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Understanding Bipolar Disorder in Men

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 5.7 million adult Americans are affected by bipolar disorder. Men and women have the same chance of developing bipolar disorder, according to John Hopkins Medicine.

Bipolar disorder in men has distinctly different symptoms than bipolar disorder in women. In this blog post, we explore the symptoms of the manic and depressive states of bipolar disorder in men.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder. Bipolar disorder is characterized by cycles of manic states and depressive states. There is no cure for bipolar disorder, but the symptoms can be managed with proper treatment.

While men and women share many of the same symptoms for bipolar disorder, there are differences in how this disease affects the genders. For example, bipolar disorder in men is often more severe than it is in women. Further, females tend to be more depressed than manic while males tend to be more manic than depressive.

The Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder in Men

Manic Symptoms

Bipolar disorder’s manic states are characterized by symptoms such as trouble sleeping, speaking very fast, restlessness, excitability, impulsive behavior, reckless behavior, and more. The manic cycles tend to be much more pronounced with men especially in acting out, the potential for violent behavior, aggression and similar manifestations of reckless behavior.

Bipolar disorder greatly increases the risk for substance abuse during manic cycles. Men who are not seeking treatment for the disorder are more likely to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs. Substance only exacerbates these symptoms.

Depressive Symptoms

The depressive states of bipolar disorder are characterized by symptoms such as feelings of hopelessness, depression, trouble sleeping, worry, concentration problems, fatigue, eating and appetite troubles and more. They look very different from the symptoms of mania.

Manic Depression, Substance Use Disorders, and Suicide

Those suffering from bipolar disorder with a cooccurring substance addiction, often find that medications are less effective, and recovery from mood swings is slower, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. NIDA also points out that people who have a dual diagnosis related to bipolar disorder are hospitalized more often and are at a higher risk of committing suicide.

People with manic depression are more likely to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, and while psychoactive substances can seem to temporarily ease the symptoms of both manic and depressive episodes, they almost always worsen the condition. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, between 40 and 70 percent of people who have bipolar disorder also have a substance use disorder, which has been shown to worsen the outcome of this mental illness, including causing an increase in symptoms, longer episodes of mania or depression, more hospitalization, and more suicide attempts.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine indicate that bipolar disorder is the most common psychiatric condition associated with suicide, with between 25 and 50 percent of people with manic depression having attempted suicide at least once.

According to a study published in the journal Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, the association between mood disorders, substance use disorders, and suicide has been recognized for many years. One study cited found that two-thirds of those who committed suicide had a substance use disorder, and another found that those with manic depression and an alcohol or drug dependence were the highest-risk group for suicide.

How to Manage the Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder In Men

There is no cure for bipolar disorder, but the symptoms can be managed with the proper treatment. It’s important to manage the symptoms to maintain good relationships, proper mental and physical health, a proper-functioning professional life and more.

The treatment for bipolar disorder in men includes such methods as psychotherapy, prescription medication and stress management.

  • Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy helps clients uncover much personal understanding as well as understanding how their lives and the mental health disorder interact. This is important in order to reach better progress with handling the disorder and managing its symptoms.
  • Prescription Medication: Prescription medication is another necessary treatment method for bipolar disorder. Prescription medication, such as lithium, helps clients manage the symptoms on a biological level with regard to chemical imbalances.
  • Stress Management: Stress management is an important consideration in the treatment of bipolar disorder in men. Stress is a major trigger for the disorder as it is for many others and keeping stress down to a minimum and learning how to handle stress properly creates the ability to better manage symptoms and live more comfortably
  • In a clinical trial funded by the NIDA, these researchers found that Integrative Group Therapy reduced the number of days patients abused a substance each month, compared to those who receive traditional drug counseling alone. During the trial, participants who engaged in Integrated Group Therapy used alcohol 4.4 times a month compared to 6.5 times a month for those in traditional drug counseling, and they used illicit drugs 2.1 times a month compared to 5.2 times a month for those in drug counseling alone.

Treating A Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis treatment is conducted as a meaningful collaboration among members of the treatment teams for each illness, and Destination Hope’s Dual Diagnosis program draws on the most up-to-date research and proven best practices in treating patients with bi-polar and other mood disorders who also have a drug or alcohol addiction.

Integrated Group Therapy, which addresses the addiction and the bi-polar disorder simultaneously in a group setting, is a promising new therapy that was developed specifically for a dual diagnosis of addiction and bipolar disorder in recent years by researchers at Harvard Medical School.

We combine Integrated Group Therapy with individual therapy and family counseling and a number of other research-based therapies to address the broad range of issues unique to those with a dual diagnosis.

Managing the Stigma of Bipolar Disorder

Though the stigma for bipolar disorder in men still exists today, it has decreased. These changes are slowly adjusting the way society at large views mental health care and those suffering from mental health disorders.

If you have bi-polar disorder and a substance addiction and you’ve given up hope for recovery, Destination Hope can help. We are a full service drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Florida for men suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues. Please contact us today to discuss how we can help you find relief and realize a healthy and productive future free from addiction. Please call us today at 877-771-1750.

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