I was roommates with a person with bipolar disorder who tried to self-medicate with coffee and cigarettes.
If you have ever lived with someone who has the disorder, which used to be called manic-depressive disorder, you know how challenging it can be.
People with bipolar disorder experience mood swings that include a manic phase and a period of depression.
Although I’d never recommend trying natural cures for bipolar disorder without talking to your doctor, I do know my roommate was able to significantly improve symptoms with a few changes:
Bipolar disorder and caffeine
Caffeine in coffee stimulates the brain and can magnify mania and irritate a person who is depressed.
If you are on certain psychiatric medications, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes can increase or decrease the speed at which the drugs are metabolized. My roommate used to drink coffee all day and night, but after kicking the habit was less manic. Instead of smoking, find a hobby that requires the use of your hands.
Fish oil for bipolar disorder
Fish oil is considered a natural cure for bipolar disorder and is an important supplement for people with bipolar depression.
Studies have shown omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish oil stabilizes mood and have effects similar to lithium. Since fish oil sometimes has an unpleasant taste and smell, I take the Barlean’s Omega Swirl in smoothies. I tried fish oil to lose weight, but people with bipolar disorder may find it greatly improves their outlook.
Eat more seafood, less red meat
It’s not just the fatty acids in fish that help people with bipolar depression. Experts say there are 72 natural trace elements in seafood. When my roommate started eating salmon in salads, it was like the depression had been completely lifted. Although red meat and saturated fat should be avoided, if you do want red meat, choose the grass-fed beef which has more nutrients.
People were not meant to sit at a computer indoors. One of the best natural cures for bipolar symptoms is to take a dog for a walk outside. This boosts your mood in three ways. First, you are getting natural sunlight and fresh air. Second you are exercising. Third you are spending time with an animal, which has been shown to release endorphins.
The not-so-natural cures for bipolar disorder
People who experience dangerous signs of bipolar disorder should see a psychiatrist right away. Some of the medications prescribed to people with bipolar disorder include lithium, antidepressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilizing medications such as valproic acid (Depakene) and lamotrigine (Lamictal). There is no shame in taking medications when they are needed, but continue to supplement your diet and exercise. If you are feeling depressed, reach out for help because people do care.
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Bipolar Disorder and Foods To Avoid, WebMD website
Edward Group, “Seafood is a natural stabilizer for bipolar disorder,” Dreddyclinic.com
May Clinic Staff, “Treatments and drugs,” The Mayo Clinic website