Bipolar Disorder and Drinking

January 30, 2012 Natasha Tracy

People with bipolar disorder should avoid drinking. Alcohol is both destabilizing and can increase risky behaviors. More at Breaking Bipolar blog.

Last night I drank.


OK. You probably don't need to alert the media. But I do need to alert you about the horrible effects alcohol can have on a person with bipolar disorder.

Drinking Alcohol

I'm human. I'll admit it right now; I am. And one of the things this means is that I'm subject to human cravings and desires and occasionally I like to have a drink. It's not the biggest deal in the world but it's something that I shouldn't do. But then, there are a lot of things in life that I shouldn't do and I get tired of not doing them all.

And I was feeling weak and weary and tired of my own mind and my own troubles so I drank some gin. This is something that takes place in every restaurant, in every bar, in every pub, every day.

Of course, I'm not like those people. I'm a medicated bipolar. For me, drinking is more meaningful.

One Drink Equals a Lot

And one of the things about drinking is that one drink tends to do the work of many drinks for a person on bipolar medication. For a female, one drink does not, typically, put someone over the legal limit to drive, but for a medicated person it sure should. One drink on an empty stomach tends to hit me like a whole night of drinking. I go from sober to strawberry fields in minutes. Alcohol is like that.

And drinking also destabilizes bipolar disorder. Alcohol is one of the things doctors tell you to avoid, not just because they're doctors and they're like that but because alcohol can induce bipolar mood swings. It's a drug. And not a very nice one at that.

Alcohol and the Brain

And alcohol is not a simple, clear-cut drug either. It works in your brain and throughout your nervous system on GABA, dopamine and other neurotransmitters critical to mood and well-being.

Alcohol Impairs Thought

Well, duh, you're saying - that's why you drink it! But it doesn't just impair unpleasant thoughts; it impairs useful trains of thought as well. Like all those great cognitive behavioral therapy skills you've been practicing don't work so well after a martini. It tends to leave you both shaken and stirred.

Last Night

And so, I found myself drowning out unpleasantness only to find myself wrapped in a cloak of greater, more salty, unpleasantness. Sure, I had been tired of my usual place in the world but I had failed to take into consideration how carefully constructed that place was. How much work it takes for me to beat back all the bipolar thoughts I have every moment of the day. I take for granted that I'm doing it. Because now, beating back the thoughts that would try to kill me is like breathing.

And alcohol undid my breathing.

Which makes alcohol dangerous. Not dangerous because of what it inherently does to you, but dangerous because of the way it compromises control over your own brain. Your control. The thing that keeps you whole. The thing that reminds you that your kids matter. The thing that remembers that pain is temporary. The thing that prevents you from hurting yourself. The control that keeps you upright and in one piece.

Now I am fine, of course, no reason to panic. I just got slapped upside the head with a reminder. Drinking is bad. Drinking will get my cheeks wet. Drinking will cause me suffering. No matter how seductively it promises to take my pain away. It's a big liar.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter or at the Bipolar Burble, her blog.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2012, January 30). Bipolar Disorder and Drinking, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Natasha is also unveiling a new book, Bipolar Rules! Hacks to Live Successfully with Bipolar Disorder, mid-2024.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleX, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

June, 10 2022 at 9:54 pm

I am probably the most conservative person you’ll ever meet but yesterday after work I was invited out for drinks and appetizers with some of my coworkers, most of which were 1/2 my age. I started off slow with just 2 Strongbow pale ale which then progressed to numerous rounds (about 6-8 at least) of shots. I left after 2 1/2 hours before I got too loaded to make it home, after all my boss and her boss were there and I didn’t want to make a complete fool of myself. When I got home I took my meds and crashed into bed.

June, 6 2018 at 6:45 pm

Alcohol and not even a lot makes me manic.

Ernest juares
January, 17 2018 at 12:01 pm

I was detected as a bipolar since I was a 5 or 6 years ol..
Due to my evident signs.. as very lonely and selective muteness. Yes , my childhood was a real struggling because my reality was not as the rest of the people.. at the beginning I was unable to be aware of that but after I did reach it my teens... that trend of be antisocial did really hit me.. and I was starting to explore what meant to have this bipolarity ( basically I was having a wammy set of stuff, starting with some autism -dyslexia .. changing to be a adhd toward the end of be a bipolar II ... I may have to say my environment on where I was growing up.. was not much help , my father was an alcoholist -womanizer with his own traumas... that did make be as that proverbial bird... born with wings but unable to get the ideas of how to used them to lift up the fly..
Well after my 15 th birthday I was getting better control of my symptoms but after 3 years I did fall into a vorágine of fast life.. in some how I was some reckless and not caring for nothing but what I want..
I was never given any drugs to control it my symptoms
But basically I did use it the alcohol as a mood moderator and that did help me to hold up..
And I did also Learn to meditate ..

