Is Medication-Assisted Therapy for Bipolar Disorder a Good Idea?

Bipolar disorder affects moods, behavior and energy level. Depression and mania are a continuous cycle, causing problems with normal life and possibly leading to substance abuse. Some individuals with bipolar disorder deny that they need medication: they may worry about how the medication will make them feel, or that it will destroy their personality. The stigma of mental health issues may also make those with bipolar disorder reluctant to seek treatment.

Hypomania, a milder form of mania, is often enjoyable, as individuals feel powerful, elated, energetic and happy. During this phase it may be difficult to see the point of medication, but this state often progresses to mania, with symptoms including anxiety, an inability to focus, poor judgment and risky behavior.

Those with bipolar disorder often believe their success or creativity comes from their manic and hypomanic periods, and it may be difficult for them to accept the need for medication. They may even miss manic episodes once take medication. The depression phase makes people doubt that treatment will work, and some patients may not care to attend doctor appointments or treatment.

Why Medication-Assisted Therapy Helps Bipolar Disorder

Many patients become frustrated with the side-effects of medication. It may take years to develop an effective blend of medication, and patients may give up before finding an effective course of treatment.

However, bipolar disorder plagues moods and behavior, leading to poor job performance, hurt relationships and a poor quality of life. Treatment is usually necessary to avoid these negative consequences. It is important to remember that bipolar disorder is not a personal failing, but a health issue caused by irregularities in brain function.

Medication is often required for stability and happiness, just as insulin is required to increase life expectancy for those with diabetes. Individuals that suffer from bipolar disorder may appreciate medication-assisted therapy if they record their thoughts and behavior during manic and depressive periods. This may remind them how they benefit from treatment.

How Bipolar Disorder May Lead to Addiction without Medication

Bipolar disorder may still be difficult to manage even with medication, especially when a patient is trying out different drugs and treatment methods. Without medication-assisted therapy, individuals have a greater chance of using drugs or alcohol to cope with stress and depression. Self-medicating in this way increases an individual’s chance of developing addiction.

Bipolar disorder carries an increased risk of developing multiple addictions, as different drugs are abused for mania or depression. Counseling is an important aspect of treatment for bipolar disorder and may help patients avoid addiction.