January 24, 2017

Curing Bipolar Disorder

Paula called from a hotel room in the next town crying, hardly able to talk.  She said she wanted to die, that life was too painful and she was hopeless.  She had left her husband and 18-month-old son a couple of days earlier, spending more money than they had during the previous two days and nights, staying in hotels (but not sleeping), getting massages and eating in fancy restaurants.  Now, she had crashed and was completely despondent. At 43, she acknowledged that her whole life was filled with similar episodes.

Bipolar disorder is not a disease; it is only a syndrome or collection of symptoms that include instability.  People with this are “up” or “down,” but not in between.  Some people have manic episodes like Paula where they feel “high” and don’t sleep, then come crashing into a deep depression that may last for days – or even years.  Some never recognize a “manicepisode and are only depressed.  Either the highs or the lows can be continual or episodic.  It’s hard to diagnose because everyone is different.

“I miss mania!”

At 25, Corey was the life of the party.  Since she was a very pretty girl with long blonde hair and attracted attention anyway, but when she was “up” she didn’t need any help with alcohol or drugs; she was uninhibited.  However, there would come a time when she would be “down” and hate life, cut herself with a razor blade leaving scars on her arms.  She would also have crying spells and panic attacks.  In high school, she had been both anorexic and bulimic.

It took several years to help Corey come to balance.  We worked with her hormones, diet, and multiple supplements, including herbs and vitamins.  As she started to be more predictable, and have less depression she didn’t feel the need to “cut” anymore.  Moreover, her eating disorders resolved and she no longer had crying spells.

One day, Corey came in to the office and described the previous months of the return of all her bipolar symptoms – the mania and depression, the crying and cutting – all of it had returned.  I asked her what happened and she said she went off of everything because she missed the “high” side of being bipolar.  The highs feel so good; she said, “I miss mania!  …But the lows are so bad that I’m willing to give it up.”  We went back on the program and she remains stable.

Bipolar Medication

Corey  had been to multiple psychiatrists over the years and had been on just about every psychiatric bipolar medication, none of which had any lasting effect.  The medical treatment for bipolar disorder is tranquilizers, anti-depressants and lithium.  These may help symptoms, but they do not solve the problem.  The best they can do is give temporary, partial relief of bipolar symptoms.  Most often, those with bipolar disorder stop their medications because the side-effects are worse than the disease.

One large problem with bipolar disorder is that when there are no manic episodes there is only depression.  Doctors assume the patients are depressed and give them anti-depressants.  When these bipolar medications don’t work, the doctors often give more.  Not only do these not help, they too often cause people with bipolar depression to feel suicidal.

Home Remedies for Bipolar Disorder

The best treatment for bipolar disorder is

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Bipolar Disorder: Natural Options for Balance

Once rarely diagnosed, bipolar disorder has exploded in the last 15 years.  Over 5 million Americans are currently diagnosed with bipolar disorder and childhood cases have skyrocketed, increasing over 40 fold!

What’s going on here?  Were there just as many cases before that were undiagnosed, or is something causing this rapid increase bipolar occurrence? Furthermore, is treating bipolar without strong anti-psychotic drugs really a possibility?

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive disorder, is a mental illness that involves both periods of depression and mania, hence it’s name.  In the mania state there is little sleep, risky behavior and an inability to concentrate.  One may feel invincible and have delusions or hallucinations.

In the depressive state there are mood swings, irritability and an increased need for sleep. One may sleep for weeks and never want to get out of bed.  Suicidal thoughts are also common in the depressive state.

Degrees of bipolar vary from severe to mild.  The mania or depression state can last weeks or even years before flip flopping to the other state of mind.

It is very important that one gets a proper diagnosis for bipolar disorder before they begin any kind of treatment.  Many times a hormonal imbalance, thyroid issues or menopause can manifest similar symptoms of bipolar disorder. ADD and ADHD can also look like bipolar disorder, especially in children.

Anti-Depressants and Bipolar

I am actually shocked when one of my new clients is not taking some sort of anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication. Drugs like Paxil and Prozac get handed out like candy to both children and adults.

Like most pharmaceutical drugs, anti-depressants don’t fix the root of the problem, but rather mask the symptoms of bipolar disorder, have terrible side effects and create long-term effects that are even worse.

Have you ever heard the commercials for anti-depressants?  Towards the end they list all the possible side-effects.  Nearly every commercial says, “Call your doctor if you have increased thoughts of suicide.”  You would think an anti-depressant would help with those types of thoughts!  Yet, these commonly prescribed medications can not only cause someone to become more depressed than they already are, but can also cause one to go into a state of mania.

Anti-depressants are some of the most overly prescribed drugs on the market. This over medication of society is causing more harm than good.