September, 15 2017 at 9:40 am

Interesting stuff! It seems to do that to me also. My career is helping others as a Coach and i am passionate about mindset stuff and progression and have been for over 10 years. BUT i went to a wedding recently, got a little tipsy and ended up getting annoyed about a tiny thing which rendered me out of control and different. I have always been colourful in life one could say - in that i am full of life and of expression but this turned me into the darker more unpredicatble version. It scared me! So, after yearsof drinking now and then its just 'then' now. So less often. I am happier knowing myself when i am in control. Anyways - great article and hope it helps others! Cheers Greg )

Leah Casabonne
August, 16 2017 at 6:13 pm

I've gotten thru some of the worst of disorder? However, my physical disability keeps me limited to focus on possibilities? I wish "normal" people could feel what we do? Not abusive to anyone. Just getting so tired at 55 years old.

May, 5 2017 at 10:04 am

Hi! I have got all the signs and am medicated with carbamazepine for three years now and the doctor stopped me from alcohol without telling me the reason. sometimes I feel like killing myself. what do you advice.

Alice Noel
May, 1 2017 at 7:11 am

I'm writing this after a night of heavy drinking and I feel so ashamed and I'm crying because I just undid all the hard work I've been putting in these past few months. I hate my bipolar. I hate it. I hate it. I just wish it would go away because it makes me feel like this. I just want to be normal and I don't know how. I'm so scared because this is slowly alienating all the people around me. I can't talk to anyone I love anymore because they don't understand and I can see it's hurting them but I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO. I know too that once I've slept for a couple days I'll be okay and all these feelings of shame will subside until I drink again. Drinking makes me a worse person. Drinking also makes me a better person because of that wonderful period in between when I'm charming and funny and can openly have a conversation with people without sweating because I'm thinking about the way they'll react when they realize how messed up I am inside. I don't know what to do. It's taking over my life.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 17 2017 at 5:43 am

So relieving reading something like this, exact same thoughts and feelings. I do exactly the same, its a vicious cycle.... just doesn't stop

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 29 2017 at 4:06 am

Hey, I know exactly how you feel too. I found it hardest when having to recognize that ultimately, everyone is kind of alone in this world. When I accepted that and I was feeling terrible I realized that I had enough strength to say I love myself, so I have enough strength to keep going on. All I do when I feel terrible is pay attention to everything negative I think or say (that i can without adding stress) and counter with positive talk. It never stops my emotions, but it guides me in the right direction. I'm also an artist, and I find that having a way to express myself after I got through something is beautifully rewarding and I always hope that it can help others understand this type of pain without having to experience the depths we have.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 6 2020 at 5:13 am

I feel alot like this I’m crying rite now

March, 19 2017 at 6:16 pm

I dont understand why they cant put the puzzle together. I know we all want to have fun and keep that pleasure center going nice and strong. but by doing this 100% of the time your going to have a crash.., and when alcohol or non prescribed drugs are used your asking for trouble. I just wish Mr nice guy would stay out a little longer before The @sshole decides to play. Absolutely no logic or reasoning, they have to be right on every angle and if you point that out your the jerk. Getting real tired of dealing with this stuff... Perhaps its getting close for another visit to rehab. Its a damn shame to just before the working season. Wake the Hell UP and DO IT!!! Ok maybe I can sleep soon getting this off my chest. Its tough being the bigger man and not kicking there ass. Im just going to have to stop allowing this behavior.

Carmen Rivera
January, 11 2017 at 8:03 am

My girlfriend, i think she is bipolar even though she has not gone to a doctor i see that alot of behavior indicates bipolar red flags to me. She is sometimes ok then suddenly she is angry and upset because of little things. Things that can be solved she makes a huge deal. She also drinks every day. She says is just to relax her after a long day of work but honestly this has torn our relationship and i have a daughter who has dealt with alot of the situation including going missing for three days and doing other things that have me stressing out as well. My home is falling apart because of my girlfriends bipolar issues and her drinking habits. I dont know what to do or say. And at this point we are living under the same roof but we are not together although I do love her and i want to help her but she refuses to help her self so I stay to myself.

January, 9 2017 at 10:50 am

My boyfriend and love of my life has been diagnosed with severe depression but the more I read about Bipolar disorder the more I think he had been misdiagnosed. Like the woman who posted above who lost her love to an alcohol fueled suicide...I could have written that same article. Except my man is still here. Things are good when he doesn't drink. His moods are more stable. He still suffers from headache and insomnia but he doesn't turn into an angry, paranoid person like he does when he drinks. He has had two run ins with the law for drinking and driving. After the first one he didn't drink for 5 months and they were some of the best months of our relationship ship. He ended up getting off without charges and went back to drinking. Two months ago he got busted again and this time I don't think he will get off. I have tried to emphasize that drinking makes his depression worse and that the medications he is on interfere with his tolerance. When sober he agrees and he knows. But when he's drunk he says hurtful things and gets really paranoid. When I ask him about things he said while drinking he doesn't remember. When he's sober he is my lover, best friend and I love being around him. But I'm not sure I can trust him and i have two children. We have been making plans to live together but I'm not sure I should bring my children into this complicated cycle of his deprrsssion. I love him so much and have supported him through various suicide attempts, a partial hospitalization, three different therapists and I've swallowed my own feelings and problems in an effort to make his life easier. I am not sure what to do. I need to know that there is hope or light at the end of the tunnel.

