A Functional Medicine Approach To Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a group of three distinct types of mood disorders characterized by abnormal, uncontrolled changes in mood, activity, concentration, and energy levels that impact a personâs ability to live, work, care for themselves, and more. The symptoms of bipolar disorder can be mild, moderate, or severe. Bipolar disorder will affect up to 4.4% of adults in their lifetimes. There is an abundance of research about what works to help manage symptoms and slow the progression of bipolar disorder, from pharmaceuticals to the foods we eat, exercises we choose, and the ways we sleep. This article will review a Functional Medicine Approach to Bipolar Disorder, including nutrition, lifestyle interventions, pharmaceuticals, physical medicine, and more.
A Holistic Approach To Bipolar
Bipolar disorder causes shifts in energy levels, mood swings, anxiety, and sleep problems which can be a roller coaster for the diagnosed person, as well as their loved ones. Since symptoms can affect every aspect of ones life, and make things feel out of control, finding the best treatment plan is usually equally challenging. Medications alone can help you manage some of the symptoms, but they can also cause adverse side effects. At Magnified Health Systems we offer solutions to managing and treating bipolar clients with less invasive options and more holistic remedies including psychological counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and advocacy and support in making lifestyle changes.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, we want to help you manage symptoms through holistic treatment plans. Our team members are skilled and ready to work to help you take back control.
What Is The Cause Of Bipolar Illness And Who Is Affected
Bipolar illness is considered an inherited condition related to instability in brain neurotransmitters regulation, which leads to greater vulnerability to emotional or physical stress, over-stimulation, upsetting life experiences, drug or alcohol use, and interference with rest and sleep. The brain is not able to properly calm or activate itself, or restore its usual healthy balance.
Research studies strongly support inherited genetic factors as important contributors to BPI. First-degree relatives of people with BPI are seven times more likely to develop bipolar I type of BPI. Environmental factors are also suspected to affect bipolar illness physical factors , chemical factors and biologic influences .
Lifetime prevalence estimates are 1% for bipolar I disorder BP 1 type of BPI, 1.1% for bipolar II disorder , and 2.4% to 4.7% for sub-threshold BPI . Age of onset range from childhood to the mid-20s and later, and BPI onset is unusual after age 40. Recurrence of active BPI over a five year period is very common with the associate in between times of no symptoms, minor symptoms, or with significant residual symptoms.
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Limitations Of Existing Therapies
The preceding summary of evidenceâbased guidelines and metaâanalyses emphasize that effective treatments for bipolar disorder are available. However, their effectiveness is modest, and all the drugs have significant side effects and potential harms.
Given the compelling need, why have there been no new drug treatments for bipolar disorder since the introduction of lithium salts over 60 years ago? There are many reasons for this dearth of innovation. Most importantly, we do not have a good enough understanding of the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder, and therefore of rational drug targets for its treatment. The mechanisms of action of drugs currently used for bipolar disorder are unclear and remain under active investigation. It is a paradox that lithium has one of the most specific therapeutic actions in psychiatry, yet has multiple different pharmacological and cellular effects.58 Prominent hypotheses focus on lithium’s inhibition of inositol monophosphatase and glycogen synthase kinase 3, and its effects on calcium signaling, mitochondrial function, and, more recently, neuroplasticity, neurogenesis, and G proteinâactivated potassium channels.58, 59, 60 The finding that two noncoding RNAs show genomeâwide association with lithium response may reveal additional targets and novel insight.61
Mood Charting & Criteria
Depending on how long the patient has experienced bipolar disorder symptoms, mood and anxiety disorders can be challenging to diagnose. If professionals cannot come up with a conclusive diagnosis upon meeting the patient, they might suggest mood charting. Mood charting allows psychiatrists to understand the severity of their patients mood swings and changing patterns.
After reviewing your mood chart, your psychiatrist will compare your symptoms against the official bipolar disorder criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders .
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Identify The Root Cause Of Your Symptoms And Address Them Directly
Dr. Cains, ND MA natural remedy for bipolar disorder depends on identifying what is out of balance in the body. Once we treat the root cause of the symptoms they will fade away. Here is the typical battery of tests I order for my new clients presenting with depression and/or bipolar disorder:
Total Antioxidant Capacity / Micronutrient Testing
Total antioxidant capacity is determined by the number of nutrients like omega 3’s, vitamin C, vitamin E, CoQ10, zinc, lycopene, selenium, polyphenols, glutathione, and more in the blood. A standard CBC and CMP that your doctor runs every year at your check-up can also detect nutrient deficiencies. A trained practitioner can also help you evaluate your diet to see if your typical eating pattern has nutrient gaps that may impact the progression rate of your or your loved one’s bipolar disorder symptoms.
