Exploring the interrelationship between bipolar illness and polysubstance use

April 3, 2017

The 4th Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference is here again and this year will be held at Mantra on View Hotel, Gold Coast on 15th – 17th May.

Keynotes for 2017 Include:

  • Associate Professor Petra Staiger, School of Psychology, Deakin University
  • Professor Olaf Drummer, Deputy Director Academic Programs, Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine
  • Professor Michael Farrell, Director, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre
  • Dr Andrew Campbell, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney
  • Professor Murat Yucel, Head of Addiction Program of Research, Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences (MICCN), Monash University
  • Talitha Cummins, Journalist, Newsreader, Speaker & Advocate for change
  • Ms Sally McCarthy, Clinical Director, Emergency Care Institute NSW

Dr Christine Palmer, Lecturer at QUT joins us in May at the conference to discuss ‘Exploring the interrelationship between bipolar illness and polysubstance use’.

Like many people diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder, Nick’s life has been troubled by periods of great turmoil, made more turbulent by illicit substance use and the erratic behaviour they inevitably cause. This resulted in Nick recently experiencing almost two years in jail, causing enormous distress to both Nick and his family.

Now experiencing a period of calm, Nick has been able to reflect on the things that have made a difference to the containment of his illness and therefore, to his life and to the achievement of considerable progress on his journey of recovery. Although he would not have accepted the importance of medications in the past, Nick now identifies medications as important to his current mental wellbeing. Continuity of care coordination with regular contact and a meaningful therapeutic relationship has also been crucial. Learning how to use CBT in his daily life has helped Nick to feel more confident in relating socially, minimising his experience of social isolation.

However, substances remain a part of his life despite the many risks associated with their use, not the least being the risk associated with buying a drug that is illegal in this country. Nick’s story (co-presented by Nick himself), provides a personal account of what has been and what remains important for him in his recovery and therefore, what might be important to the practice of mental health professionals.

For more information on the upcoming 2017 Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference and to secure your spot, please visit addictionaustralia.org.au.


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