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double trouble question


rocket
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I am wondering how much alcoholism and bipolar disorder overlap. Books I am reading say that addiction to alcohol and/or other drugs is very common for bipolar people...My daughter was abusing alcohol and benzodiazapines which led to a crisis and hospitalization, but they say she was "self medicating" and doing it to deal with depression...

But she is clearly also an alcoholic. She can drink vast amounts and just be getting started....and drink to the point of blackout...

So she has not drank for six weeks after moving back in with me, and I am very glad for that -- also has not been smoking cannabis...or taking RX meds, so this allows us both to experience her state of mind without any meds...and the bipolar disorder is very evidient. But clearly she is so used to depending on alcohol that once she moves out and starts hanging around with her old friends she may be heading back toward crisis. I am urging her to go to treatment -- learn tools -- support groups, see a psychiatrist and therapist or counselor, go to classes.....AND to AA but I am not having much luck with either.

I understand that AA people may not understand bipolar disorder, and yet they can still give support for dealing with life without alcohol, bipolar or not. But it would be nice to have an AA group for bipolar people who are dealing with both issues.

Any ideas?

The only bipolar support I could find in our area (DBSA) won't allow anyone not in treatment to attend, so she is not eligible.

Thanks for any insights you all may offer.

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I am wondering how much alcoholism and bipolar disorder overlap. Books I am reading say that addiction to alcohol and/or other drugs is very common for bipolar people...My daughter was abusing alcohol and benzodiazapines which led to a crisis and hospitalization, but they say she was "self medicating" and doing it to deal with depression...

in my experience it is quite common. My uncle was both. I suspect my Mom was both. My stomach can't handle much more than three drinks at a time so that's a mixed blessing. I resorted to less socially acceptable means to relieve extreme agitation.

I am urging her to go to treatment -- learn tools -- support groups, see a psychiatrist and therapist or counselor, go to classes.....AND to AA but I am not having much luck with either.

I would be inclined to deal with the bipolar first. I think the alcohol is just a way to cope with the anxiety/rage/frustration/agitation or whatever it is she is experiencing. If you take away alcohol without dealing with the underlying problem, I think she would just find another addiction. Perhaps you could print off some articles on bipolar for her, even search the main page on this site. I find Wikipedia has some great descriptions. I think she needs to understand what she's got as a first step. An internet support group might be helpful if you can't get her to go to a face to face one. A therapist would be very helpful if you can find a good one and if you can afford it. You may want to look up Borderline Personality Disorder and see if she fits that description too. It is often a coexisting condition with bipolar. There are some specific types of therapy for this. I'm not a fan of medication so i'll leave that to others to comment on.
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I was in AA for a while, you would be surprised how many of the folks in those meetings are also dealing with TONS of mental issues. The very first step in the program is admitting that you have a problem. These people (in my experience) are so understanding that they don't even get upset with you if you tell them you don't think you are an alcohic, you just wanted to try and "fit in" somewhere. They appreciate honesty more than a facade from anyone. Once in a while some of them will do an intervention as part of "working their own program". This means that they will do as much as they possibly can to help without it costing much more than a couple pots of coffee. I suggest looking up AA groups/meetings in your area after all they can all relate to drinking themselves into blackouts. An addictive personality is still an addictive personality. I think they will understand more than you can imagine. All it will cost you and your daughter is a couple of hours and getting back and forth. What have you got to lose?

The Albert Einstien qoute Athena is currently using happens to be a favorite amungst AA goers.

Edited by Verbally abused?
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rocket

You can go to an al-anon meeting for her alcohol abuse, as far as them talking about bipolar when you go and start feeling comfortable just talk about it. Somebody there probably will talk about it with you. I'm sorry you're going through this we meaning me also being bipolar will self medicate to protect ourselves from anything that we have to. Especially from being hurt, past issues, or really anything that is in our way.

Keep on this forum everybody will help you.!!!

I'll keep in touch with you hopefully al-anon will help you they do work for people to help deal and learn to help the person that is drinking, or doing drugs this meeting is all things so please call as soon as you can. Good Luck OK!!

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Thanks to everyone for your comments and suggestions.

I have been going to Al-Anon and it is incredibly helpful!! It's a good place to get support for any situation that is overwhelming, it's about realizing that we cannot control everything, cannot control others, can only control our own behavior....and even that is difficult :) it's about figuring out what we CAN control and getting support to do that.

It's also about finding serenity even in the midst of huge challenges that are frightening.

I am finding some sense of relief after feeling in crisis for so long it was making my physically ill.

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