Introduction to Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is also called manic-depressive disorder. It is so called because of its phasic nature where the person affected is thrown into a state of depression this moment and then becomes unusually high the next moment, more like a mood swing. It has been found from different documented resources that relief from symptoms abound when alternatives were incorporated into its treatment. Although science has some valid proofs of the acclaimed benefits, their effectiveness needs further investigation.
We, therefore, will be looking at these alternative treatments in this article. This does not render the traditional mode of treatment, invalid. In fact, reliable sources have found that patients who combine these two modes of treatment recorded the utmost results. Consulting a doctor should you want to go for the alternative treatments is important as you will be properly guided. Plus, the doctors will educate you on what supplements and therapies you should not use when undergoing this mode of treatment.
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Alternative treatments for bipolar disorder
- Lifestyle changes
Certain adjustment in the way of life of a bipolar disorder patient can alleviate its symptoms. Key changes that can positively benefit such persons are healthy feeding, frequent exercises, adequate rest and sleep. They can help in mood stabilizing and reduction of irritability. To promote adequate sleep, it is good to learn to always create a serene atmosphere in your bedroom. Reducing your intake of trans and saturated fats is also a wise choice. Spice your meals more with fish and omega-3 fatty acids as they will help in promoting chemical balance in the brain.
- Consuming more fish and its oils
People with the depressive-manic illness have lower levels of an acid called omega-3 fatty acid in their brain. This fatty acid is of three types and two (Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)) out of these are readily found in fish and its oil. They help in maintaining brain signaling functions and excitability. Since bipolar patients have low concentrations of these acids, consuming more of it will help raise their levels in the brain and hence reduce some of the symptoms associated with this disorder. These acids have lots of health benefit not just to a bipolar disorder patient, but indeed to everyone.
The following benefits have been associated with the use of fish and/or fish oil; reduction in aggressive behaviors and irritability, stabilization of mood, reduction in depressive symptoms; enhancement of brain functions.
It is important to note that the use of this alternative treatment does not come without side effects. Some side effects to expect are belching, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, stomach, pain, and heartburn.
- St. John’s Wort
John’s Wort is an herbal plant of the species Hypericaceaa. Little evidence exists in the use of this form of treatment. This is because John’s Wort has varieties. It is therefore difficult to ascertain which of them was used to get the results but their importance in this regard cannot be denied.
- Rhodiola Rosea (R. rosea)
It is an arctic root that has mild stimulant effects. It has been found to be useful in managing mild to moderate depressive-manic illness. It comes with insomnia, nausea and vivid dreaming as side effects. It interacts with estrogen receptors and hence might negatively affect women suffering from breast cancer.
It is a naturally occurring amino acid in the body but can be produced in the laboratory. It has equally been useful in treating this disorder.
Of course, the use of S-adenosylmethionine does bring its side effects, too. What I do not like about it is the fact that it can induce more episodes of manic. You can imagine that! The more reason you should not embark on an alternative treatment without seeing your doctor for medical advice.
- Calming techniques
This technique is not in itself a cure. It is rather helpful in calming the symptoms. It aims at reducing stress. These techniques are acupuncture, massage, meditation, and yoga.
It was found by studies that when 2g/day of N-acetylcysteine was mutually used with the traditional treatment, a huge improvement was seen in the patients. Their life quality was also positively affected. This might be attributed to its anti-oxidative property. Antioxidants are way important in reducing oxidative stress including that comes from depressive-manic patients.
- Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT)
It is a kind of psychotherapy that is used to help patients develop a good sleeping habit, reduce depressive-manic episodes and manage activities that might interrupt the patient’s routine.
It is especially useful for patients with rapid cycling variant of bipolar disorder. When certain patients were treated with water-soluble choline (2000mg – 7200mg) and lithium every day, manic symptoms were found to be improved.
This is especially beneficial in patients who are resistant to mood stabilizers when combined with an antidepressant (s). Adding this synthetic vitamin to the therapy can help such patients bounce back from their depressive and manic episodes.