Bipolar and Succeeding in STOPPING Hard to Break Habits

Last Updated: 9 Dec 2018

Binge eating, abusing drugs, smoking—there are many behaviors to deal with bipolar disorder symptoms that can lead to bad habits. But you can learn to break them.


From the time I was a young girl, I engaged in compulsive behaviors to balance out my undiagnosed, untreated bipolar disorder. I started with comfort food, then I found endorphins through exercise and put the two together.

I found drugs to suppress my appetite, which gave me an unsurpassed sense of power! However, this took me down a catastrophic road of consequences. When I had my first manic episode at age 29, I’d actually managed to put together a year of sobriety. The psychiatrists at the hospital say this helped them because it gave them a clear clinical picture. They got the medicine right the first time and I felt better.

I didn’t want to ruin a good thing, and so, after I was stabilized, I lost the desire to self-medicate altogether…except for smoking, which took me another ten years to quit. I’d stop…then I’d start back up, then stop, then start again… Now, it’s been 12 years since my last cigarette.

Sometimes, when I get all worked up about food and weight I think…maybe I can have ‘just one,’ but I know what a slippery slope that is.

Now, I’m no addiction specialist, but I wonder, how are you doing with bipolar and hard-to-break bad habits?

There’s a replies section below, and plenty of room for you to contribute to this video. After all, this isn’t a community unless you participate!

I’m Allison Strong with bp magazine’s Vlog. Have a great day. Ciao!!!


Learn more:
Troubleshooting Trouble with Individual Therapy
Life with Bipolar—Do People Say, “You’re Too Intense?”

About the author
Allison went to Stanford University on a volleyball scholarship, played professional beach volleyball, and has acted in TV and film. In the past, she has also been an Alternative Rock Disc Jockey for “The Edge,”“The Q” (Phx,Az) and “The X,” (LA). She also was an international music critic for Melody Maker (UK), had a weekly column (“New Noise”) in the Arizona Republic and wrote for Hits Magazine. When she had her first manic episode, she went inpatient and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Undaunted, she mailed out job applications (from the hospital) and landed at a local station. She loves the raw honesty of The Smiths, Nirvana, The Cure, etc, and follows new music today. Allison lives in Hollywood, Florida and also writes for The South Florida Sun Sentinel, The Miami Herald, International Bipolar Foundation, Psych Central, and NewLifeOutlook Bipolar. Her personal blog is: Bipolar Strength: Rebel With A Cause.
  1. I found this because I was searching on Google about stopping one bad habit and starting another o a recently diagnosed bipolar person myself, I am finally on medication that is helping me, but is not a cure all!!! I would like to be more normal, and in my mind I see it happening, but I can’t seem to follow through with it. Any advice or guidance would be greatly appreciated

  2. I have been marijuana-free for 5.5 years to date, and 7 years on top of that before a relapse period in 2014.

    Celebrate Recovery, support groups, crisis lines, and reading encouraging things like these posts have been among the many things that have helped.

    Still agonize over my past choices and still struggle with cigarettes and overeating.

    Continued progress and grace to all of you out there. —Steve

  3. I really want to quit smoking any helpful tips? I have tried patches and gum but they don’t work for me.

    1. Just as a different option try “The Easy Way to Stop Smoking” the book is available on Amazon.

  4. hello I have been living with bipolar disorder type 1 since 19 years old when I got diagnosed but based off of my symptoms and signs the psychiatrist and the psychologist both agreed and thought I had it prior to 19 but just took a couple years to diagnose it. I’m 23 now and also have addiction to caffeine and shopping. Shopping is kind of easier to control now than it was prior to my diagnosis but the caffeine addiction is hard to break or quit all together I cannot seem to function daily without it in any form be it coffee or iced tea or hot tea or pop that has caffeine. I have went some days without caffeine then suffered through the withdrawal symptoms. I didn’t get on medication due to fear of the side effects of the one the lady had recommended to me. I now feel that I need medication but don’t know how to tell the people closest to me about my diagnosis that don’t know and that I need medication to function and be somewhat normal or whatever I can’t think of the proper words. I’m still learning new things about living with this condition.

  5. Hi there. Allison Strong.
    Bad habits die hard. It takes 21 days to form a habit. As for me it took 5 months to stop my drug addiction
    I have AdHd and Bipolar Type 2.
    My psychiatrist says I have a comorbid deficit illness.
    I am stabilized now through the right medication.
    Its all about getting the right medication and the timing.

Load More Comments

Leave a Reply

Please do not use your full name, as it will be displayed. Your email address will not be published.