  • 25-50% of children who are on anti-depressants for 5 years end up being diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.
  • 25% of adults are diagnosed as bipolar after being on anti-depressants for 5 years.

It is my belief that the large increase in bi-polar disorder is actually caused by unneeded prescription drugs.  Anytime time you start taking a cocktail of drugs that effect brain function, there are potentially harmful and threatening risks and side effects.

SSRI anti-depressants, in particular, have the possible side effect of putting people in a bipolar mania state.  They can also cause rapid cycling in someone who already suffers from mild bipolar disorder and may not know it.  I don’t believe this is the cause in every bipolar diagnosis, but I do believe it is a contributing factor.  With around 20 million people on anti-depressants and their possible side effects, I can’t help but to think it plays a part.

If you’re dealing with depression or interested in preventing your chances of becoming bipolar, there are natural alternatives you can consider:

  • St. John’s Wort has shown to be just as effective as Prozac.
  • Exercise also has amazing benefits for depression and in studies showed better results than drugs.
  • L-Theanine and 5-HTP can also increase your serotonin levels.

Serotonin is known as our “feel good” neurotransmitter and if found in low levels, it has been linked to depression.  It plays an extremely important part in regulating our mood and sense of well-being.

I’m Bipolar. Now What?

I want to stress again that the importance of ruling out hormonal and other imbalances before you receive a bipolar diagnosis.  Once you’ve received a proper diagnosis of bipolar disorder, your psychiatrist will want to start treatment.  It is extremely important that you discuss any and all changes you are considering with your doctor.  It is not always safe to mix pharmaceuticals with natural supplements.

If you’re lucky, your doctor may be very encouraging about you seeking natural alternatives.  If not, you can always call around and see if there are any other psychiatrists in town who are.  Some chiropractors and naturopathic doctors also specialize in mental health issues, so find out who is in your area.

Diet is #1

As with any health issues, diet is key #1.  No matter how many natural pills you pop, without proper nutrition, you won’t feel the full effects.  It is very important that those with bipolar disorder eat

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Are You a Hungry Bipolar Bear?

Anger and Agitation Can Be Signs Of Bipolar Disorder

We all know that lethargy, daunting feelings of defeat, thoughts of suicide, and a keen unwillingness to go on with life can all take you – a perfectly good person – and leave you feeling empty, a fragile shell of who you once were or hope to be.

We call this manic depression or bipolar disorder – and it can be much more than just anxiety and sadness.

Intense anger is also a nasty by-product of this debilitating disease.

Depression can “drop the gates” and allow you to get irritated more easily and downright mad when things don’t go your way. Some examples of depression and induced anger can be:

.

If you have 3 or more of the mania symptoms below most of the day, nearly every day, for one week or longer, you may be having a manic episode of bipolar disorder:Excessive happiness, sudden changes from joy to hostility, less need for sleep, talkativeness, distractibility, racing thoughts, high sex drive, making unattainable plans, show poor judgement, grandiosity, reckless behavior.

  • When daily tasks prove harder than you thought…or when items you use every day don’t work the way they should.
  • Something as simple as refitting the canister in your vacuum cleaner after emptying it – if it doesn’t snap right into place as it should, you may grimace, grit your teeth, and shout obscenities in your head or even aloud (Yes, this one is from personal experience!).
  • A link to an internet page might not load as fast as it should, your email might not refresh and you miss an important message, a seemingly harmless storm could cause a power surge that leaves you without electricity and any of these could set you off.
  • And how about a relationship issue? A friend, loved one, or colleague might say or do something that under normal circumstances wouldn’t be worth a scowl but when you’re depressed, it commands as much negative attention as you can muster. You harp on the action or words until you go nuts with anger.

Sound familiar?

Explosive behavior in folks with bipolar disorder is very common, especially in children, tweens and teens.

What Causes the Fury-Fueled Conniptions?

The root cause of depression-induced hissy fits differs from person to person.  A few common causes are:

  • Lack of sleep.
    Depression can and does affect your sleep patterns. You may find it difficult to saw the wood no matter how tired you might be. Lying awake with too much on your mind and an internal dialogue that won’t quit can ruin your slumber. Sleep deprivation is responsible for all sorts of maladies in all of us and anger is a big one.
  • No more pleasure in things.
    If you can’t seem to take pleasure in the things you should or did in the past, you may find your level of tolerance for others and certain situations hits the ground with an annoying thud. Because your mind is tricking you into thinking your life isn’t worth the birth certificate it’s printed on, it’s perfectly logical to understand why you can’t enjoy the things that make for a healthy, rich living experience.
  • Inability to focus on work, family or friends.
    They say you don’t know what you got till it’s gone. It can be very frustrating to lose your desire to do a good job at work, take a picnic with friends and family, or even sit down to watch a good movie. It’s especially irritating when you were able to do these things before you became depressed.

