Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Kathryn Barrs

Second Advisor

Jennifer Erickson Cornish

Third Advisor

Courtney Klein


Bipolar disorder, Substance use, Mood management, Recovery


Bipolar Disorder is an affective disorder characterized by moderate to extreme lability in emotional states where individuals experience symptoms of mania, hypomania, mixed mood and/or depression. Individuals may be diagnosed with bipolar I disorder, which is hallmarked by extreme mood lability between mood states of mania and depression. Alternatively, bipolar II disorder is distinguished by fluctuating hypomanic and depressive episodes (DSM-V, 2014). Cyclothymia is defined by shifting mood states that are less severe than bipolar I or II. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI, 2017), 2.8% of adults in the United States are diagnosed with a type of bipolar disorder, which equals nearly seven million individuals. Additionally, NAMI (2021) estimates that in 2020, 6.7% of adults, or 17 million people, in the United States have concurrent substance use and mental illness diagnoses.

Individuals who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder often attempt to stabilize their emotional states by self-medicating with substances (Canham et al., 2018). In most cases, clients with dual diagnoses struggle to recover from their mental health symptoms and substance use histories. As such, the aim of this paper is to add a therapeutic tool to the literature that assists in the management of both mood and substance use concurrently. This paper details a method in which clinicians aid their clients through a collaborative approach to holistic recovery by increasing insight and positive coping, decreasing substance use, and improving mood stability. The Positive Coping Recovery Narrative tool utilizes a numerical scale to track various mood states. Additionally, it includes columns that record symptoms of each mood state, various substances typically used in each state, and necessary supports, coping skills, and self-care to promote rehabilitation. This tool is helpful for mood management for individuals with serious mental illnesses and substance use histories.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


35 pgs