• Manic-Depression, Manic-Depressive Disease
Previously known as manic-depressive disease, bipolar disorder is a relatively common mental health condition manifested in its classic form by alternating periods of mania—extreme high energy—and deep depression. In the "up" or manic phase, people may sleep little, talk fast, develop grand and unworkable plans, and sometimes behave bizarrely—for example, giving away all their money overnight. In the "down" phase, they may contemplate suicide. In many people with this disorder, the "down" phase predominates, and for that reason, the diagnosis may be missed. Other, more subtle versions of the condition also exist.
Bipolar disorder is dangerous unless treated, leading to a high rate of suicide and injury. The mineral
Proposed Natural Treatments for Bipolar Disorder
Note : There are no natural treatments that can substitute for medications in the treatment of bipolar disorder. However, some might help enhance the effectiveness of standard treatment.
In a double-blind
The same researchers who conducted the fish oil study have also experimented with
One somewhat questionable study reported that an herbal combination utilized in
Very weak evidence suggests possible benefits with
Interestingly, use of an anion generator (an air ionizer that produces negative ions) has shown promise for mitigating the symptoms of acute mania.
Note : Lithium is sometimes sold as a mineral supplement for treating bipolar disorder. However, this proposed use is based on a misunderstanding. When lithium is used medically as treatment for bipolar disorder, it is taken at doses far above any possible nutritional need. No researcher has seriously suggested that lithium deficiency causes bipolar symptoms, and low doses of lithium are unlikely to have any effect at all.
Herbs and Supplements to Use Only With Caution
Antidepressant drugs may cause manic episodes in people with bipolar disorder. For this reason, herbs and supplements with antidepressant properties might also be risky. Case reports suggest that SAMe
It has been suggested that the drug lithium works, in part, by reducing the body's level of
Finally, numerous herbs and supplements may interact adversely with drugs used to prevent or treat bipolar disorder. For example, people who use
20. Zhang ZJ, Kang WH, Tan QR, et al. Adjunctive herbal medicine with carbamazepine for bipolar disorders: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. J Psychiatr Res. 2005 Aug 1. [Epub ahead of print].
24. Keck PE Jr, Mintz J, McElroy SL, et al. Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials of ethyl-eicosapentanoate in the treatment of bipolar depression and rapid cycling bipolar disorder. Biol Psychiatry. 2006;60:1020-102. Epub 2006 Jun 30.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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