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02/06/2011 06:51 AM

Is there any alternative way to balance bipolar

SayItsPossible
SayItsPossible  
Posts: 14
Member

Can I take any vitamines/herbs to treat bipolar disorder?
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02/06/2011 08:08 AM
ZadieBlue
ZadieBluePosts: 4547
VIP Member

Hi!

Harvard research has shown that large quantities of fish oil can reduce mood lability. You have to be careful with this though, because often salmon is used to make this oil, and as it is a rather large fish it contains a fair amount of mercury. So when shopping for fish oil, you want to find one that is made from small fish (like krill) or, more practically, one that can been purified. Note though, the results from the study became big news, and Harvard was awarded major kudos -- I take the supplement but I'm personally skeptical as to its real effectiveness.

There are various websites telling you about all the vitamin deficiencies you may have that could be causing your mental illness . . . and then they try to sell you their over-priced pills. Be careful, as you could make your situation worse rather than better! Be extremely careful and / or avoidant of any compound listed on an energy drink for example, like Taurine -- occasionally good, but too often bad for you.

If you have the resources, see if your doctor can give you a full work-up re: vitamin deficiencies. You may have to go to an endocrinologist to do some of this -- I did, and it turned out I had a vitamin D deficiency (in the middle of the summer!) because I'd been hiding out in my apartment depressed, away from the sun. A vitamin D deficiency, for example, can cause a long list of medical / mental issues. Phony pill vending sites aside, there are a lot of vitamin deficiencies that can make you far more susceptable to mood fluctuation.

Get your thyroid checked! This was a problem for me as well. Now that the condition is being medicated / regulated, I am much stronger!

Learn about your allergies. Some people (such as myself) are set off by exposure to high levels of certain allergins. Twice a year Spring and Fall I really have to get it together, as this is when outdoor mold is at its worse -- 90% of my episodes have happened during these times.

Avoid stress. Obviously. There are various "stress scales" on the Internet that can actually calculate your stress level due to changes in your life, relationship stress, deaths, births, etc. Sometimes it's good to quiz yourself every so often. I'm told that stress is one of the biggest predictors of bipolar episodes.

Exercise: One of the best natural remedies there is! At least 30 minutes a day. Endorphins and the release of toxins does a body good, plus -- I don't think we consider this enough -- taking a shower afterwards, cleaning and caring for our body, giving ourself the health check, using wonderful body products (try Lush.com -- to die for!) -- all of this, especially when in a routine, does the mind great good.

As I said, try to develop a routine. I'm terrible at this since I'm currently unemployed, but I'm working on it! I was a great student because I had an imposed routine (and a purpose).

I wish I could recommend light therapy -- undoubtably there are some members here who use it and benefit greatly. But from the evidence I've studied, light therapy can actually trigger mood lability.

I wish I could tell you to drink tea -- I mean, tea is great! Especially uncaffeinated! But if you drink too much of it in a day, you will become dehydrated, and you know how mentally crappy this can make you feel mentally! Always keep yourself well hydrated.

Carbs are not the enemy. Okay, so you might carry a few extra pounds, but carbohydrates lead to seretonin production. If you're feeling blue, a bagel might pick you up. I wouldn't eat or drink anything to excess, just to be sure, if you can help it!

Physical touch -- the human body has a strong, positive reaction to it regardless if it comes from sex or a hug or your dog, etc. If you have the means, getting a good massage (by someone you trust!) can be a great way to keep yourself strong. Some people, as you may well know, actually burst out into tears during or after massages. There certainly is a science to it! It's a cleanser. I personally strongly prefer acupuncture (again, by someone I trust who knows my full physical history, someone who isn't going to start talking about how I have a "black liver", etc. The alliance you have with your masseuse or acupuncturist can be very unique and powerful. I am aware of one musician with bipolar I who, now in her forties after years of meds, uses only acupuncture (keeping a supply of lithium on hand just in case). Sounds a bit dangerous to me, but she is a unique individual with unique treatment issues.

And, yeah, avoid alcohol, drugs, diet supplements (I've made this mistake -- WOW), diuretics, laxitives, caffeine (if possible), nicotine (if possible), and maybe even some sugars. There are a few websites that talk about how certain foods are "good" or "bad" for depression -- not much info on mania, yet -- this can be helpful, but again removing them from your diet altogether can in the end be harmful. As you probably well know by now, so many remedies for people with depression can be harmful to the individual with bipolar, so be aware. If you change your diet in accordance with your mood, you will need to be tracking your mood very carefully.

