Other Proposed Natural Treatments
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 lithium has been shown to dramatically improve symptoms of mania and reduce the rate of suicide. Various antiseizure medications also appear to help against mania.
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.
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
Finally, numerous herbs and supplements may interact adversely with drugs used to prevent or treat bipolar disorder. For example, people who use lithium should avoid herbal diuretics. For more information on this potential risk, see the appropriate individual drug articles in the Drug Interactions database.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 08/2013 -
- Update Date: 09/30/2013 -