January, 7 2017 at 11:35 am

Hi its Susan again, I typed a message way back in November. My son who left home 15 months ago and went to go and live with his brother. My son's girlfriend text me the other day, saying she wanted to have a chat about my two sons and my grandson, who I have never had any dealings with. I believe they are having trouble with my younger son, drinking and probably becoming quite violent. Can someone tell me what I should do. I want to help, but I cannot go through what I went through before. I feel they just want to dump him back. These two took him, convincing him that he did not have B1 and told him to stop taking his meds. I know these are bad, can anyone give some advice please.

December, 31 2016 at 4:52 pm

Hi audience,
I am a 27 yrs of age and have been diagnosed with BiPolar Disorder 1 since early teens. Upon moving away to college, I had drug-induced psychosis requiring hospitalization 3 times (Marijuana and Alcohol) that left me with many damaged relationships and credit card debt, endless thoughts of self-doubt, depression, etc. After almost 2 years of healing from the trauma I feel I can finally make progress in my life.
I was the first person in my my family to attend college. I graduated with my AA, and am very close to receiving my BA. Very recently I was working at 3 jobs just to afford bills, and then I stopped getting hours and took myself out of a toxic environment where I felt I could no longer develop professionally. Thankfully, I have another job that supports people with Disabilities. Its not a lot of money, its barely enough to get by, but I am thankful that I have water, shelter and food.
I am a gifted Artist/Designer and have great rapport with people, but can find it challenging to control my moods when I need to. While on medication, I feel like I have no soul, I don't care about anything besides smoking cigarettes and eating junk food. Aside from that all of my inspired thoughts and creativity is dulled down to the point where it doesn't even surface in my mind.
I decided to get off meds, due to numerous postings I've read where people get severely addicted to them, psychiatrists raising doses every so often and causing organ damage in the long run. I keep meds for preventative maintenance, which doctors WOULD NOT recommend. Zypreza is what I was prescribed to last, and It started to make me delusional in terms of hearing people talk when they weren't and just random things would appear to be happening when they actually aren't. I am a good actress most of the time and people wouldn't realize the things I'm actually experiencing on a day to day basis just to run errands or perform at my job. It really helps to be busy and have a sense of center of yourself when people upset you or you lose your cool.
My coping mechanisms have been writing a lot, listening to music, preparing very healthy foods and snacks, avoiding sugar, staying AWAY from alcohol, marijuana is also mind numbing to me. I find cigarettes to be enjoyable along with Kombucha. Not everyday, but sometimes.
Meditation is very underrated in terms of anxiety control and relaxation for BP1 and BP2.
I could seriously write a story about the challenges I've encountered and the strength I've gotten from pushing through believing in myself and keeping my dreams alive. I wouldn't be where I am today without the positive support a special friend and my family has tried to have. They don't understand me or suffer with their own mental and physical disabilities.
I often feel alone, but when reading the experiences on this site its frightening how much I can relate.
Best of love and life this new year!

December, 17 2016 at 7:09 pm

Oh also to add I've been DUI twice and this time round i lost my licence for 2 years but continue to drive to run my business, cause i just can't afford to miss a bill payment. Its living on the edge at its most severe. There is actually a more reasonable approach to not being able to drive, but the manic episodes have me making bad decisions, putting myself in high risk situations and becoming comfortable with living on a razors edge. Its depressing and a scary reality i try to forget each time i drive to work. Just a small example of how complicated a person with bi polar 1 can make things.

michael tonkin
December, 17 2016 at 5:50 pm

Hi my name is Michael and i am 34 years of age.
Ive lived with Bi polar 1 since a teenager and i am known for being loose and wild when drinking alcohol. For me personally the alcohol gives me more of a high and i become very hypoactive. I struggle with ansomnia for 1-2 week periods every 3 months... Im assuming its to do with the Bi Polar 1. So while normal people become tired and messy after drinking... i become quite alert and hypoactive. Because of this it forces me to not sleep night outs which leads to drugs and everything else that comes with that. Ive been stuck in a cycle of living extremely unbalanced, in debt causing me to lose time, feel pressured, and constantly be going around in circles cleaning up destruction and turmoil. Im at a point now where I've turned my back on most friends and family for not taking the time to understand me.... its just seemed to be easier than trying to explain living with bi polar and alcoholism. I have a girlfriend who i love dearly and who has help me to have some stability in my life. She means everything to me, but my actions say otherwise when i get on these rampaging, drunken episodes. Today she told me she had, had enough and i don't know what to do anymore. Life would seem pointless without her. I feel like a failure, for not giving her what she deserves. I feel disappointed that she has stayed with me this long and endured the brunt of my bi polar, alcohol and drug abuse. What make me feel even more like a low life is that I've some how been with her 8 years and subconsciously allowed her to be abused and mistreated. We have never had counciling and i have never had help. If she leaves today i fear that 1 day i will get drunk or high, get into a low state and just do away with myself. I feel like that today. I feel like I've run out of lives. Im under pressure at work. I'm under pressure in my relationship. Im under pressure with my family relations and I'm absolutely out of answers for the cure to this mess of a life i live. Its not all bad... i love my life but these episodes and bad decisions can leave a months commitment and hard work in vain within a 24 hour period. I just tired. I know god and I'm a faithful man but the bi polar and alcoholism together is the most decieving, destroying and depressing illness you will experience. Just being around someone with this combination of issues can be mentally draining and taxing. Don't ask me how i found this site. i type something in on google after considering suicide.
Ps... last night i slapped a guy who was very important to a good friend of mine. The guy i slapped basically provides his lively hood, but an alcohol fuel Michael just added another story to the long list of fights, arguments and embarrassments that have haunted me over the last 18 or so years.
Im an extreme creative that has god given gifts in the areas of people, business and athletic ability. Im blessed... but this bi polar and alcoholism has been the thorn in my side. The demon constantly waiting around the corner of any achievement I've accomplished, ready to devour the credibility by drowning the occasion in financial debt or just embarrassing behaviour.
This is my life in a nut shell

