Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is the second most common depressive illness. Also called manic depression, bi-polar disorder is characterized by unpredictable periods of mania alternating with periods of depression. Dramatic changes in energy and behavior accompany these mood changes.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

During the depressive phase, the symptoms are the same as major depressive disorder.
See Major Depressive Disorder

The manic phase is characterized by extreme euphoria which can alternate with extreme agitation. During the manic phase, the sufferer is unable to perceive that the symptoms are abnormal. This makes it difficult for family and friends to help. Any attempts to do so are typically met with anger and denial.

Abnormally driven and active, during the manic phase people overestimate their abilities and talents. They may talk of grandiose unrealistic plans – such as how they will change the world with some new invention or idea. They may see themselves as part of a few chosen people in the world with rare insight, talent and abilities. If you question them or argue with them, they usually respond with rage.

It’s common to speak fast, alternating between many different subjects, and not making much sense. They may think they only need a couple of hours of sleep at night. Many people make impulsive and reckless decisions, such as quitting a job, becoming promiscuous or going on spending sprees.

“In mania, people often feel bigger than life,” says Dr. Donald Hall, author of Breaking through Depression. “They appear more vital and enthusiastic than the average person. They talk too fast, think too fast, and can’t turn off their minds to go to sleep. This usually leads to poor judgment and impulsive behaviors they live to regret.” 1

Explosive irritability can occur in either state, usually during the mania phase but also during depressive episodes.

Some people have a milder form of bipolar disorder. In these cases, the manic episodes are not as severe and do not prevent a person from functioning. This is referred to as “hypomania.”  

Treatment for bipolar disorder

Many people seek medical help during depressive episodes. But if you have had even one manic OR hypomanic episode in your lifetime that lasted one week or longer, be sure and tell your doctor. Some anti-depressants can trigger severe manic episodes in people with even mild bi-polar disease. This can lead to psychosis and hospitalization.

Medications for bipolar disorder

Mood stabilizing medications are typically the first choice for treating bipolar disorder. Lithium was the first mood stabilizer approved by the FDA. Several new anti-convulsant medications are just as effective.

Anticonvulsants, developed to treat seizures, have proven effective as mood stabilizers. The commonly prescribed anticonvulsants include: Depakote (Valproic acid or divalproex sodium); Lamictal (lamotrigine); Neurontin (gabapentin); Topamax (topiramate); Trileptal (oxcarbazepine).

In some cases, doctors sometimes prescribe an anti-depressant in conjunction with a mood stabilizer and/or an anti-psychotic medication.

Bipolar disorder is complex and every case is different. If you are currently being treated for bipolar disease by a family doctor and are not satisfied with the results of your treatment, request a referral to a psychiatrist who specializes in bipolar and other depressive illnesses.

Natural Products for bipolar disorder

A natural product developed in Alberta, Canada, has attracted international media attention for its effectiveness in treating bipolar disorder.

Called Empower Plus, the product combines 36 micronutrients produced by True Hope that may help the body produce neurotransmitters necessary for mental health. Research conducted by the University of Calgary, Harvard University, Ohio State University, and other researchers found that Empower Plus was effective in reducing symptoms of bipolar disorder, psychosis, obsessive compulsive disorder and ADD. For those with bipolar disorder, about 50% were able to stop or reduce medications, and up to 80% experienced an improvement. EMPowerplus™ is the most studied micronutrient in the world. It has been independently studied in 3 countries, has 20 medical journal publications with 14 being peer-reviewed

Dr. Bonnie Kaplan, a respected behavioral research scientist from the department of psychiatry at the University of Calgary, studied 360 patients who took the supplement for at least six months. She found that more than half experienced at least a 50% improvement in symptoms. “If substantiated in controlled trials, the normalization of the mentally ill via nutrient supplementation would be the most significant breakthrough in the field of mental illness since the beginning of time,” Dr. Kaplan says.

If clinical trials continue to demonstrate the effectiveness of Empowerplus for improving mental health, there will be huge economic ramifications for the pharmaceutical industry.

More information about True Hope and their products will be provided in the near future.
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1. Dr. Donald Hall, Breaking through Depression, p. 128
2. Dr. Bonnie Kaplan,

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