Like so many bipolars, Britney has attempted to “self-medicate” her mood swings with drugs and alcohol, which can both initiate and exacerbate the problem. It’s hard to know what is chicken and what is egg here. Our brain chemistry is fragile: if we don’t take care to maintain decent nutrition, get adequate rest, monitor our stress levels and avoid substance abuse, we risk developing a problem like bipolar disorder. We are predisposed by our genetics and our mental and physical health habits. It’s been my experience working with thousands of people that most people who abuse drugs and alcohol are often unknowingly dealing with low level depression and try to “fix” their mood with substances. Next thing they know, they have a whole new problem on top of the depression: an addiction.
Britney appears to be suffering from a sub-category of bipolar disorder called “mixed state.” It’s just what it sounds like: you experience symptoms of both mania and depression simultaneously, such as being agitated while depressed or crying while manic. I suspect she’s also a “rapid cycler,” which means she can be very up and then very down, all in the same day. It’s really difficult to deal with and is a major cause of attempted suicide.
My heart really goes out to Britney and her family in this difficult time; I know how difficult it is when you feel ebullient one moment and despairing the next. I encourage her to put herself in the hands of her medical team. I want her to know that she doesn’t need to feel this way and that, with proper treatment, she can quickly recover and come back to herself.