Beside Myself
November, 28 2016 at 4:15 am

I have been a relationship with someone for 7 months, Bipolar/depression and ADHD he is kind, caring and generous most of the time, when drinking he was not the person I fell in love with. He finally quit drinking is now week 2, he is taking his meds faithfully but.....he will not talk I have no idea what he is thinking or if he even still likes me. He said he is trying to learn to live without relying on alcohol, I try and give him his space, he is sometimes attentive, but mostly very distant. Last night, I could not longer take it and said "I am doing everything I possibly can to help you through this and try to become happy, I love you and if you do not feel the same then please let's not drag this out you can leave" his reply was "ok" he didn't he got up and went to work today, seems he is returning. I am just not sure how to deal with these feelings of indifference, when he was drinking he said he loved me all the time, was afraid of losing me. Now...I get nothing. Please help me sort through this, is it the meds? He takes Gabapentin (sp) 4 x per day along with another drug for his ADHD. I am beside myself not knowing if he is just going to disappear on me. I did get him into counseling he went once last week and goes again this Friday. I do love him, but cannot continue to be there 24x7 without some sort of sign, I cannot love him enough for both of us

What's The Alternative?
November, 16 2016 at 2:20 pm

As an alternative to drinking your typical alcoholic beverage has anybody tried Kombucha tea (it has a very small amount of alcohol in it due to the fermentation process) or Matcha tea (a concentrated green tea)? Both teas have a lot of good stuff in them that are healthy for you
I have Bipolar 1 and I find the Komucha tea in particular helps my mood.

November, 16 2016 at 4:55 am

My now ex girlfriend was diagnosed bipolar in her teens. She seemed to only be able to drink to beyond excess and became argumentative and openly defiant, feeling I was trying to control her when I was just trying to get her to go to bed - she couldn't even stand up on her own two legs or sit on a chair. I had to carry her army medic style to bed 4-6 nights a week at times. It felt at times I was taking care of a 21 year old toddler. She refused to go to bed after cracking her skull into every kitchen appliance, my tower loudspeakers, the floor with the speed of an NFL football player, not on and purpose, but because she couldn't stand. She also craved putting drugs up her nose, despite her psych telling her she needed to knock it all off because she was at risk of psychosis. One day she talked to two people at the kitchen table for 20 minutes who were both in bed (me and a roommate).
Honestly it became intolerable. She purposefully had stopped taking her meds and we had an almost morning ritual where I would ask her how much she remembered and fill her in on the rest of the night. After 3-5 drinks she'd black out. I love the girl and still miss her good side, but she needs to take her meds and take her illness seriously before she's ready for a relationship with anyone.
Her biggest screw up was promising me we would go camping (sober) and then when I was trying to find the camping spot she (sober) vehemently denied making the promise. We had a minor disagreement over this because she wanted to go clubbing. She got drunk, stomped off, and ended up high on crystal meth on skid row and got picked up by the cops and thrown in jail, found wearing someone else's tank top over top of her shirt. Ironically, she broke up with me because I was pushing her to get an STD test after that episode.
What a horrific illness. She will be really regretting all the horrible things she said to me one day, if she isn't already. Leaving a pig mask with X's in the eyes at my door, putting up posters about me, saying I had a small ugly penis, saying she wished I would die, saying she hoped I lived a lonely life. When she was on the level and medicated she was the sweetest girl and we were the best of friends, not just boyfriend and girlfriend. I miss that Sarah, but I certainly dont miss the Sarah she became.

November, 14 2016 at 7:22 am

Hi my son left home last year in a manic episode. He went to live with his brother, who told him he did not have bipolar and he stopped taking his medication. He has not talked to me since January when he rang me from a grave yard. I just discovered he is drinking heavily. I hope this all stops soon. I would like him to get some help. He used to be a really nice person, he is not like that now. He is mixing with some really bad looking people.

