses Help Addiction Recovery

bp Magazine
July 26, 2017

Equine psychotherapy can be an important step in the addiction recovery process; here’s why: Learning valuable lessons According to The Ranch in Tennessee, which runs a unique equine-assisted therapy program where people are able to bond with the horse and learn valuable lessons about respect, empathy and communication that helps them in their recovery. “Equine-assisted therapy is effective...


Sober Consideration: Bipolar, Alcohol & the Decision to Drink

Donna Jackel
July 9, 2017

The standard advice about drinking when you have bipolar is to avoid alcohol altogether. Is moderate drinking ever a good idea? Some things to ponder. You walk into a social gathering and see that most of the guests have a drink in hand. So you grab a beer, too—maybe to calm your nerves before you...


Bipolar Disorder & Substance Abuse

Karl Shallowhorn
February 15, 2017

Substance abuse and bipolar disorder are more complicated combined than either condition alone—but treatment is available, and recovery is possible. If video is not showing, click here  There are a few things to consider when it comes to substance abuse and bipolar disorder. I’m a person in long-term recovery from addiction. I’ve been clean for...


Maintaining a High Functioning Lifestyle with Bipolar Disorder

Karl Shallowhorn
November 21, 2016

Living with bipolar can be very challenging but it is possible to develop the tools to maintain a high-functioning lifestyle. If video is not showing, click here Hi, this is Karl Shallowhorn with BP magazine’s bphope Vlog. Today I’m going to be talking about maintaining a high functioning lifestyle and living with bipolar. So, you...


Bipolar & Panic Attacks—My Constant Companion

Dave Mowry
May 30, 2016

Panic attacks feel humiliating and devastating, and pervasive for those of us with bipolar disorder. I have written about panic attacks before. For me, panic attacks are humiliating, embarrassing, and devastating. They are pervasive for those of us with bipolar disorder. I think it is important to write about this topic again. For me the panic attack...

Accepting criticism and arguments with Bipolar Disorder

Critical Thinking: Learning to See Criticism As Suggestions for Change

Stephen Propst
January 26, 2016

Gracefully accepting criticism is difficult for anyone, let alone when you are battling bipolar disorder. Having written this bp Magazine column for more than a decade, I’ve received lots of feedback. While I’m touched by the positive comments, I’m also grateful for the criticisms. After speaking at a mental health conference a while back, I...


Back Chat: Marya Hornbacher

bp Magazine
January 26, 2016

Writer Marya Hornbacher shares some what she’s been working on recently, as well as her recovery progress   With her unflinching, groundbreaking memoir Wasted, 23-year-old Marya Hornbacher became a voice for young women with eating disorders. Ten years later, in 2008, she touched a whole new community with Madness: A Bipolar Life. Grappling with substance...

Women toasting with wine glasses

The Pitfalls of Alcohol Over-Consumption Over The Holidays

Anelli Xavier
December 15, 2015

The holiday season is the time for festivities, family, and friends––but NOT the time for alcohol over-consumption that leads to impaired driving. December is National Driving Impaired Prevention Month. With this in mind, this is the time of year where we should give thanks for all we have, spend quality time with friends and family,...

Dirty martini in a glass at a bar with bottles of wine in the background

The Effects of Alcohol on Mental Health

Anelli Xavier
December 8, 2015

Even though over-indulging in alcohol over the holiday season is tempting, it may not be the best for your mental wellbeing. Injuries and fatalities from accidents involving impaired drivers have steadily increased over the years and have become a serious issue in the United States. In 2013 alone 10,076 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving...

Drawing of man with light at the end of the tunnel

A Glimmer of Hope to Read on Your ‘Bad Days’

Karl Shallowhorn
November 6, 2015

One thing I know without a doubt is that we have much more potential than we realize. The key is knowing how to tap into it. I’ve been blogging for BP for years. And while my posts have always had a theme, this week is a little different. It’s more of a stream of consciousness....

Two woman talking at an outdoor bar with alcoholic drink in foreground

My Struggle with Alcohol Dependence

November 4, 2015

Alcohol dependence gets in the way of me being a good mother, a good wife, and a good bipolar symptom-manager. To paraphrase Frida Kahlo: “l tried to drown my isolation in alcohol but it learned to swim”… If you follow me, you are fully aware that I have been struggling these last few years in...


Ask The Doctor: Dual Diagnosis— Coping With Bipolar & Substance Abuse

Melvin G. McInnis, MD, FRCPsych
April 1, 2015

Co-occurring substance abuse and mental illness is more complicated than either condition alone—but treatment is readily available, and recovery is absolutely possible. A “dual diagnosis” means having two disorders diagnosed at the same time. It could be any two diagnoses, but typically it refers to the co-occurrence of a mental illness along with a substance...


The Mask of Bipolar & Addiction

Chato Stewart
March 11, 2015

Many people struggle not only with bipolar disorder, but with the secondary issue of substance abuse—alcohol, drugs or both. The Bipolar mask hides addiction well, doesn’t it? Drug, Alcohol, Gambling, even sex addiction are all that next quick high – next fix – next shot, score… Let take a second and reflect on some of...