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Ayurvedic Medicine In Mood Disorders
Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient healing system used in India, which is now practiced worldwide.161 Ayurveda denotes longevity. The theory of Ayurveda is based on balancing the individuals three constitutional doshas, ie, vata, pitta, and kappa, which arise from five elements of ancient philosophy, being fire, water, air, earth, and space.162163 It is believed that health or sickness depends on the presence or absence of a balanced state. Both intrinsic and extrinsic factors, such as an indiscriminate diet, undesirable habits, not observing the rules of healthy living, seasonal abnormalities, lack of exercise, and misuse of body and mind can result in lack of balance in the body.164 Ayurvedic medicine includes several treatment options, which balance three disturbed doshas . Diagnosis is based on a comprehensive history, detailed physical examination, measurement of vital signs including pulse, and relevant laboratory tests.30 Ashwagandha, along with combinations of herbs, such as Amrit kalash and mentat, and antidepressants can be used in depressed patients.30,165168
The Benefits Of Holistic Therapy In Treating Bipolar Disorder
There are many benefits of using holistic therapy in treating bipolar disorder. Those with bipolar 1 have historically found the medication Lamotrigine highly effective. This is not the case with all who struggle with the disorder. That being said, over time, those develop tolerance to Lamictal and the dosage is generally considered to have a maximum. Those who max out on the dosage stop receiving the benefits of this medication.
Many who struggle with bipolar or related mood spectrum disorders do not find conventional prescription medications to be highly effective and often find the side effects to be problematic. This is why holistic therapeutic options can play an important role in mitigating the symptoms of bipolar disorder.
In general, holistic treatments make a point of keeping in mind the whole body. Practitioners of holistic methods focus on the physical symptoms as well as psychological and emotional factors in order to provide a more effective overall treatment.
Certain over-the-counter supplements are considered helpful for treating the symptoms of bipolar disorders. These include:
- St. Johns Wort
Its important to keep in mind that supplements can interact with prescription medication, alcohol, and other dietary factors. Consult a medical doctor before deciding to integrate the use of supplements into your medication routine.
Calming techniques have shown promise for easing symptoms of bipolar. These include:
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Finding The Right Bipolar Treatment For You
Although holistic treatments have been found to be a successful supplement to treatment, they are not a total substitute for medical care. As mentioned above, the best approach is a combination of conventional therapies like medication and counseling and holistic treatments. You can find out more about these forms of treatment by calling our toll-free helpline at . Our caring admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions.
Complementary Bipolar Treatments: A Few Words Of Caution
“The reality is that there is not a lot of data on complementary therapies for bipolar disorder,” Muskin says. “That doesn’t mean these products shouldn’t be used, but when patients try to find out about them, they shouldn’t expect to be able to go to like The New England Journal of Medicine and download a lot of articles.”
Muskin recommends ConsumerLab as a reputable site where people can go to research complementary therapies. “You can find out whether or not the product you’re buying really contains the product you think it does, as well as what it’s indicated for and whether it has contaminants,” he says. The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements also provides an extensive online database of dietary supplements that includes detailed product and manufacturer information.
Most of these therapies are safe, and there is limited evidence of negative interactions with prescription medications. Regardless, patients and their family members should actively research these products and discuss options with a psychiatrist before taking them, especially because complementary therapies do not undergo the same strict review process as pharmaceutical medications.
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The Holistic Approach To Treating Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition that is characterised by extreme mood swings. Around 2.5% of the population suffers from bipolar disorder. It affects men and women equally and is even found among children and teens.
The treatment program and rehab for bipolar disorder at Cadabams includes personalised and proven treatment procedures in elite foundation driven and worked by a multidisciplinary group of mental health specialists and profoundly qualified therapists who have a progressive effect on people, families, and society. A 24/7 facility, Cadabams approach to rehabilitation in a holistic manner brings about a new way of achieving recovery and positive outcomes. Contact us today at +91 97414 76476.
The recurring swings between extreme happiness and depression are exhausting for the bipolar person. It drains their energy and affects their relationships and career.
A bipolar person has the tendency to make very impulsive decisions during mood swings that can impact their lives in the long term. Bipolar disorder can result in extreme mood swings episodes that are out of the control of the person, their friends, colleagues and loved ones.
Bipolar disorder can be caused due to many nautral and situational reasons like presence of the disorder in the family, or high level of stress or high dependence on substance etc.
Bipolar Depression Natural Treatments: Help And Harm
Treating bipolar depression naturally can bring noticeable, positive changes. The behavioral approaches work very well . Natural supplements, when combined with the medication your doctor has prescribed, can improve symptoms by enhancing your medications functions and making bipolar depression easier to manage.
Further, many supplements help treat symptoms with few side-effects. This can make people willing to use them regularly, a requirement for supplements to work properly.