October, 13 2016 at 9:42 am

Thank you to everyone sharing their stories. Mine is different. I found this site trying to help my friend. She is married to a good man, and has 3 adult children. She was diagnosed as Bipolar in her 20's - she's in her mid 50's now. We became casual friends about 15 years ago, and she seem confident and fun. My husband and I got closer to her and her family, to where we were taking trips together, camping, etc. In the last few years, she had family that moved back in that caused her stress. Then she lost her job. In the past year, she began drinking on a daily basis. She said she wanted to be off her meds completely (which I found out later she had stopped taken several months earlier). So now she stays at home, drinks during the day, and when her husband comes home from work she barrages him with accusations, argues with him, says horrible things to him, and accuses him of cheating on her. He confides in my husband, and I know only a fraction of what really happens behind closed doors, but he is struggling to find a reason to stay in his marriage. When she is sober, she is great. But the drinking, even a small amount, turns her into a different person. At our last outing (at a vacation home) she had been drinking, and proceeded to tell me what a horrible husband I had and that he needed to apologize to her. Her verbal assaults have now gone away from her spouse and are directed towards mine. I really would like to be a good friend, but I also need to draw a line with her behavior towards my husband. My belief is that she self-medicates/over medicates (Xanax). How do I help her? How do you help someone who purposely refuses to take the proper medication, refuses to see a therapist, and drinks a lot? Also, what kind of doctor should she be seeing? Is a general family physician the right type of doctor to see? I think she needs to be seen, her meds regulated, and start some type of therapy to talk to a professional and work through her issues. I hate to lose a friend, but she's not really the person I met all those years ago. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Good luck to each and every one of you!

October, 10 2016 at 7:37 pm

Sitting here at 115 am.was sober 22 days record for me.diagnosed 10/99 but I know I've been all my life just no name for it diagnosed late in life at 48, 64 yrs old now but always functioned. Worked, military, kids but it was always there. Found great doctor, different meds till right mix.still smallest stress hard to handle. Great support from wife and children but rest of family couldn't accept or believe. Still wonder why me,afraid longest time weakness, old school thinking, deal with it, have to find the right doctor and if you're not comfortable with him/her move on. Life is short. Best to you all❤

October, 10 2016 at 2:31 am

Sorry I missed some words in my text, I'm so tired but I'm sure you can see what I'm trying to say.

October, 10 2016 at 2:28 am

I have bipolar disorder, anxiety and chronic pain from endometriosis. This thread is very inspiring. I'm glad I'm not alone. I'm 29, I've had issues with self medicating since I was 14. I can't drink but I did Saturday night. For me, I respond to alcohol depending on who I'm with. So my behavior was spastic but my friend always knows how to diffuse my behavior. In the past reckless behavior led to being raped. I also just got out of a really abusive relationship. He's bipolar and unmedicated, we had drank before and he got crazy!! Mean, he would have hallucinations that I was cheating on him and I never did. He blames me for the break up and that hurts. I'm not perfect but I tried to help him and he just verbally abused me. I finally had to let fill after hundreds of abusive emails. He is sweet and kind wherein sober but mean when drunk. So back to me, one time I drank and I black out each time. I woke up with bruises and cigarette burns on my hand. I was in black out and my ex said I started self harm. I can't remember and I don't know why I wanted to do that. That's scary!! I've tried to commit suicide under the influence. Yesterday i felt suicidal. I'm still feeling extremely down, wanting to self medicate uppers to feel better but I won't. I have bipolar 2 , so I have more down episodes than manic. So my main addiction was stimulants. Took 14 years of my life. I feel guilty, ashamed and I knew before I drank that I didn't want to but I did anyway. Thank God I was with a safe friend. She doesn't really understand that I could die if I but that's my fault for not truly explaining it. So anyways here I am, totally mentally exhausted and feeling pain. I hate myself when I sabbatoge my own life. I'm my own worst enemy. Thanks guys for sharing your experience and reading my post. Much love to my fellows who suffer as I do. I know it will get better but it doesn't feel like that right now. The only thing keeping me from not hurting myself last night was my ten year old niece who is like a daughter to me.

