2. Drug abuse
Even though the reasons for abusing drugs are many and don’t necessarily have to do with bipolar disorder, more than half of patients diagnosed with bipolar disorders abuse drugs – which includes alcohol -, so if you know someone who takes illegal drugs or drinks too much, there is a chance there could be an underlying psychiatric condition.
Drug abuse makes it more difficult to diagnose bipolar disorder because of the effects of many drugs mimic those of bipolar episodes. For example, taking cocaine or amphetamines may make people behave as if they were having a manic episode, psychotic symptoms, and all, while withdrawal is almost indistinguishable from a depressive episode.
Moreover, many patients, especially those untreated or poorly treated, use substances in an attempt to cope with the symptoms of their disorder; and when they are in their manic state, they are likely to recklessly take drugs and binge drink.