Natural help for bipolar disorder
Q: The medication my wife takes for her bipolar disorder eases her symptoms, but it also causes some unpleasant side effects. Are there any natural treatments for this condition?
Dr. Wright: For those readers who may not be familiar with it, bipolar disorder, also called manic depression, is a mental illness characterized by extreme mood swings — from elation to severe depression to violent anger.
Mainstream treatment of bipolar disorder usually involves the use of anticonvulsive drugs, which have many side effects including nausea, distorted perception, and suppression of the immune system.
But there is a natural alternative that may help — one you’ve likely seen mentioned many times before in the e-Tips and in Nutrition & Healing: fish oil.
In addition to its numerous other benefits, fish oil can also help ease bipolar disorder. In fact, the effects of fish oil for bipolar disorder have been tested in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. The study showed that those patients taking fish oil experienced longer periods between symptoms than those taking a placebo.
In addition to these promising results on symptom control, the study also showed that fish oil is very safe — causing only the occasional stomach irritation.
Also, always remember to take vitamin E (preferably in the form of “mixed tocopherols”) whenever you take supplemental oils of any sort. Vitamin E prevents the oil from oxidizing, or becoming rancid, too quickly. It also helps your body metabolize the oil effectively.