Bi-Polar – Traditional and Holistic Treatments


bipolar-quotes-02-300×240 (Photo credit: Life Mental Health)

There are now proven links that if you have been diagnosed with Autism you may also have Bipolar. There are numerous traditional medicines out there that claim to help Bipolar disorder behaviors.

Not surprisingly, the symptoms of bipolar disorder in someone with autism are likely to look different than they would in others. They commonly include “pressured speech” (rapid, loud and virtually nonstop talking), constant pacing, an abrupt decrease in sleep and increased impulsivity leading to aggression. Psychiatrists often prescribe psychoactive medications to treat bipolar disorder. Lithium is one of the most common treatments. Unfortunately, lithium often produces significant side effects. They can include thirst, excessive drinking and bed wetting, shaky hands and even life-threatening toxicity. This is of particular concern with individuals who have communication difficulties, as they may not be able to alert caregivers to the side effects they’re experiencing. Studies suggest that anti-seizure, mood-stabilizing medications such as valproic acid may be a safer treatment for those with autism. We’ve also seen success with a combination of a mood-stabilizing medicine and a low dose of an antipsychotic medication. The atypical antipsychotics risperidone and aripiprazole are both FDA-approved to treat irritability in children with autism ages 6 and older. However both tend to produce significant weight gain and diabetes risk. Therefore, their use requires close monitoring. (For further guidance, please see our recent blog on “Behavioral Medication Side Effects.”) – See more at:

There are so many side effects to these medicines. So many side effects that I wanted to look at a more natural way to control these Bipolar behaviors. This is what I found.

First, it is very unwise to rely solely on alternative measures to treatbipolar disorders, with the possible exception of mild cyclothymia orseasonal affective disorder. The risks of going without medical treatment include death by suicide or accident, and the terrible personal consequences of self-injurious behavior, manic spending sprees, hypersexuality, and all the rest. Parents must be especially careful to ensure proper medical care for bipolar children and adolescents, as minds and bodies cannot develop properly when a child is in the throes of depressionmania, or psychosis.

Second, there is much misinformation regarding alternative treatments. Botanical formulas can differ wildly in their potency, both from manufacturer to manufacturer, and from vial to vial. There is also a potentially dangerous lack of scientific and regulatory oversight in this field, and sometimes a blatantly anti-science attitude. Some alternative practitioners are well-trained and highly competent, while others are charlatans.

A holistic approach to health takes into account all aspects of physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. That’s important when treating bipolar disorders because of their far-reaching impact on personal functioning. You can complement pharmaceuticals with some alternative treatments, often reducing the dose and thereby eliminating some of the dangers and side effects carried by many psychiatric medications. This combination approach is called complementary medicine: using the best of what medical science has to offer, and complementing it with less invasive techniques.

Occasionally a patient will have very valid health reasons for giving up pharmaceutical treatments that are actually working. For example, almost all of the medications used to treat bipolar disorders are believed to cause birth defects, so pregnant girls and women who are bipolar can find themselves faced with a terrible choice. Temporary reliance on alternative methods under careful supervision, with a return to the use of effective medication as soon as possible, can protect both the developing fetus and the mother’s health. Should your child develop another serious health condition, such as cancer, conflicting medications might have to be temporarily discontinued during chemotherapy, preparation for surgery, or certain types of medical treatment. So even if alternative treatments are not right for your child now, they might be useful someday.

Alternative treatments rarely produce dramatic changes. When they work, they usually assist your body’s own self-righting mechanisms, promoting better sleep, fewer and less severe mood swings, improved general health, and a better frame of mind.

To get the clearest picture possible of any alternative interventions, you must introduce them independently of each other, and independent of pharmaceuticals or therapeutic interventions. Obviously, this will often be impractical–you wouldn’t stop lithium just to see if B vitamins might be useful.

Barring the one-thing-at-a-time scenario, keep careful, daily records of supplements and dietary changes you introduce, when they are given and in what amounts, what brands you used, and any visible effects that you observe. If after four to six weeks you have not seen improvements with a supplement, it’s unlikely that it will be of benefit. Dietary changes, bodywork, and other interventions may take much longer to bear fruit.

Remember that many parents report initial problems with supplements and dietary changes, and some children may be resistant to bodywork at first as well. Don’t gloss over dangerous side effects, but expect to weather some behavior problems for a couple of weeks.

If you can convince your physician to make alternative therapies part of his prescription, you’re in luck. Some actively oppose them, and that may force you to find a new doctor. Whatever you do, don’t operate behind your doctor’s back in any significant way. If you’re philosophically incompatible, you should simply part ways — but you need a medical expert on your team.

Exercise and proper diet can help with any condition you have been diagnosed with. It especially helps people diagnosed with Autism and Bipolar.

Please be very careful in deciding what to do about your condition. Do your own research as we are all uniquely made and what may work for one may not work for you.

I am just putting this out there so that we all can be better informed. God Bless You All.


One thought on “Bi-Polar – Traditional and Holistic Treatments

  1. Pingback: Bi-Polar – Traditional and Holistic Treatments | Sarah's Voice

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