Bi-polar disorder, also known as manic-depression, is most commonly recognized by extreme swings in mood. Someone can feel happy or euphoric, and then suddenly feel hopeless and suicidal.
Bipolar disorder is medically defined as:
“A major mental disorder characterized by episodes of mania, depression, or mixed mood. One or the other phase may be predominant at any given time, one phase may appear alternately with the other, or elements of both phases may be present simultaneously. Characteristics of the manic phase are excessive emotional displays, such as excitement, elation, euphoria, or in some cases irritability accompanied by hyperactivity, boisterousness, impaired ability to concentrate, decreased need for sleep, and seemingly unbounded energy. In extreme mania, a sense of omnipotence and delusions or grandeur may occur. In the depressive state, marked apathy and under-activity are accompanied by feelings of profound sadness, loneliness, and lowered self-esteem. Causes of the disorder are multiple and complex, often involving biologic, psychological, interpersonal, and social and cultural factors.” Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 5th edition (1998), pg. 196.
It is usually a long-term psychiatric condition that may need one or more therapies to manage symptoms so the sufferer can engage in every-day life.
Causes and Risk Factors
Bi-polar disorder is attributed to several instances such as hormonal imbalance, genetics, neurotransmitter imbalance, changes to the brain (either due to injury or other factors). Stress, abuse, traumatic loss can also contribute to the development of Bi-polar disorder.
Other emotional, psychological, or health issues can can make the diagnosis of the disorder difficult. Conditions that commonly occur with Bi-polar disorder include anxiety, ADD/ADHD, addiction or substance abuse, heart disease, thyroid disease, and obesity.
People suffering from Bi-polar disorder experience symptoms at both ends of the spectrum: the highest highs and the lowest lows. Some symptoms are:
- Difficulty managing relationships at home, work or school
- Inflated self-esteem
- Severe lack of self-esteem
- Poor judgment
- Aggressive behavior
- Rapid speech
- Risky behavior
- Agitation or trouble settling down
- Dangerous behavior such as compulsive drug use, alcohol use, and unsafe sex practices
- Prolonged periods of sadness or hopelessness
- Anxiety or feelings of panic
- Difficulty concentrating, or is easily distracted
- Fatigue, insomnia and problems sleeping
- Explosive behavior
According to medical experts, Bi-polar disorder requires lifelong treatment. Left untreated, people with Bi-polar disorder can experience financial problems, legal problems, trouble maintaining relationships, feelings of isolation and loneliness that could lead to suicidal thoughts, poor performance at work or school, problems related to drug and alcohol abuse as well as compulsive over-eating or compulsive under-eating.
Treating Bi-polar disorder can be complicated. It generally includes a combination of therapies. In some cases, treatment for substance abuse may also be necessary. Support groups have also been known to be helpful to those suffering from Bi-polar disorder.
Acupuncture, yoga, and massage therapy are also known treatments for Bi-polar disorder. People with Bi-polar disorder are encouraged to learn about the condition and how to manage it, join support groups, find healthy outlets (such as a hobby, sports, etc.), stress management or relaxation techniques, and to stay motivated through goal-setting and productive self-rewarding.
It’s been reported that some people with Bi-polar disorder benefit from a change in diet.
Avoid a “Western” style diet rich in red meats, simple carbs, saturated fats and trans fats. Instead, people with Bi-polar disorder can eat a nutrient-dense diet loaded with fruits and vegetables. Nuts, flax seed and canola oil are also helpful.
There are foods known to aggravate Bi-polar disorder. Patients should avoid caffeine, high-fat foods, high-salt foods, bananas, champagne, red wine, grapefruit juice, fermented cheese, liver, and soy sauce.
Herbs can be very helpful. It’s recommended using nervine herbs for bi-polar disorder. These herbs include Kava Kava, Passionflower, Lavender flower, Jatamansi, Chamomile, St. Jon’s Wort, Valerian Root, Blue Vervain, Hops, Scullcap, Catnip, and Cinnamon to name a few. These herbs can be taken in tea form, capsule form, or liquid extract form and can be taken throughout the day.
Other Healing Options
AROMATHERAPY. There are plenty of good essential oils that are effective in the treatment and healing of bi-polar disorder and they include Neroli, Bergamot, Lavender, Jasmine, Davana, May Chang, Blood Orange, Linden, Valerian, and Melissa (True). These oils can be inhaled, burned in a diffuser, and/or added to bath water.
CRYSTALS. There are plenty of crystals that can be used in the treatment and healing of bi-polar disorder, but by far, the best stone to use for bi-polar disorder is lepidolite. Lepidolite contains lithium.
Other good stones/crystals for bi-polar include Charoite, Larimar (Dolphin Stone), Sugilite, Amethyst, and Peridot. These crystals and stones are ideal for the depression aspect of bi-polar (and can be placed directly on the Ajna chakra located between the eyebrows.
However, for the grounding aspect of bi-polar, the following crystals and stones are recommended: Black Tourmaline, Onyx, Jet, Obsidian, Hematite, Smoky Quartz, and Magnetite. These stones can be placed anywhere from the bottom of the feet up to the genital region, or, around the body in a grid)
Crystals can be applied directly to the Sixth chakra (Brow Chakra) while lying down (for about 15-30 minutes) or can be made into an elixir (letting the crystal sit in water for a period of 24 hours, receiving both moon and sun light) and drank (a few dropper-fulls or 1-4 ounces).