Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder, is a psychiatric condition defined by unexpected shifts in mood, energy and activity levels, that affect a patient's ability to lead a normal day-to-day life. This is a mood disorder that usually develops in the late teens or early adult age.
Sufferers from this condition experience strangely elevated or depressed states for distinct periods of time. These mood episodes range from hyper states called manic episodes to extremely sorrowful states called depressive episodes.
Depressive episode is characterized by continual feelings of sadness, guilt, anger and hopelessness. Sleep and appetite are also affected so it results in fatigue and loss of interest in sexual activity or socialization. Often it may lead to suicide.
Manic episode can be described as a period of elevated but also irritable mood. Overall energy is increased and patient hardly feels the need to sleep. Patients speak very quickly and lose the ability to concentrate so they can be easily distracted and react aggressively, to the point of rage.
Sometimes a mood episode may include both kind of symptoms. For example, anxiety and fatigue, suicidal tendencies and panic, paranoia, and agitation. This is known as a mixed state affective episode.
Before making any choices, a patient should consult with a doctor or experienced nutritionist in order to avoid making a bad choice. Store shelves are full of dubious products that may not be helpful or may even cause some unwanted effects. Before making a final decision patients should examine trustworthy reference books rather than the advertisements or the popular press.
Reputable manufacturers should always be the first choice, because they back up their products with effectiveness guarantees and standards. It is extremely important to find out if a chosen remedy contains the substances advertised and in the promised quantity.
Natural solutions may also have some side-effects, so patients are encouraged to consult their physicians or nutritionists before taking any of those.
Nervines are plant remedies that have beneficial effect upon the nervous system. Herbalists use many of them to treat symptoms of manic-depressive disorder. However, this herbal group is most likely to cause serious side-effects. Nervines used in the cases of bipolar disorder are:
- Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) - best known for its sedative and anti-inflammatory effects.
- Damiana (Turnera aphriodisica) - folk remedy for depression for which is also believed that possess aphrodisiac properties.
- Gingko biloba - an antioxidant for which is believed to increase blood circulation in brain and enhances memory and concentration.
- Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) - used in patients whose depression is accompanied by fatigue and lethargy.
- Grapeseed oil and pycogenol - antioxidants
- Gotu kola (Centella asiatica, Hydrocotyl asiatica) - recommended for depression and anxiety
- Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra, Liquiritia officinalis) - hormonal booster
- Sarsaparilla (Hemidesmus indicus) - affects hormone production and settles the nerves
- St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) - helps reducing stress and anxiety while elevating the sense of welfare