Bipolar Disorder Community
Bipolar and Alcohol Abuse
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Bipolar Disorder is also known as "Manic Depressive Disorder". This forum is for questions and support for people with, or for loved ones of people with Bipolar Disorder. The forum covers topics ranging from Aggressive Behavior, Affect on friends and Family, Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Appetite Changes, Chronic Pain, Denial, Depression, Difficulty Concentrating, Euphoria, Guilt, Manic Depression, Medications, Mood Swings, Poor Judgment, and Sleep Disorders

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Bipolar and Alcohol Abuse

I've recently been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I, but have struggled with it for the last 40 years without a formal diagnosis.  (Denial?).  Like many others, I have abused alcohol for years as a method of self medication.  I don't believe I'm an alcoholic, but I definitely have issues.  I have never missed work, never had a DUI, don't drink during the day.   But I do drink something every night (Sometimes, but not always to excess). I want / need to quit, but have so far not been successful.  I don't do 12 step programs (personal reasons), I can't go inpatient detox (I'll lose my job as a contractor), and my insurance doesn't cover crap.   Any suggestions as to how to control this?  
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You have pretty much cut all avenues for help.  There are 12 step programs that are not spiritual if that is a problem.  My husband followed the same path and it has been very hard.  Being bipolar he struggled with AA as well.  The only other option is to find a drug and alcohol counselor that you can meet with.  We did that with my husband and it helped so much.  
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There are sometimes drug and alcohol programs attached mental health clinics, at least in Canada. They are looked at as the same type of issue and that both must be treated at the same time. So you may be able to find a drug and alcohol counsellor through the same place that diagnosed you as bipolar 1. Your health care team need to know if you are taking alcohol with any prescribed meds. Alcohol is a depressant and will make getting stable really hard. It is so good you are recognizing the need for help.

You may want to reconsider AA. My understanding is that each group has a very different dynamic and sometimes you have to 'shop around' to find a good fit. My best friend is a former alcoholic and that is what I heard from her. Trying to go at it alone without support is a very hard road.

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I've been to several different AA groups, and just couldn't identify with any of them.  I suppose the best thing to do is talk to my Therapist and/or Psychiatrist about it.  Before it does become an addiction.  
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