Wow, I guess the coffee kicked in! (I can't do without it in the morning) -- didn't mean to write so much! I hope you feel good and stable and strong in what you decide to do. Thanks for asking this question as it led to me starting out the day reminding myself of all these things -- I wrote this for you, and for myself as well. I really do think I could be healthier, something to think about! Again, sorry for the length.

Cheers Smile

Zadie


02/06/2011 08:22 AM
JennyT

Depends on who you ask and what they're trying to sell to you. But as a primary treatment, little or no research supports administered alternatives to medications.

02/06/2011 12:01 PM
Joy75
Joy75  
Posts: 16598
Group Leader
I'm an Advocate

In my opinion we have a chemical imbalance and we need chemicals (medications) to balance us out. That is how we become stable. Something is missing in our brains and when we add what is missing, it clicks. You won't find anything natural like the drugs that are made for us to take. You could try it out, but I'm betting it's not going to be anywhere near the same. I would rather stick with the proven ways of treatment. Right now this is what keeps me stable and I'm sticking to it.

02/06/2011 01:26 PM
ZadieBlue
ZadieBluePosts: 4547
VIP Member

I had a friend who briefly dated a guy with bipolar who was proud of his ability to "cure" his bipolar with yoga. What a disaster that was, for both parties! Live and learn . . . .

Z


02/06/2011 01:30 PM
SayItsPossible
SayItsPossible  
Posts: 14
Member

Thanks for writing all that Zadie!!! That's very informative. I was actually gonna talk to our local yoga/acupuncture center about treatment. I know I was in a bad place three years ago and acupuncture therapy really helped. I'm getting my schedule down and exercise is a must. I'm gonna talk to my doctor on monday about alternative treatment. I'll let you know how it goes. By the way, Lush.com is AMAZING!!!!!

Joy75, That's exactly what I thought. In order to fix a chemical imbalance you need chemicals. I just want to find a happy median. I don't want my serotonin to rely on medication to kick start. What if I wanted to get off in a couple of years? I wouldn't want my body to be completely reliable on medication to function right.


02/14/2011 05:44 AM
SkyDancer35

thanks for all that info...I am curious about MonaVie it's a product that is made of acai berry....and has been known to reconstruct and repair cells...so that could mean repair brain cells and heal mental illness maybe? I am thinking about trying it...so what do any of you guys no about how acai berry and other natural foods that help bipolar/depression/anxiety?

02/14/2011 07:33 AM
ZadieBlue
ZadieBluePosts: 4547
VIP Member

I suppose it could lead to a healthier body, reducing some stressors that could cause episodes.

Assuming your brain requires a stressor / trigger before launching into a mood state. Many people don't, because their brain cells have become sensitized (known as "The Kindling Effect"Wink

As far as I know, once brain cells are dead or damaged, there's no going back. That's one of the reasons we're told to Just Say "No" to Drugs. Having an episode doesn't mean that your brain cells are necessarily dying, although it can feel this way I know. But as I said, they can begin to function differently, making you more prone to episodes.

Bottom line: For many people, there's a time when episodes are triggered. If they go untreated or unmedicated, the brain learns how to have more episodes so that, ultimately, triggers will no longer be needed -- it'll happen spontaneously. The only way I know to stop future episodes is to go on medication. If anything, acai would act as a placebo. Were it really beneficial for the maintenance and growth of brain cells, it would be handed out in every nursing home, to all those with Parkinson's, etc.

All the best,

Zadie


02/14/2011 08:09 AM
stearns3
stearns3  
Posts: 8
Member

Just going to jump in here real quick. I stick with my meds & blood work. On a side note I do sweaty hot yoga 4 times a month (allowed by my pdoc) but, I have to drink lots of water during it. Lithium contains salt when we workout our body sweats "salts" so our levels might get thrown off if were not careful. Always check with your doctor before trying something new even some tea's.

A lot of stuff out here can interact(s/p) with Lithium. I always check before I take any OTC drugs or anything. Oh couse I tend to be a tad paranoid! Smile


02/14/2011 08:30 AM
SkyDancer35

well the good thing is I don't take lithium...so. I am just curious and am wanting to try everything out there.
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