Bipolar & Health: 6 Tricks to Overcoming Addiction


Substance addiction such as nicotine may be common with bipolar disorder, so here are some simple strategies to improve your likelihood of success:

#1 Make the commitment

There’s an enormous difference between wanting and thinking about quitting smoking and making the decision to quit. Things open up when you make that real commitment. One way to make it official is to decide on a fixed date for quitting, and put it in your calendar, on your bathroom mirror, or on your fridge. You will know what you’re working toward.

#2 Distraction is key

When the urge to light up hits, keep your hands busy. Have a plan of distraction-type activities and even write them into a calendar. There are always things to be done, so why not distract yourself, for example, by cleaning your closets or the garage or rearranging cupboards? Many people find it helpful to do something related to water, e.g. washing dishes, cleaning the bathtub, or taking a long bath, because they won’t be able to reach for a cigarette with their wet hands.

#3 Drink plenty of water

Speaking of water, when you drink water it flushes out the toxins that are being removed by your kidneys and liver. With your blood well diluted, you’ll have improved circulation and oxygenation, and your body will be able to remove the poisonous tobacco toxins. Even if you’re already drinking your fair amount of water each day, experts recommend increasing your daily amount of H2O while you are cleansing your body from nicotine.

#4 Get help

Seeking help can come in many forms. Speaking to your health care provider is crucial to creating a cessation plan, but some additional options for support include: teaming up with someonesuch as a partner who is quitting as well, someone who has already quit, or anyone willing to be your accountability partner who you can contact when you’re in need of some encouragement to stay the course. You may also find spiritual help beneficial, and this may offer additional strength and confidence-building during this difficult struggle.

#5 Change your habits

An addiction to smoking consists of both the chemical dependence on nicotine, and to the ritual and behavior patterns e.g. lighting up when on the telephone, while driving, or while having a drink. Experts recommend that you substitute these ritual behaviors with something different even prior to quittinginstead of drinking caffeine or alcohol, which may spark a nicotine craving, switch to juice or water. It’s also essential to get rid of paraphernalia related to smoking, such as ashtrays, lighters, pipes and anything else that will be a reminder of your “former” smoking habit.

#6 De-stress and visualize

Exercise, take a hot bath, or read a book. In addition to taking in adequate amounts of water, and getting enough sleep, mindful meditation can be extremely beneficial. Inhale and picture your lungs filling with clean air. This will not only relax you, but also remind you of why you’re quitting. Former smokers recommend visualizing yourself as a non-smoker during meditation, and feeling all the details and emotions of pride, health and accomplishment related to beating the habit.




  1. Here’s what I know about addictions-I will suffer when I go into withdrawal. It’s inevitable.
    But I have to think about the fact that the suffering will not be lasting and in my future is a me
    that’s clean from the addicting substance. So I hang in there suffering with the realization that
    suffering won’t kill me and it will eventually cease.

  2. Hi, I’m just wondering if you could please explain the correct prosses one should take trying to deal with these and other disorders, and if how important is it to have and how to get documentation of any disorders you have. Thank you

    1. You can contact the offices of the treating physicians and ask for release forms for your records and send the releases to each physician asking for those records for yourself. You could also ask your physicians for signed documents/letters (To Whom it may Concern) spelling out your disorders.
      As for dealing with your own disorders the best thing you can do for yourself is to find a good therapist (I like licensed clinical social workers best) and to choose and work with a psychiatrist to find the best meds that work well for you, be sure to be patient while finding those meds and take those meds religiously. Remember when you feel well that it is the meds working and not to go off them because you “feel fine”.
      I’m sorry the article didn’t mention twelve-step groups. They can provide help and support with people who share the same addictions as you. There are groups for drugs, smoking, AA of course, and for those who grew up in a family where some member is dysfunctional. One of those provided a lot of information and support for me and it made me grow up a lot even though I wasn’t correctly diagnosed at the time.

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