September, 28 2016 at 6:57 pm

You guys have no idea how inspiring this thread has been to me. I just turned 32 and have been dealing with exact symptoms of BP all my life. I strugglle with overdrinking and all kinds of substance abuse with the excuse that it numbs out all the anger, resentment, and regret only to be fiercely reminded that alcohol especially, only adds to it. I haven't been diagnosed yet bc until recently, I never knew what it was that was wrong with me. I was in the Marines where I struggled with all of this but a perfect place to hide and get lost within. I had been dealing with raging uncontrollable anger and immense depression for as long as I can remember but it wasn't until I recently started dating someone wonderful who after dealing with all my horrific "episodes" finally solved the puzzle for me. "I think you are bipolar." No one ever wants to hear that something is wrong about them, especially me who takes everything to heart and is hugely closet emotional. It takes nothing to tear me down. I always knew something was "off" about me but would either smoke (the only thing that helps) or drink those feelings "away." While I was in the Marines toward the end of my enlistment, things got really bad. I had never had a panic attack but one day while on my motorcycle no less, I had one and trust me, it is one of the worst feelings ever. I was luckally able to pull over on the side of the road where I began to cry uncontrollably. I knew then something was seriously wrong. I went to medical where I superficially and shamefully tried to tell them I was broken. They quite literally ignored me and told me to seek treatment soon after I got out bc I was very near my 8.5yrs service. I took down an email that I was referred to contact on a piece of paper and went on my way. I figured hey, I sought help and this is all I got? Being in the Marines, I figured that they probably got this all the time from people trying to get PTSD (which is what I initially thought it to be) to get compensated and didn't believe me bc I didn't try to "sell" it hard enough. I didn't try because I really do have something wrong with me; something I am ashamed to admit. Right before I was to get out, I was desperate and didn't know what to do. The Marines weren't helping me, my family was in another state, and the only one who never left me was "trusty Mr. Coor's light" was they only one I had but at this point even he had been turning its back on me "making me" do stupid things. I am ashamed to admit but I contemplated and acted aspects of suicide. I hated myself and only felt sorrow for those very few who still stood next to me and dealt with this other side of me. May God bless them for the rest of their lives; wherever they are. I sought help else where; weed. Being in CA, weed was incrediblely easy to find. I felt horrible and shameful about considering it and the consequences but I was so desperate at this point that I was willing to try Any. Thing. Weed seemed to help right away. I was happy and at PEACE for once. I didn't have to worry about the angry "me" who would always black out and try to fight everyone. To make a long story short and worse, ultimately shortly there before leaving the Marines I was caught and charged with possession of marijuana and kicked out of the Marines. I served 8+yrs did 3 tours and countless other deployments and at the end of it all, I didn't even get a handshake but a Go F*ck Yourself. That occurrence has been by far the biggest amongst many other, disappointments in my life. I have never told anyone this story and don't intend to. I did so here because for once I think I am beginning to understand who and why I am. I don't feel so alone and alienated anymore. For those reading, thank you for your time, and for those like me, may you gain perspective, strength, and courage to continue fighting. Find a reason or a purpose to hold on to. Never quit. May God bless you all.

September, 24 2016 at 6:44 am

You guys have no idea how inspiring this thread has been to me. I just turned 32 and have been dealing with exact symptoms of BP all my life. I strugglle with overdrinking and all kinds of substance abuse with the excuse that it numbs out all the anger, resentment, and regret only to be fiercely reminded that alcohol especially, only adds to it

September, 19 2016 at 12:35 am

and forgive the lack of grammar but to tired even try fix it lol bipolar makes you tired in ever thing you do but if there is something i can tell someone suffering with it as i have sorry and just keep going on do not give this world the satisfaction of saying it beat you just keep going on how ever miserable it is worth it for the small moments of joy you get once in a blue moon and never know maybe something will just click for you and will figure out how to beat this shitty illness anyways hang in the every one with this trust me i know more than anyone what you have been threw and no one can understand unless they have had it too and seems everyone want to put you down at every turn for having something you have no control over anyways keep on keeping on

September, 19 2016 at 12:24 am

bipolar had it ever since i was 17 i stoped doing drugs then the signs showed up i have been in some the worst pain can imagine years went by with out help and its still does they finally gave me some meds that kind help once they found out what i had after so many years doctors are a joke lol but i quit drugs quit smoking i work out as much as possible i stay in my room all the time avoid every one and every thing what is the point of this dont know but i keep going on and yea i got into drinking every day i will go omnths with out drinnking or weeks at moment i drink a day take a day or two off drink 9 colt 45s alot less than what i used too counts for something i guess but still trying kick the habbit i know i feel so much better when i dont drink for long periods of time just bad habbit to kick ill be damn going kick it one day really need get my shit together i cant just keep sitting in one room all day laying down watching tv and playing video games oh well just trying get by day to day

The forgotten one
July, 6 2016 at 3:56 pm

I don't known what I have. I'm currently a 23 year old male who just graduated from a university. I have a 2 year old daughter. I'm not with my daughter's mother because of my bad decisions and drinking habits. Before we separated I never used to drink a lot. Yea I would drink every now and then. After we separated my drinking became from every now and then to everyday. I have a new girlfriend now. Known her for about 8 months and made it official for 2 months. I gotta admit she's one of the best persons I have ever met. She has a genuine heart and she is always there for me. I've never been medically treated or diagnosed of any medical conditions. There have been changes in my drinking. I show so much anger, hate and just become agreesive. I don't have control over my drinking. It's like I don't know how to stop. I'd imagine that I should be different since I just achieved a B.A. in higher learning.
I need help I'm finally admitting that I need help. This anger is destroying my happiness. It starting to make me act like when I was at the end of my relationship with my daughter's mom. Not to forget, she left me on the day my daughter was born. I don't blame her. I would of left me too. I'm afraid of losing my current girlfriend. Though I've only known her for a short amount of time compared to my daughter's mom (know for 7 years and dated for 6. We were high school sweethearts).
I lashed out a few days ago towards my girlfriend and mother. This isn't me. When I'm sober I know how to control my anger and avoid violent episodes. I need help but I'm embarrassed to seek help. I feel like I'll be ridiculed or humiliated in front of the people who mean the most to me. I kinda just want to talk to someone. Have someone listen to me. Maybe a stranger would be better cuz they don't know my life and I don't know there's.
Oh yeah, I got my 1st DUI on mothers day, three weeks before my graduation. Maybe I am bipolar or depressed. Not sure but I feel like I'm at the lowest point of my life. However I'm looking forward to going to a.a. classes and speaking with counselors. Not the best way to seek help but the state is recommending it to me so I'm taking those recommendations as an excuse to seek for help.

