Monday, January 04, 2010
Real Hope for Real Recovery: The Homeopathic Treatment of Bipolar Disorder
by Tara Peyman, ND
Approximately 5 million Americans are suffering with bipolar disorder, and most of these people are taking medications that may be causing undesirable side effects. In addition to potential side effects, there are serious long-term risks associated with some of these medications. Despite the prevalence of bipolar disorder, few people are aware of the possibility of safe and effective natural alternatives to these conventional medications.
There are several alternatives to medications that I often recommend when treating people with bipolar disorder, including lifestyle changes, psychological counseling, botanical medicine, acupuncture, targeted nutritional therapies, and homeopathic medicine. I find that homeopathic medicine
offers the quickest and safest path to recovery, when compared with other treatments.
As a naturopathic doctor, I may recommend a combination of several therapies, as appropriate for each case. For people with bipolar disorder who are interested in these alternatives, it is important to consult with a physician or therapist who has an expertise in the above treatment methods, in order to ensure an optimal outcome, rather than the patient trying to use these therapies on their own. This is especially true if the patient is also taking medications for his or her condition.
When a patient with symptoms of bipolar comes into my office, my first step is to establish a clear diagnosis of their mood disorder. Testing may be helpful in ruling out chemical or hormonal imbalances, such as a thyroid disorder for example, which can contribute to symptoms of depression, mania, or anxiety.
Some people may have been misdiagnosed with depression or bipolar disorder, when their mood changes are in fact due to some biological cause that can be treated by correcting the underlying hormonal or chemical problem. Other people have been misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder when they actually have another psychological diagnosis that may require different treatment, such as a personality disorder or another condition that can cause similar symptoms or behaviors.
A NATUROPATHIC APPROACH
With a clear diagnosis, we can proceed to natural treatments. Naturopathic physicians are trained to find and address the deepest fundamental causes of the person’s health concerns. When determining where to begin with treatment, we look to these causes rather than only the superficial symptoms, and choose treatment options that will correct the underlying cause.
Naturopathic doctors also approach the patient as a dynamic whole, with interconnected and interdependent systems, rather than taking a more mechanistic view of looking at the patient as a machine with broken parts that must be fixed with one drug per broken piece. When one system is out of balance, it often will affect other body systems. With this perspective, we can recommend a simpler and safer treatment plan that can address multiple health concerns by getting to the root of the problem.
Homeopathic medicine is one of the best options for addressing the cause of mood disorders, and is one of the types of medicine that naturopathic physicians are trained to utilize. Homeopathy was developed by a German physician several hundred years ago, and is currently used throughout the world, with particular popularity in India and parts of Europe. There are hundreds of homeopathic remedies, each made from a single natural substance, such as a plant or mineral. These plants or minerals are made into a solution that is diluted by a specific, standardized process, and these solutions are then used to coat small sublingual pills.
Each homeopathic remedy can be used to treat a specific set of symptoms. Rather than giving the same medicine to each patient with the same diagnosis, homeopathic remedies are selected for each person based on the entire symptom picture, in addition to the diagnosis and disease pathology. For treating bipolar disorder, there are several hundred homeopathic remedies that can be helpful.
In order to find the right one for you, your naturopathic doctor will ask specific questions to understand the etiology of your mood disorder, what makes you feel better and worse, any associated physical symptoms, and a variety of other questions to be sure we have a clear picture of all elements of your health concerns. Your homeopathic remedy can also benefit other aspects of your health while it improves your mood, because it is working to restore balance overall.
HOW HOMEOPATHY WORKS DIFFERENTLY
Conventional treatments for bipolar disorder, such as antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs, work to suppress symptoms rather than permanently correcting them. Homeopathic medicine works differently. It stimulates the person’s innate ability to restore natural balance.
For example, if the patient is not readily producing sufficient serotonin to aid in feeling happy and relaxed, homeopathic medicine can stimulate the body to actually push the pathways to convert more of the precursors into serotonin. If the person is overproducing adrenaline and feeling anxious, the right homeopathic medicine can help to regulate this overproduction and normalize mood.
Your body is always trying to get back to a healthy state of balance. Homeopathic medicine assists in this process, and does so gently, but rapidly. Most people feel a difference within 2-4 weeks of taking the correct homeopathic prescription. People with bipolar disorder most often respond even faster, typically noticing an improvement in symptoms within only a few days.
Most patients who seek naturopathic treatment are already taking psychiatric medications, and are interested in reducing or eliminating these drugs. One of the benefits of homeopathic medicine is that it does not interact with medications, so it is safe to begin homeopathic treatment while we are in the process of tapering you off of medications. Homeopathy can also assist the person in reducing symptoms that might not be well controlled by medications, even if the patient wants to remain on medications.
Tara Peyman is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in the state of Arizona. She has an expertise in treating bipolar disorder and depression with natural medicine. We offer a free 15-minute consultation with Dr. Tara Peyman to help you learn whether she is the right doctor for you. Call us to schedule your free consult, or to get started with your comprehensive initial consultation.
Feel Like Yourself Again With Natural Medicine
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