Along with the benefits of natural treatments for bipolar depression come cautions against possible harm. Among these important cautions:
- Natural isnt the same thing as safe
- Individual differences are significant, and what has been deemed safe for most people might not be safe for you
- Some supplements reduce the effectiveness of prescription medications
- Some damage the heart, liver, kidneys, and other vital organs
- While some supplements have few side-effects, others have unpleasant and potentially dangerous side-effects
Much more research is needed for natural treatments to help bipolar depression. Until scientists learn more, always talk to your doctor before using any natural supplement. Also, be sure to notify your doctor of any changes in your mood or general health.
Two useful resources can help you research supplements you may be interested in. Both are comprehensive databases containing facts about supplements and prescription medications.
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Finding A Better Model For Helping Bpi
A broader open health-care model offers the potential for improved research, diagnosis and treatment of BPI. All disciplines can be included in an integrative model including biochemistry, nutrition, psycho-pharmacology, psychiatry, genetics, spirituality, psychology, sociology, physiology, endocrinology, environmental medicine and complementary mind/body/spiritual therapies. Effective outcomes can happen with patience, and the commitment to finding a suitable care and treatment program.
Early recognition, comprehensive assessment and an integrative approach to treatment including natural therapies can help bipolar sufferers improve their chances of stabilization, improvement in relationships, and productivity and work. As proper assessment and diagnosis can be of critical importance, seeking out skilled and experienced health-care practitioners is important such as a psychologist, a psychiatrist, and/or a holistically oriented health-care provider who is trained in mental health work. People with bipolar illness are sometimes misdiagnosed as having just depression or other conditions and treated as such often resulting in a poor treatment outcome. These individuals would have responded better to a broader holistic and integrative type of treatment program that had benefited Bens recovery as described above.
Complementary And Alternative Medicine
Increasing attention is being paid worldwide to more traditional medical systems, including Ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, Unani medicine, Siddha, and homeopathy.30 Use of CAM therapies in various illnesses is on the rise.31 Perron et al found that barriers to conventional treatment have contributed to the increased use of CAM in mentally ill patients.31 Another study found that use of CAM was unaffected by the perceived effectiveness of conventional treatment or compliance with medication among persons with bipolar disorder.32 There are now more than 120 CAM treatments available , all of which involve body, mind, and spiritual concepts. This classification of various therapies, and designated by mind, body, or spirit, is perceived as strict compartmentalization, but many of the therapies mentioned have double or triple designations in terms of our theoretical understanding of diagnosis, treatment, and causal mechanisms. Another reason for increasing use of CAM is the positive findings of studies in patients with major depression.33 Many clinical trials of CAM are presently under way worldwide, and are expected to yield positive results in patients with major depression and other mood disorders.
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Holistic Approach: The Neurodiversity Model
When I was a younger man in my early 20s I went through a profound struggle that involved deep emotional lows and periods of excitement, strong energy bursts, confused thinking and restless agitation. Its very likely that if I had gone to psychiatrists they would have diagnosed me with bipolar. Its a label that can be life changing. For some it is a validation of ones experience as having strong changes in mood, cognition and behavior and can be seen as an underlying explanation of ones problems in life. But for others it can feel like an oppressive label that separates one from the rest of society as one who has a lifelong illness.
Emily Carr: Scorned as Timber
Though many see bipolar as a disorder and a disability, there are increasingly groups of people who view themselves as neurodivergent and see their experience as unique, important, and as a type of gift. The experience of bipolar does not just include swinging from highs to lows but often the tendency to feel life more strongly and to be more perceptive and sensitive to the people and world around them. This can lead to profound insights and dramatic shifts in awareness. This heightened sensitivity can lead to overreactions, crushing sadness or elated joy. This is the world of the edge walker, the empath and intuitive type who can be overwhelmed by sensory experience.
Vitamins In Mood Disorders
In summary, clinical trials of vitamin B and folate have yielded equivocal results in patients with major depression. Although methylfolate and vitamin B have favorable safety profiles, allergic reactions may occur using these substances. Folate and vitamin B reduce homocysteine levels, so may be cardioprotective. However, combination of these vitamins may cause restenosis of stents in men by stimulating endothelial proliferation, although this effect has not been seen in women.109
Other nutrients commonly used in CAM include omega-3 fatty acids, choline, 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan, inositol, and N-acetylcysteine. These substances are important in functioning of the neural networks involved in mood regulation.
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Every Individual Is Unique In Their Treatment Needs
Any individual who has difficulties with mood changes is unique regarding their treatment needs. BPI can be influenced by factors as:
- a person background
Other complementary practices or therapies would be:
- relaxation training, yoga
- religious, meditation and spiritual practices
- regular exercise and sleep
- use of fish oil, rich in EPA and DHA has been shown to complement other treatments of BPI.
There is a body of work suggesting that nutrition and certain dietary programs can help in treatment of mood disorder, as a diet:
Specially designed light boxes, if carefully used under the guidance of an experienced health-care provider, are sometimes useful . Assessment and correction for any nutritional, metabolic, hormonal , allergic or environmental problems need to be considered.