Bipolar disorder episodes are defined as a period in which an individual experiences varied mood swings, from an elevated mood to an irritable mood, followed bay a bout of depression. Side effects of bipolar medications, such as weight gain or blood sugar problems, often have some individuals seeking alternative treatments for bipolar disorder and general depression. Many of these forms of treatment have to do with diet and exercise, as well as changing certain environmental factors. Herbs and natural supplements, such as St. John's wort and probiotics, are often used as well to aid in a holistic treatment of bipolar disorder and depression.
Many different forms of alternative treatments for bipolar disorder exist, but the most popular advice given from many natural doctors and physicians is to improve nutrition. It is often suggested that foods that contain artificial preservatives and sweeteners be avoided, as these have been shown to have some effect on brain function. Avoiding sugar and gluten may be advised, as both have been suggested to correlate with mood swings in some studies. Most of the time, natural physicians suggest a whole food diet to eliminate the risks of consuming any of these ingredients, or to look for organic alternatives using only natural ingredients.
Exercise is often suggested to those suffering from bipolar disorder, as exercise helps boost levels of serotonin and endorphins within the brain and body. These neurotransmitters are responsible for mood regulation, as having high levels of both can increase mood and aid in energy production. Vitamin D is advocated to be very important in emotional stabilization by affecting areas of the brain associated with mood control, although how this is accomplished is not fully known. Using talk therapy, family counseling and meditation is often suggested to help provide a safe and therapeutic outlet for emotional expression.
Other forms of alternative treatments for bipolar disorder include the use of herbal supplements such as St. John's wort or valerian. Although these can be safely consumed by the majority of individuals, they aren't recommended if taking other prescription medications. Serotonin, the neurotransmitter that is responsible for mood regulation, is not only found in the brain but the intestines, as well. Probiotics are natural supplements that help feed the good bacteria in the body, providing a healthy atmosphere in the intestines for serotonin production. Foods high in probiotics include fermented foods such as yogurt, cheese and kefir beverages.