July, 4 2016 at 12:40 am

I never knew how much my bp episodes correlated to my cycle. Medicinal marijuana that I used for chronic pain made it worse (for me) ... Only Meds so far that have helped cause me to have a flat affect and gain an enormous amt of weight. Others I'm allergic to--such as lamictal :(... Suicidal Ideations are a daily struggle, but I've got a great therapist, psychiatrist, and a safety plan in the works...also have access to a good hotline to call for help--each day is an uphill battle

June, 26 2016 at 11:14 pm

Drinking is really bad and impairs a persons way of judgement. Thats bain. Bipolar or Not its not the best way make you forget the pain and stress. Very nice article.

June, 24 2016 at 6:07 pm

I black out almost every time I drink. I don't know how to just stop at one or 2, I go on a full out binge and ppl tell me about how mean I was and I try to fight anyone around me. I've been in 2 car accidents and countless number of suicide attempts due to drinking. It can cause a depressive episode to happen. I actually drank last nite and now I'm really hating myself. I've been stressed, have a 4 month old and was already going through a slight depression and my hormones are going crazy on top of that but now I'm really feeling it as a full blown episode. I seriously CANNOT drink, I'm going to destroy my life if I continue this. I layed in bed all day today crying my guilt away just absolutely hating myself :(

June, 17 2016 at 12:23 pm

I drank at a friends wedding, and cheated on my girlfriend. I dont remember most of it, but apparently i said some horrible stuff when i was walked in on. I always thought i was inherently a good guy, but after that, i feel subhuman. Im unmedicated for my bipolar right now. Ive decided to give up drinking for good. I was wondering if anyone else has had a blackout where you say and do things you would never do with a clear head. My friends told me later i was a completely different person. A bad person. This scares me quite a bit. 29m. Thanks alot everyone.

May, 20 2016 at 9:55 pm

My partner of 14yrs, tried to deal with grief by drinking 18mths ago. She found herself doing things, and going places that any person in a relationship would never do. Now I'm no angel, but I found I was on the border of domestic violence coping with the vile abuse. After nearly a year of deceit and infidelity she was done for DUI.
It was here she was diagnosed with depression and bi-polar. I haven't dealt with it very well, going on stupid w.sites haven't helped. But she continues to drink, not everyday(her dr says only on special occasions) a few times a week. I feel that by her still drinking she is not remorseful for her actions over the past year, shes just so argumentative when she drinks. Am I wrong to assume this. I just want my old partner back, medicated or not.. She just thinks everyone is against her..
I ask her to stop drinking-I'm told I'm just being controlling. I only want an affectionate loving partner I had. Not to mention the damage its doing to our 11yr old son......?

May, 12 2016 at 6:56 am

I have been with a bipolar man on and off for 2 years. We both enjoy drinking but somehow it normally ends badly. If we start off arguing I drinks more to try and ignore the problem and I end up drinking to the point at which I do not remember what happened. This occasionally leaves me with bruises and I even once climbed out his window while he was out of the room because I was so scared. We currently aren't speaking and I am going to aa meetings and reading how to respond to his bipolar episodes. I know he declines when we are not together and so do I so my only thought right now is getting alcohol totally out of the picture. I pray that this helps.

May, 6 2016 at 8:39 am

I married to a man that has a bipolar .when he is sober he is loving ang caring person.but when he is drunk he is abusive verbal and physical and just recently the physical was very traumatic that my memory shut down at that moment.i woke up in hospital asking why i was there thanks god im alive and still normal but i have trauma wich i cant remember what happen on the time of waiting for hospital result.this incident happen 2 weeks ago.we had our 1st court trial and his at the mental hospital for observation...his friend told me to file a divorce but i love my husband and wanted him to family is scared of my husband what if we will be together and he will end up killing me.i do not know what to decide at this time.

April, 17 2016 at 2:25 am

My 33 year old daughter was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 16. Very few period of stability in all these years. She has 3 children that I have custody of. She's made horrible choices, e end leading to a 15 year prison sentence. She still didn't learn a thing. She is an addict, and has used since a teen. She is facing prison if revoked but still she's now been drinking heavily for well over a year. She was drinking into the wee hours of the morning, then driving with my grandchildren in the car. We had to take the car away as it was also in my husband's name. We don't allow her to have kids anymore unless supervised, so she refuses to come see them. They are 16, 12, and 7. The middle one was physically and sexual abused by her second husband who is in prison on drug charges that also sent her to prison. They had a meth lab in the home with my grandsons living there. She has stopped taking all meds but her lamictal, but the drinking has long since made it stop working. We had to just walk away and let her go. I know things will possibly end up being bad for her but she refuses to listen. Don't know what else to do. At least the kids are safe and stable here.

