Many people with bipolar disorder are also frequent or heavy users of alcohol and nonprescription drugs. This in part has led to a belief that substance abuse -- offering its own often unpredictable highs and lows -- can cause you to snap and become bipolar.
While there is increased use of alcohol and drugs for people with bipolar disorder, it's not a contributing factor. A healthy person without bipolar disorder can't "crack" through alcohol or drug use and develop it.
People with bipolar disorder are more prone to engaging in risky, dangerous behaviors, and many also attempt to self-medicate in hopes of decreasing mood swings, getting sleep and dealing with anxiety. Though many people find short-term success or results, over the long haul these behaviors take their toll.