Update from this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association: People with addiction and bipolar disorder are more likely to have a more rapid-cycling form of bipolar, according to a study funded by three big federal agencies—the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Listen up, those in recovery:
Based on the findings, the authors emphasize the importance of treating bipolar patients even if they have an active substance abuse disorder.
“Treatment” might include therapy, hospitalization if needed, and medication.
Ever heard people say you’re not really sober if you take antidepressants or other psychoactive medication, even under a physician’s oversight?
Over the weekend I talked with a friend of mine who’s been sober for 30-some years. She told me the story of a woman who got sober some years back, had a few years under her belt, and hit a real rough patch. Got extremely depressed, couldn’t climb out. Finally asked for what my sponsor calls “extra help” and went to a therapist, who suggested a psychiatrist, who in turn diagnosed bipolar disorder and prescribed medication. Which she threw out, because she was told by a number of people that if she took it, she’d no longer be sober. And she hung on as long as she could, and when she couldn’t endure anymore, she killed herself.
“It’s just as much self-will NOT to accept help as it is to go drink or engage in active addiction,” my friend said.
I’m reminded of that old story about the guy who’s flooded out to the top of his house, and along come a raft, a boat, and a helicopter, all of which he turns down, telling himself he’s waiting for “God” to save him. After he drowns and gets to the Pearly Gates, God chews him out: “I sent you a raft, a boat, and a helicopter—what were you bloody thinking??”
For full article: JAMA 2010;303(20):2022