If any of this rings a bell for you, or if you know someone who shows the signs, stick around. You’re going to discover how to beat it without using dangerous pills to alter your natural chemistry.

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Help For Those Tossed About

The reason you are reading this is because somehow I survived. Young and dumb, I once ventured out on a boogie board on the north shore of the island of Oahu, near the famous and frightening Banzai Pipeline surf reef. Did I mention I am from Kansas?

I wasn’t in Kansas anymore and that surf was not safe for anyone (even according to the sign I saw later). Today, I credit God for telling those waves to spit me out on the sandy beach because getting back to the shore myself was entirely impossible. For what seemed like an eternity, I was tossed about. One moment a force with no mercy brutally slammed me on the floor of the sea, piling twenty feet of water above me. The next moment I was yanked up to the top of the waves. For one second the water was knee deep with a pull back out that was strong enough to knock me down. Then seconds later, water thirty feet deep landed on top of me. This exhausting cycle was something from which I couldn’t break out in my own strength.

Such is the mental health reality of those who struggle with bipolar disorder: one moment there is euphoria (mania) and the next moment they bottom out in deep dark depression. It is a vicious cycle from which they can not break loose. The energy and ability to function quickly dissipate and without help from something or someone outside themselves… life slips away.

Seeing people being jerked between these extremes leaves me with the impression that they are in the grips of something cruel. We know it is one of the devil’s schemes to wear down our minds (Daniel 7:25) and what better way to do that then to twist us far in opposite directions. The string of a yo-yo would break if it were subjected to the level of thrust common to bipolar disorder.

Battling the Beast

The Bible refers to the devil as a “beast,” but not because he looks like Chewbacca from Star Wars. The devil is called a beast because he is cruel to the core of his being. There is not one drip of mercy in his nature and tossing people about mentally and emotionally apparently brings him sick pleasure.

Those I know who struggle with bipolar/manic depression seem like a paddleball toy in the hand of an angry kid. One moment the ball flies high and fast only to be yanked back and smacked hard. What is fun with a little rubber ball is not so fun when it’s your head.

The Bible says Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and liberate people from his clutches. Both of these are things we can not do in our own strength. We need someone outside ourselves. This is precisely why God sent his Son, to do what we couldn’t do –break free.

Try God First

This monthly Spiritual Dimensions of Health and Wellness column is to make the case for turning to God first, turning to

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When Bipolar Meds Aren’t Working, Follow Your Gut

Follow Your Gut

In my opinion, people with bipolar and depression tend to have unhealthy diets due to their illness. We are constantly trying to make ourselves feel better, and food is one way to do that. Moreover, most of us have energy and motivational issues, which result in behaviors such as less exercise and less cooking of fresh food.

“All diseases begin within the gut.” Hippocrates 460-370BC

Almost all “mental illness” is simply gut illness and poor dietary intake in disguise. Do you have digestive problems like bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, and constipation?  Do you suffer from frequent headaches, fatigue, mood swings, depression or bipolar disorder? These symptoms brought on my poor eating habits are part of your overall gut health.

Bipolar disorder always involves a gut that needs to be “cleaned out” or fixed as soon as possible before malabsorption of essential nutrients becomes severe.  Excess toxicity is also a part of all mental illness, affecting your mood and overall state of wellness. A pathogenic yeast, candida albicans, is a prime agent in many emotional and physical problems.

A Little Yeast Works A Long Way

The yeast connection is a term to indicate the relationship of superficial yeast infections in your digestive tract to fatigue, headache, depression, PMS, irritability, bipolar disorder and other symptoms that can make you feel “sick all over.”

Eating certain foods poor in adequate vitamins and minerals may increase your risk of candida overgrowth.  Antibiotic use, mood stabilizers and other chemical drug cocktails could lead to candida yeast overgrowth.

Yeast can become a hardy fungus and has an aggressive appetite. Minor increases in intestinal yeast are usually not a problem, but if yeast overgrowth is left unchallenged it can cause intestinal permeability and leak toxins across the cellular membranes. This can cause a disruption in the absorption of nutrients and nutritional deficiencies that can lead to reduced immunity and weaken the body’s defense systems and contribute to mental illness problems.

Cleansing the Body

Without proper nutrition, the body can’t heal or regenerate its tissues and if you cannot digest and assimilate food, the tissues will eventually starve. Cleansing the body and taking probiotics, and other anti-candida measures is a step toward healing.

You should consult a Naturopathic Doctor, a nutritionist that has treated bipolar disorder beforehand or an orthomolecular medicine doctor to help cure candida. Here are some steps to take to cleanse your body of unwanted candida yeast:

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