bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a highly co-occurring disorder with drug and alcohol addiction. Characterized by extreme swings of mood from depressive to manic, turning to drugs and alcohol to cope is common. While there is no answer as to what specifically causes bipolar disorder there is a general understanding that it can b related to numerous factors.

Genetic Predisposition

When parents who have lived with bipolar or another mental illness give birth to a child, there is a four to five times higher likelihood that child will develop a mental health disorder in their lifetime. Bipolar can be genetically inherited from a parent or a relative further down the genetic line. Being raised in the household of a parent with untreated bipolar disorder can also result in the circumstantial, or environmental, development of bipolar. The genetic predisposition for bipolar might be triggered by the genetics of bipolar in a parent who cannot manage their emotional shifts.

Hormonal Issues

Hormones contribute more to mood and emotion than many people realize. Varying factors like stress, weather, diet, exercise, or general life shifts can contribute to changes in hormones, which in turn leads to changes in mood. Living a healthy and balanced lifestyle including good diet and nutrition, rest and exercise, as well as abstinence and recovery from substance use issues, will help keep hormones in balance.

Chemical Imbalance

Research has not yet been able to identify a neurobiological root cause of bipolar disorder, though some studies have discovered enlightening new information. Mood disorders and personality disorders can always be attributed to a chemical imbalance in the brain. Serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and other important neurotransmitters malfunction in their production, producing either too much or too little. Too much or too little of dopamine and serotonin, for example, can affect the way happiness and pleasure are experienced.


Trauma is unpredictable and therefore causes feelings of unpredictability in life. After trauma, it is a challenge to feel certain and solidified in life. Shifting from feelings of safe and secure to feelings of terror and insecurity creates a bipolarity in life. Bipolar disorder can be connected to trauma due to a lack of stability and regulation.


It is hard to say that drug addiction and alcoholism could cause bipolar disorder to form on its own. Most often, drug and alcohol addiction trigger mental health issues which have been dormant for many years. During detox and recovery, many are surprised to receive a diagnosis for bipolar disorder, thinking it was just the drugs and alcohol which caused their shifting moods.
Cottonwood Tucson has been working with co-occurring disorders for over 20 years. Our internationally renowned addiction rehab and behavioral health inpatient programs aim to provide an environment of safety and understanding, forging a helpful, lasting therapeutic alliance with all those in our care. For information on our adult care programs, call us today by dialing (888) 727-0441

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