There are different names which are used interchangeably for bipolar disorder. Some people call it bipolar depression and others may call it manic depression. Some people differentiate between the different types of bipolar depression, as bipolar I, bipolar II, rapid cycling bipolar disorder, and Cyclothymia. Treating bipolar disorder can be tricky. It may take awhile to find the treatment option that works best for an individual. Sometimes it takes awhile to find the right mental health practitioner. If you don’t feel like you have a “good fit,” but all means, keep searching for the practitioner and the therapy that fits your needs best.
For most people, it is necessary to treat bipolar disorders with a combination of psychotherapy and medications. In some cases, individuals suffering from one type of bipolar disorder or another will need to be hospitalized for a short time so their mood swings can become manageable. Aside from psychiatric medications and care from a psychiatrist or other type of mental health practitioner, a person suffering from manic depression may also choose some alternative therapies. It is important to consider that there isn’t a whole lot of research to confirm that herbal medicine does much to treat bipolar disorders. St. John’s wort is a very popular herbal supplement used to treat mild depression. There is no evidence that it can successfully treat anyone with bipolar disorders.
Things to Consider
Many people are successfully treated with drugs such as Lithium, Depakote and others. However, these drugs can cause serious problems in certain individuals. Nowadays with all of the problems associated with medications causing harm to the kidneys and liver, some people with bipolar disorders will choose alternative medicine rather than conventional psychiatric drugs. Some medications, such as Haldol (Haloperidol) and others will cause muscle cramps and involuntary muscle movements. It is sometimes necessary to take a medication to counteract the side effects of other medications. Cogentin (Benztropine mesylate) is a drug that is taken to counteract the involuntary muscle movements caused by certain psychiatric medications. Cogentin is also used to counteract the involuntary movements caused by Parkinson’s disease.
Herbal medicines and alternative therapies
Individuals who are suffering from bipolar disorder should always have their psychiatrist involved in the treatment plan, if that plan doesn’t involve conventional forms of psychiatric treatment. Some alternative treatments include supplements which contain herbs, minerals amino acids and vitamins. There are other therapies which employ the use of St. John’s wort. St. John’s wort is a supplement that comes from a flower called Hypericum perforatum. St. John’s wort has been studied in clinical trials for the treatment of depression, but this herbal medicine may not be appropriate to treat people who have bipolar depression.
Nowadays, there are a lot of people who have little faith in the prescription drugs. More and more people are searching for alternative ways to treat their mental illnesses. Some people start out with prescription drugs and decide to switch to an herbal supplement. It is important to note that herbal supplements can interact with the medication that is in your body. For instance, the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) released a warning about dangerous interactions between certain drugs and St. John’s wort. This herbal supplement should not be taken with certain types of tricyclic antidepressants such as Elavil, Tofranil and Asendin. It shouldn’t be taken with Tegretol, which is an anti-seizure medication that is sometimes used to treat manic depression. Never try to self-medicate. It is important to clear any type of alternative treatment with your mental health practitioner.
Side effects of prescription medications and herbal supplements
Herbal supplements are not regulated by the USFDA. Some may think that is a good thing; especially since there are so many side effects associated with prescription drugs to treat bipolar disorder. Aside from dangerous side effects, certain herbal supplements may cause a condition called Serotonin syndrome. Too much serotonin in the brain can cause you to have side effects which may cause dizziness, trouble thinking, unsteadiness on your feet, or feeling faint.
Treating bipolar disorder can be quite challenging for the mental health professional, as well as the patient. If you are unhappy with the treatment plan you are on, talk to your mental health professional. Many people taking different types of psychiatric medications feel like they are chemically restrained. They complain of being sleepy all the time. They may suffer from weight gain from inactivity or from the side effect of the medications. Don’t give up on your doctor or the treatment plan to self-medicate. You may do more harm than good. Oftentimes, the doctor can prescribe a different medication, or tweak the dosage of a specific medication to best treat your disorder.
If you want to get off the psychiatric medications and try alternative medicine, ask your doctor to refer you to a practitioner of alternative medicine. There is a growing market for alternative therapies. Many doctors have partnered up with practitioners of alternative medicine.