July 16 2021
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness. It is characterized by extreme mood swings. Sudden onset of an extremely elevated mood called mania is manifested in patients with bipolar disorder. Intermittent episodes of depression are also common. Bipolar disorder is also called manic depression. The symptoms of Bipolar disorder include mania, hypomania, and depression. When a bipolar disorder patient experiences mania, they may feel emotionally high. Other feelings include excitement, impulsive behavior, euphoria, and sudden bouts of energy.
During such episodes, other behavioral changes may include spending sprees, unprotected sex, and irrational drug use. Hypomania is also one of the manifestations of bipolar II disorder. Even though hypomania may not result in any trouble at work, school, or in social relationships, noticeable changes in their mood occur. During an episode of depression, the following symptoms may be shown- deep sadness, hopelessness, loss of energy, lack of interest in activities, periods of less or excessive sleep, and suicidal thoughts.
Types of bipolar disorder
Bipolar I is defined as the appearance of at least one manic episode. Before and after the manic episode, hypomanic or a major depressive episode may occur. This may affect both men and women.
This type of bipolar disorder is characterized by one major depressive episode lasting for about two weeks. It also may show one hypomanic episode which may last for about four days. This type of bipolar disorder is more in women.
People suffering from cyclothymia have episodes of both hypomania and depression. These symptoms last for a shorter duration. They are less severe than the mania and depression that occurs in individuals with bipolar I or bipolar II disorder. People with this condition only experience symptoms a month or two at a time and their moods are stable for the rest of the time.
Causes of bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder is a common mental health disorder. Its exact causes are not yet known.
Some of the Possible causes of bipolar disorder include:
Genetics- If any family member has bipolar disorder, it increases the risk of developing the condition. But most people who have bipolar disorder in their family history do not develop it.
Your brain structure- The brain structure may also impact the risk of getting this disease. Abnormalities in the structure or functions of the brain may also increase your risk of developing bipolar disorder.
Environmental factors - Not only the body can make you more likely to develop bipolar disorder. The presence of various outside factors may also trigger the onset of bipolar disorder. Some of them are extreme stress, traumatic experiences, and physical illness. These factors individually or a combination of these factors contribute to the development of this disease.
Bipolar disorder treatment
Many treatment options are available that can help in the management of the bipolar disorder. By combining various treatment modalities such as medications, counseling, and lifestyle changes, the symptoms associated with bipolar disorder can be decreased. Some natural remedies may also help provide relief from this condition.
Medications - Recommended medications may include mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, olanzapine, antidepressant-antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, and anti-anxiety medication may be used for short-term treatment.
Anticonvulsants - Anticonvulsants are a class of mood stabilizers used to treat bipolar disorder. Anticonvulsant drugs include divalproex sodium, lamotrigine and valproic acid.
Antipsychotics - Antipsychotic drugs are another treatment option. Some commonly prescribed antipsychotics include olanzapine, risperidone, quetiapine, lurasidone, aripiprazole and asenapine.
Antidepressants - These include serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as desvenlafaxine, duloxetine, and venlafaxine; serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine, and sertraline. Tricyclics include amitriptyline desipramine, imipramine and nortriptyline.
Recommended psychotherapy treatments include
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is talk therapy. By understanding thinking patterns, positive coping strategies can be developed which help in providing relief in bipolar disorder patients.
Psychoeducation is a kind of counseling that helps in understanding the disorder. Knowing more about the bipolar disorder will be helpful in managing it better.
Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) focuses on regulating daily habits. These are sleeping, eating, and exercising. Balancing these everyday routine tasks help in managing this disorder. Other treatment options may include electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), sleep medications, supplements, acupuncture and Lifestyle changes.
Natural remedies for bipolar disorder
- Fish oil
Fish oil and fish are common sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Consumption of fatty acid-rich fish oil helps in regulating the chemicals in the brain that are associated with mood disorders. People suffering from depression are found to have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood. The functions of Omega-3 fatty acids include reducing irritability and aggression, maintaining the stability of the mood, reducing symptoms associated with depression. Omega 3 fatty acids might help with moving neurotransmitters in and out of the brain which may help in stabilizing mood. Eating more fish that are heavy in omega-3s such as salmon, mackerel and sardines are beneficial for patients with bipolar disorder. Intake of fish oil supplements such as Alvizia fish oil supplements helps in improving brain health.
- Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola Rosea is also known as arctic root or golden root. Studies show that it may help in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Rhodiola Rosea is a mild stimulant and leads to insomnia.
Studies show that the inclusion of S-adenosylmethionine, which is an amino acid, in the treatment regimen of those suffering from bipolar disorder may be beneficial for decreasing depression.
N- acetylcysteine is an antioxidant that helps in reducing oxidative stress in the body. Studies show that in people suffering from bipolar disorder, the addition of N-acetylcysteine to traditional medication for bipolar disorder led to significant improvement in various symptoms such as depression and mania. It also improves the quality of life.
Choline is a water-soluble vitamin. It may be effective in reducing the symptoms of mania in people with bipolar disorder. Research shows that people with bipolar disorder who received choline supplements showed significant improvement in the manic symptoms.
Inositol is a synthetic vitamin. It is found to help with depression. Symptomatic Improvement was found in people with bipolar disorder who were experiencing a major depressive episode that was resistant to a combination of mood stabilizers and one or more antidepressants when they were given inositol.
- St. John’s wort
Studies show that the use of St. John’s wort for depression is beneficial in reducing the symptoms in people with bipolar disorder. St. John’s wort is one of the better-known natural mood enhancers.