Which came first, the chicken or the egg?  Was your loved one a drug addict with bipolar disorder, or did they have bipolar disorder and become an addict?  The answer is that it really doesn't matter, because both problems must be dealt with in order for your loved one to get better.


Many people with bipolar disorder believe, in looking back, that they had the disorder for years before they were diagnosed.  Many of these same people say that they used drugs to mask the symptoms of their disorder.


Other people who have the disorder say that their addiction problem began when, during a manic episode, they began experimenting with drugs recreationally.  Before long, they found themselves addicted to the drugs.


What do you do when you find that your loved one with bipolar disorder also has a problem with drug addiction?


First of all, you need to understand that you cannot change them, or the situation in which they find themselves. 


There are things over which we have control, and things over which we have no control.  You cannot control your loved one or their addiction.  You can control yourself, however, and your reaction to your loved one's addiction.


One thing you cannot do is feed your loved one's addiction.  Do not give them money, or allow them access to money.  If necessary, open a separate checking account, and get rid of all credit cards except one for emergencies (to which only you would have access).


If you take any prescription drugs, you need to lock them up.  Even if you just hide them, there is a chance your loved one might find them.


Your loved one is in a very dangerous, life-threatening position.  The use of drugs along with their bipolar medications can cause serious drug interactions, and even death.


They need more help than you can give them.  Although your loved one does need treatment for their bipolar disorder, they first need to get help for their addiction.  Unfortunately, this is not something you can do for them; they have to be willing to get help for themselves.