Bipolar itself is classified into two major categories; Bipolar I and Bipolar II. Bipolar I include at least 1 fullscale manic episode along with a hypomanic or major depressive episode. Hypomania is the less severe form of mania. Although this form might also include extreme energy level, pressured speech and flight of ideas, hypomania can be differentiated from mania by the absence psychotic symptoms and feelings of grandiosity.
Even though hypomania is a major feature of Bipolar II, in Bipolar I, it is only described as a small mood shift in between when the individual’s mood changes from normal to manic.
Bipolar II, as discussed above, includes at least one hypomanic episode and full-scale major depression. To diagnose Bipolar I, the manic episode must be of at least one week in duration while in Bipolar II, hypomania should persist for over at least four days.
Some researchers suggest that Bipolar Disorder has very strong co morbidity with drug and alcohol abuse. Drug and alcohol abuse or addiction is a bio-psycho-social illness, that doesn’t just affect our physical health, but also damages our mental state and causes disruption in our social life. Drug dependence usually occurs when the consistent use of alcohol/drugs causes significant impairment in the individual’s social, occupational and personal life. Recurrent use of drugs/alcohol causes a metabolic error and affects various regions of our brain thus making it a physical illness as well.
As already described above, Bipolar disorder is the experience of two completely different states of mind, mania and depression. The reason why addiction is a common dual diagnosis with bipolar disorder is because of the consumption of various substances to regulate mood. This is known as a self medicating behavior. Individuals suffering from bipolar disorder unknowingly drink alcohol or use drugs to manage their abrupt mood swings. Dr. Sadaqat Ali, Project Director at Willing Ways, states that in the manic phase, people increase the intake of the drugs to take off the edge. They wish to feel heightened and experience great adrenaline rush, excitement and novelty.