Some people with bipolar disorder use drugs and alcohol to mask the symptoms of their disorder.  This may start simply as recreational use in the beginning; however, before long, they may find themselves addicted.


Here are some signs and symptoms to look out for if you are concerned about the possibility of your loved one being involved with substance abuse:


·         Change in people they call friends

·         Secluded behavior (isolation)

·         Changes in behavior

·         Difference in attitude

·         Long, unexplained absences from home

·         Lying and stealing

·         Involvement with the law

·         Deterioration in family relationships

·         Unexplained absences from work

·         Obvious intoxication

·         Incoherent speech

·         Unconsciousness

Any (all) of the above symptoms may not be enough to indicate absolutely that your loved one is involved in substance abuse; however, they could be indications that substance abuse is an issue along with their bipolar disorder. 


There are several other signs and symptoms that relate more specifically to the mental effects of substance abuse, such as:


·         Distorted thinking

·         Impaired judgment

·         Poor decision making

·         Foolish (silly) behavior

·         Delusions

·         Hallucinations

·         Paranoia

·         Abuse

·         Violence


Physical signs of substance abuse could be:


·         Dilated pupils

·         Restlessness

·         Euphoria

·         Hyperactivity

·         Slurred speech

·         Poor coordination

·         Decreased attention span


If you believe that your loved one has a substance abuse problem in addition to their bipolar disorder, please seek help from a licensed professional