Bipolar and fasting in Ramadan
Hi. I have bipolar 1 disorder. I am Muslim and I am American and living in the middle east. It is Ramadan this month (the month of fasting). I have been fasting today for 11 hours so far. But I have become really angry and then I started crying for no reason and my head doesn't feel quite right. It's hard to explain but I guess kind of lightheaded. I take my medicine before bed so I know it's not from a lack of medicine. Am I feeling this way as a reaction to fasting because I am bipolar? Any advice you can give me is appreciated, thank you.
Yes, fasting can have a huge effect on mood and energy and it should only be done with great caution. I respect your religious reasons for fasting, but it may not be worth the risk to your health to continue this way. Is there any way you could do a modified fast? I've seen people experience all of the symptoms you mention - crying, fragile emotions, lightheaded, anxiety, feelings of depersonalization - all due to lack of food. Food is grounding. It puts you in your body. Not eating can induce states of mania. It can also affect your metabolism to only eat at night, when the body is normally shutting down it's metabolic activity and storing up sugar/energy to use the next day. For someone with bipolar disorder, the regularity of sleep/wake cycles, and a stable metabolism are especially important to their stability. Food is medicine.
Ben Schwarcz, MFT