Some natural remedies, such as exercise, dietary choices, and counselling, may help to stabilize a person’s mood. It is advisable to combine these methods with mood stabilizers, such as lithium.
A person with bipolar disorder may experience dramatic shifts in mood, energy, and ability to think clearly. Health experts refer to this as mania and depression, or experiencing high and low moods.
There is currently no cure for bipolar disorder, however, treatment enables people to manage it. As such, a treatment option for bipolar disorder is a group of drugs known as mood stabilizers. These medications aim to prevent the extreme highs and lows of bipolar disorder. Some lifestyle adaptations can also help, alongside the medication.
Other remedies that do not involve the use of traditional drugs include supplements and counseling.
Herbs and supplements
Some people with bipolar disorder use herbs or supplements in an attempt to relieve their symptoms.
The fish oil extract omega-3 may help to stabilize mood. Evidence highlights a general trend that individuals with bipolar disorder tend to have lower levels of omega-3. As such, while more research is necessary, omega-3 fatty acids may offer a natural complementary treatment option for mood disorders such as bipolar disorder.
Omega-3 fatty acids may have numerous health benefits, but it is best to eat them in their natural form. Cold-water fish, nuts, and plant oils are good sources.
While more research is necessary, a
As a result, some doctors may recommend magnesium supplements. If a person is considering supplements, they should first discuss them with their doctor.
Overall, it is not clear that dietary supplements can help people with bipolar disorder. More studies are necessary to confirm the benefits of any supplement.
Nutrients in the diet
A diet that provides a variety of nutrients through fresh foods can help protect a person from a range of health problems. A
Anyone with bipolar disorder who decides to use complementary medicine should continue with their prescribed medication therapy sessions, and they should consult their physician before using supplements or an alternative therapy.
Choose “natural” products with care
It is important for people to discuss complementary medicines and supplements with their doctor. For example, people sometimes use St. John’s wort to treat depressive symptoms, however, they may increase the risk of psychosis in people living with bipolar disorder.
Additionally, certain products can interact with other drugs and they may have adverse effects.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not officially regulate supplements and herbal products, so people may not know exactly what they are buying.
Counseling and CBT
CBT can help people to identify negative and destructive habits and behaviors, and to change them to more positive ones.
Counseling, CBT, and a range of lifestyle changes can help people with bipolar disorder to manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.
Bipolar disorder can disrupt a person’s sleep. During a manic phase, an individual may sleep very little, but during a low phase, they may sleep for a long time.
Missing sleep can trigger a mood change, and getting enough sleep is essential to managing mood. Good sleep hygiene can encourage people with the condition to have regular sleep.
- going to bed and getting up at regular hours
- making sure the room is comfortable
- avoiding screen time and potentially stressful situations before bed
- not eating a large meal too soon to sleeping
- avoiding or limiting alcohol intake
People with bipolar disorder who have difficulty sleeping should speak to their physician.
Read on to learn more about bipolar and sleep.
Moderate and regular exercise can help to balance mood and prevent a number of health problems, such as obesity and cardiovascular disease.
A 2022 study suggests that a physically active lifestyle is associated with a lower risk of developing bipolar disorder. Additionally, a 2023 study indicates that physical exercise can help to stabilize mood in individuals living with bipolar disorder.
However, more studies are necessary to find out how much exercise an individual should have, how often, and how intense the activity should be, especially as bipolar disorder involves a number of physical and psychological factors.
People with bipolar disorder have a higher risk of engaging in addictive behaviors. Evidence refers to a study where 56% of people with the condition had at some time experienced addiction involving either alcohol or drugs.
Tips for avoiding problems with riskier behaviors may include:
- becoming more aware of any tendency to engage in risky — for example, addictive — behaviors
- seeking help if there is already a problem
- asking friends and loved ones to support any decisions to avoid destructive or addictive behaviors
Friends who are aware of the risks might, for example, suggest going to see a movie instead of a bar on a night out.
Read on to learn more about bipolar disorder and addiction.
Managing a manic episode
It is not always possible to prevent a manic episode, but as the condition progresses, the individual and their friends and family may start to notice the signs of a mood change.
Here are some tips when this happens:
- Contact a doctor, if it is the first manic episode, if a person has discontinued treatment, or if treatment is not working.
- Follow the treatment plan and keep all medical appointments, as medications may need adjusting.
- Try to keep to a regular sleeping pattern and avoid unnecessary stress when possible.
- Eat a healthful diet and get enough exercise.
- Avoid alcohol and other substances.
- Keep track of moods and feelings.
If person has people around them, try to share with them what is happening so that they can provide support.
A psychiatrist who specializes in bipolar disorder will normally guide a person’s treatment. Sometimes there may be a wider team of professionals, including a social worker and a counselor.
Regular monitoring may be necessary, as the dose sometimes needs adjusting.
If a person experiences psychosis, they may also need an antipsychotic drug, such as:
Doctors do not usually prescribe antidepressants alone for a person with bipolar disorder, even during a low mood, because they can trigger a manic episode. For this reason, the person will normally use an antidepressant with a mood stabilizer or antipsychotic.
A doctor may recommend hospitalization if a patient is experiencing psychosis or if their symptoms may pose a danger to themselves or other people.
Read on to learn more about medications for bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder requires lifelong treatment, even when people living with the condition are feeling better. However, some lifestyle considerations can help to make the condition more manageable. These may include having a healthy diet, getting sufficient sleep, and regular exercise.