A naturopathic approach to bipolar disorder

Homeopathic medicine offers the quickest and safest path to recovery, when compared to other treatments.

by Dr. Tara Peyman — 

Approximately five million Americans are suffering with bipolar disorder, and most of them take medications that may cause undesirable side effects, such as weight gain and fatigue. Some of these prescriptions can even cause elevated blood sugar and high cholesterol.

The good news is that alternatives to conventional medications are available for treating people with bipolar disorder, including lifestyle changes, psychological counseling, botanical medicine, acupuncture, targeted nutritional therapies and homeopathic medicine. Homeopathic medicine offers the quickest and safest path to recovery, when compared to other treatments. Prescribing a single homeopathic remedy for each patient, based on the unique symptoms of each case, is almost always part of the initial treatment plan for any mood disorder. 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 expertise in the above treatment methods in order to ensure an optimal outcome, rather than trying to utilize these therapies on their own. This is especially true if the patient is also taking medications for his or her condition.

When treating patients with symptoms of bipolar, a first step is to establish a clear diagnosis of their mood disorder. Testing may be helpful in ruling out imbalances that 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 a 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 a different treatment), such as a personality disorder or another condition that can cause similar symptoms or behaviors.

With a clear diagnosis, we can proceed with natural treatments. Most patients who seek naturopathic treatment for bipolar symptoms 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 other medications, so it is safe to begin homeopathic treatment while in the process of tapering off medications.

Homeopathy can also assist the person in reducing symptoms that are not well controlled by medications, even if the patient wants to remain on medications. 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. The body is always trying to get back to a balanced, healthy state. Homeopathic medicine assists in this process and does so gently, but rapidly. Most people feel a difference within two to four weeks of taking the correct homeopathic remedy.

 

Tara Peyman is a licensed naturopathic doctor who has developed naturopathic programs for depression and anxiety, weight loss, diabetes and smoking cessation. She practices at East Valley Naturopathic Doctors in Mesa, Ariz. 480-985-0000, and in Tempe, Ariz., 480-456-0402. www.DrTaraPeyman.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 28, Number  5, Oct/Nov 2009.

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