Guest Post: Bipolar Disorder With Anxiety – A Lethal Combination

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Anxiety disorder often co-occurs with various types of mental health conditions like bipolar disorder, and when that happens it’s a complete disaster. It’s a major bad news. Likewise, sometimes individuals with bipolar disorder experience social anxiety. That is also a lethal combination. Let’s find out how.

Bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder – What is the connection?

People with bipolar disorder often have a common mental health condition – anxiety. Many psychiatrists specializing in bipolar disorder say that patients suffering from bipolar disorder experience minimum one anxiety attack in their life. Both disorders can be treated with medicines and different types of psychotherapies. But there are a few long-term effects that can be difficult to deal with.

Studies reveal that 20% of people suffering from bipolar disorder get panic attacks. This figure is quite alarming since only 1% of people without having any mood disorder experience anxiety attack. Studies have also revealed that 80% of individuals with social anxiety disorder have minimum one other mental disorder during their lifetime.

Let’s have a look at the dangers of having both anxiety disorder and bipolar disorder at the same time.

1 A recent research on patients with both bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder revealed a startling fact to the world. According to the research, these patients are more likely to show suicidal behavior.

2 It is difficult to treat patients having both bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder. These patients give the worst treatment response.

3 People having both mental disorders are more likely to become alcoholic and drug addict. These factors make the symptoms worse.

When people have both the mood disorders, it disrupts their daily life functioning. They spend a poor quality of life.

3 Reasons why bipolar co-occur with anxiety disorder

There is a special relationship between both the disorders. But it isn’t clear if both of them have same causes or one leads to the other. Let’s have a look at the result of a research.

1 Genetic: It has been observed that some families consist of people having both the mood disorders.

2 Substance abuse: Patients with bipolar disorder may get depended on drugs or alcohol to control some of their symptoms. Substance abuse can make anxiety disorder worse.

3 Trauma: A psychiatrist specializing in bipolar disorder said that traumatic events caused by mania early in life can lead to social anxiety disorder.

How to know if your loved one has both the disorders

It can be tough to deal with people having both bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder. It’s a lethal combination. First, these patients have to cope with massive mood shifts. They are sometimes sad, sometimes happy, sometimes restless, and sometimes irritated. They experience manic episodes. Secondly, if bipolar patients have anxiety disorder too, then it becomes even more problematic for the family members to live with them. Patients with both the mood disorders make a simple situation complex. They often refuse to attend parties or social events due to the fear of being criticized.

Here are a few signs that can indicate if your loved one has both the mood disorders.

• Mania along with depression.

• Anxiety attacks along with getting tensed over trivial matters

• The tendency to avoid social events

• Sleep disorders even when patients are not having manic episodes

• Poor response to the medical treatments for bipolar disorder

What to do if your loved one has both the disorders

What should you do if you find these 5 signs in your loved one? Initially, you’ll feel bad. Obviously. However, you have to take the patient to an adult psychiatrist or a psychiatrist specialising in bipolar disorder. Both disorders need equal medical attention. A psychiatrist knows how to combine medicines with psychotherapy for the best results. An adult psychiatrist knows about the good mood-stabilizing medicines and antidepressants. Sometimes, these medicines are required to reduce the frequency of manic episodes or stop them completely.

Psychotherapy is also important. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and effective lifestyle changes can bring positive changes in a patient. Regular exercise, staying away from alcohol, avoiding stressful situations and getting proper sleep can help a patient to recover gradually.


Panic disorder shares a special relationship with bipolar disorder. A study on patients with panic disorder revealed that it rarely travels without anxiety. On the other hand, most patients with bipolar disorder suffer from social phobia. This is a major contributor to dysfunction in patients with bipolar disorder.

Correct diagnosis of anxiety disorder and bipolar disorder is necessary. The cost of medical treatment often becomes high because of misdiagnosis. If a patient is only treated for bipolar disorder, then that is wrong because he/she doesn’t have only one disorder. The patient has dual disorders. Both the disorders need equal medical attention. If you know somebody who has both the mood disorders, then consult the best adult psychiatrist in your area.

Note: This is a guest post written by Ralph Macey, who has years of experience working in a psychiatric facility, and has begun sharing his knowledge through writing articles on different mental health subjects.


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