Treatment for Bipolar Disorder and Addiction in San Antonio

bipolar disorder and addiction treatment in San AntonioAddiction is a common problem in the United States, affecting 46.3 million people aged 12 or older.[1]

Unfortunately, many people who struggle with substance abuse also have a mental illness. Dealing with addiction and a mental health condition at the same time is known as having a co-occurring disorder. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “approximately 9.2 million adults in the United States have a co-occurring disorder.”[2]

One of the most common mental health conditions to co-occur with addiction is bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder, causing manic highs and depressive lows, can significantly exacerbate substance abuse issues and hinder the recovery process. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and may also be experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder, it’s crucial to seek professional help.

At Alamo Behavioral Health in San Antonio, we specialize in providing comprehensive, integrated treatment for co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders like bipolar disorder.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that is characterized by experiencing periods of low mood (depression) and extreme highs (mania). According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), “Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes changes in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function.”[3]

The symptoms of bipolar disorder can be broken down into two parts: depression and mania. To understand how this condition affects people, you must be aware of the symptoms of these two emotional states.

The symptoms of a depressive episode include:

  • Feeling sad, hopeless, or irritable
  • Lacking energy
  • Difficulty concentrating or memory issues
  • Losing interest in daily activities
  • Feeling empty, worthless, or guilty
  • Being pessimistic
  • Experiencing self-doubt
  • Changes in appetite and sleep
  • Experiencing self-harm or suicidal thoughts

The symptoms of a manic episode include:

  • Feeling overly happy or elated
  • Having high energy and talking quickly
  • Feelings of self-importance
  • Having new ideas and important plans
  • Being easily distracted or agitated
  • Having delusions, hallucinations, or illogical thoughts
  • Not feeling the need to sleep
  • Impulsive behavior that causes negative consequences
  • Behaving in a risky or harmful manner

How is Bipolar Disorder Connected to Addiction?

Bipolar disorder can cause extreme highs and lows, making it difficult to function in your daily life. If you have bipolar disorder, you might look for ways to cope with your symptoms. Oftentimes, this leads to self-medication with alcohol or drugs.

Once you begin self-medicating with substances, your chances of becoming addicted increase substantially. In fact, the lifetime prevalence of substance use disorders among people with bipolar disorder is at least 40%.[4]

Additionally, people experiencing mania are prone to impulsive and risky behavior. This increases the risk of substance abuse, making it more likely for the individual to develop an addiction.

What to Expect During Treatment for Co-Occurring Bipolar Disorder and Addiction in San Antonio

If you or a loved one struggles with co-occurring bipolar disorder and addiction in San Antonio, you might be wondering how treatment works. Dual-diagnosis rehab programs combine bipolar disorder treatment with addiction treatment to help individuals recover from both conditions at the same time. Treating both conditions simultaneously ensures that one condition doesn’t cause a relapse in the other later on.

Medical Detox

The first step in recovery is medical detox. Before you can begin working on your mental health, you have to overcome withdrawal from the substance you are addicted to.

Medical detox involves the use of treatments and medications to lessen the symptoms of withdrawal, keeping you safe, comfortable, and focused on recovery throughout the entire process.

Evidence-Based Behavioral Therapy

After you have completed detox, you will begin therapy for both your addiction and bipolar disorder. Dual diagnosis treatment uses evidence-based behavioral therapies to help you manage the symptoms of your conditions.

Examples of therapies you may engage in include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Motivational interviewing (MI)
  • Contingency management (CM)
  • 12-step facilitation therapy
  • Family behavior therapy

Individual and group therapy sessions are essential components of treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) can help individuals learn effective coping strategies and manage triggers associated with addiction and mood swings.


In addition to therapy, you might require medication to manage the symptoms of your bipolar disorder. Psychiatrists and medical professionals work closely with patients to find the right balance of medications to stabilize mood swings and reduce the risk of relapse. Most people with this condition find that everyday life is easier to manage with the help of medications because bipolar disorder causes chemical imbalances in your brain that medications can stabilize.

Common medications for bipolar disorder include:

  • Lithium
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antipsychotics
  • Mood stabilizers

Aftercare Planning

Comprehensive treatment should also include aftercare planning. It’s crucial for individuals to have a support system in place post-treatment to prevent relapse and ensure long-term success. Aftercare plans often include aftercare services like continued therapy and alumni support groups.

Examples of tools and services used in an aftercare plan include:

  • Continued individual and group therapy
  • Continued medication management
  • Access to alumni support groups
  • A list of triggers and coping mechanisms to use
  • Referrals to outpatient or sober living programs
  • Recommendations on local support groups to attend
  • Case management services like vocational or legal assistance

Find Treatment for Bipolar Disorder and Addiction in San Antonio

If you or a loved one suffers from co-occurring bipolar disorder and drug or alcohol addiction, you’ve come to the right place. San Antonio offers a welcoming and supportive environment for individuals seeking help for bipolar disorder and addiction. At Alamo Behavioral Health, we can provide you with the tools and support you need to recover from both conditions simultaneously.

To learn more about our dual diagnosis treatment center in San Antonio, please contact us today.


  1. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): SAMHSA Announces National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) Results Detailing Mental Illness and Substance Use Levels in 2021, Retrieved August 2023 From
  2. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Co-Occurring Disorders and Other Health Conditions, Retrieved August 2023 From
  3. American Psychiatric Association (APA): What are Bipolar Disorders, Retrieved August 2023 From
  4. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): The prevalence and significance of substance use disorders in bipolar type I and II disorder, Retrieved August 2023 From

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