March, 16 2016 at 10:41 am

Hi Sarah pls e-mail me I have the same problem u had maybe I think it might help talking to Someone who actually understands what I'm going through

March, 15 2016 at 5:23 pm

Please do call a help-line and ck into the resources given. You can get through it, may feel like the end of your world, but it's just not, keep going sweetheart. I send much love to you. It's okay, breathe in this next moment and know that there is hope.

hami ham
March, 15 2016 at 12:25 pm

I am 25 now made 25 on vals day I have the symptoms and all that ranging from hitting walls when am annoyed in a bid to calm ma self wit the pain to hating the world and my self at given times. I have never taken any medication and I still get manic episodes ma biggest worry is that maybe ma parents will not take me seriously if I told them and also the fact that here in uganda we may have very few who have some knowledge about the disorder am planing to go to hospital abt it but I ain't sure if its the best idea though pliz advice

March, 14 2016 at 10:38 am

I'm suicidal guys help I'm iv bin depressed for a wik nw

February, 29 2016 at 3:59 am

So sorry for your loss and what you went through. Yeah alcohol can release demons. I think for bipolar folk those demons are always there though so I would not say alcohol killed him but his demons/illness did. The promise of brief reprieve from torment and alcohol can be strong. The inhibitions come down and all the uncontrolled emotions rush in like a ferocious tide. Each time it rages in and out it causes damage and bipolar people get weary of the rollercoaster, guilt anger etc. .

February, 4 2016 at 12:08 pm

Christina would love to chat ;) you sound so like me and maybe we could share thoughts my email is laurawright210@yahoo.Co. UK

January, 27 2016 at 7:51 pm

Forgot to add... I am 28. he was 31. I should of gotten rid of guns but I thought he changed up to that night . . . If only we would of thrown him into treatment for good. What ifs will be my life for now on but I know that won't help me cope. I'm just glad he had an awesome last year and got to feel real love. I hope he believed it. He had his doubt's and he always needed reassurance but at least we got to say 'I love you' every. Single. Day. Rip baby

January, 27 2016 at 7:45 pm

I buried my love of my life two weeks ago due to alcohol and his mental illnesses. He was diagnosed with bipolar along long time ago. He had multiple suicidal episodes that landed him in hospital on a bunch of those occasions. This past year with me he did these threats multiple times. I tried everything from feeding in to going against but he liked the dramatics and I assumed he was doing it for a reaction. And this time he did. He was only like this when drinking. Sober, he was perfect! Short temper but nothing a relationship doesn't deal with. He was making huge progress last year. Graduating school, getting job right away in field, staying on meds, traveling, working on paying off debt and increasing credit. Yes I helped him a lot to go through it but he made the choices to achieve them. He would go month or months with no drinking because he knew it didn't mix well with his head but once a relapse happen and something wouldn't go his way, a switch would flip and he turn into different person. Yelling at me in front of friends. Accusing me of being with other guys . calling me bad names. But he was never like that sober. He was quiet actually and alcohol changed him! I wanted to leave him after each time but I knew the real him as a person and I loved that guy. But I just couldn't stop it this time. I even put myself in danger and wrestled him twice for the gun. He was black out by then. Just like every time. He went one step further and actually pulled the triggar. Had he been sober, he wouldn't do this. Alcohol released the demons. I really want to bring awareness to mental illness that it is OK to admit it and to seek help. He was coping with this mental illness just fine. medical Marijuana helped him alot too. But please take these attempts serious. I did ever time but obviously not enough to stop what had happened. I believed he was maybe more borderline personality disorder but he could of had both. He was never sad sober. Sure he had his off days but who doesn't? Alcohol is not worth it.

January, 27 2016 at 8:34 am

Drinking is such an easy way to turn off your racing thoughts or make you feel better when you're depressed, but the next day is worse!! I am raging, suicidal and cruel to my daughter which the guilt that comes later is worse. The siren song of alcohol is intense but the aftermath is not worth it. It's hard enough to deal with the demons that come with bipolar disorder, don't make it worse by drinking. I have to tell myself this everyday and often I slip. I drank last night and I am so sorry today.

January, 17 2016 at 4:04 am

You are not completely helpless...
Of course alcohol is a depressant and mixing meds with alcohol doesn't make the situation any better, but you also said your daughter is disappointed about her life. Just guessing but, maybe it's partly a self esteem problem. When I was first diagnosed with bipolar 1 my self esteem was in the gutter a very long time, because the bioplar negatively affected my ability to function and also because of the stigma related to having a mental illness. I was never a drinker but I took to my bed 12 to 16 hours a day. I felt my life would never be the same again and it wasn't for a very long time. When a person's self esteem is low, depression is usually not far behind. Unfortunately few bipolar meds effectively address depression as antidepressants can throw someone into mania.
All this complicates bipolar depression which can be quite severe in itself. Some people feel helpless and hopeless and try to drown their problems in alcohol.
Maybe helping your daughter deal with the roots of the drinking would give her a reason to stop... Perhaps cognitive behaviour therapy would help or AA.
When all else fails perhaps you could try Alanon

January, 13 2016 at 12:31 pm

My daughter was diagnosed with bipolar 20 years ago. She has drunk alcohol from early teens. She is always changing medication but will never address her drinking and gets very defensive if anyone mentions it. She is disappointed about her life but insists alcohol has nothing to do with her poor health and always blames bipolar. This is so frustrating as I see her unpredictable moods as symptomatic of ever-changing medication and alcohol combinations and it seems like a never-ending cycle for her. I am helpless to help her.

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