Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is a disease that affects the brain. It is characterized by mood swings. Bipolar depression symptoms include sadness, lack of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyed activities, suicidal thoughts and problems with eating and sleeping. Symptoms of mania include feeling over-excited or exuberant, racing thoughts, delusions of grandeur, restlessness and a reduced need for sleep. There is no cure for bipolar disorder, but there are several effective treatments.
Different medications help to control different symptoms of bipolar disorder. Mood stabilizers such as lithium can stop mood swings or ease their severity. Antipsychotic medication helps to calm manic symptoms. Many people with mania experience delusions or fixed untrue beliefs, and antipsychotics can help to control these problems as well. Antidepressants can help to lift the mood of those with bipolar depression. Some antidepressants can cause a person with bipolar disorder to swing back to a manic episode. Therefore, antidepressants are usually combined with mood stabilizers or antipsychotic medications.
Meditation teaches a practice called mindfulness, the ability to become aware of one's thoughts and emotions without judging them or acting upon them. Bipolar disorder often leads people to impulsive behavior. Someone who is depressed may attempt suicide while someone who is manic may spend far too much money on unneeded items. Meditation can help resolve these behaviors. It can also help with inducing relaxation and aiding sleep.
There are certain foods that help to control mood swings and reduce symptoms of depression. Most of them are common sense healthy foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, low fat dairy foods, nuts and omega-3 fatty products such as salmon and other cold water fight. There are also foods that people with bipolar disorder should avoid. Too much sugar and caffeine, for instance, can spark a manic episode. Drinking too much alcohol can cause depression. Alcohol can also cause unpleasant and even deadly side effects when mixed with bipolar medication.
Bipolar disorder can be a challenging disorder to manage. The mood swings are often unpredictable and not knowing how one will feel from one day to the next is frustrating to say the least. Medication, meditation, and diet, though, can help manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder and help you lead a more ordinary life. It is also important to find a treatment team you trust, usually consisting of a psychiatrist, a therapist, and sometimes a nutritionist.