To: Bipolar Beat

Re: Which Came First – Substance Abuse or Bipolar Disorder?

I’m so happy to have come across this site, particularly this article, as I checked out different areas of my news reader.

I’ve been in and out of recovery (from alcohol abuse mostly) for about 20 years, now just two-and-a-quarter years sober again. Not too long before I got back to recovery in 2007 I was diagnosed with bipolar II. The description fit me perfectly, particularly as I went over a long list of incidents and periods of uncharacteristic behaviour during hypomanic periods. In fact the diagnosis of bipolar II was an ‘A-ha!’ moment for me and made so much sense of the preceding years and years when, at best, I was treated for episodes of depression only – leaving me to conclude that hypomanic periods were merely un-depressed.

Having seen others in recovery roll their eyes when they’ve heard about members speak of being bipolar I have been careful about choosing who I talk to about it, other than my psychiatrist.

I cannot deny that my symptoms have improved since getting sober again, but they have not been completely eliminated despite faithfully taking my prescribed medications. (This does not surprise my p.doc. who assures me that substance abuse, and recovery from it, and bipolar disorder(s) can and do occur at the same time.)

So my doc is more than okay with me being both in recovery and bipolar. So am I. It’s mainly, it seems to me, some untrained minds who are prejudiced about psychiatric care and diagnoses of different kinds over and above substance abuse.


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