Is There an Alternative Bipolar Treatment that Works?
My girlfriend has bipolar disorder, she hasn't been diagnosed, only because we don't have a doctor like all other Americans. Anyways she's taken all different kinds of depression medications and they just make everything worse or don't do anything at all, and just become hard to get off of. My question is, are there any alternatives for treating bipolar disorder, or is there any bipolar medicine that truly works and won't just make her problems worse. It would be real helpful for me if you could respond, it's hard dealing with a suicidal person that has no hope for treatment.
Bipolar Disorder is difficult to treat. The actual therapeutic value of antidepressants has become a hotly debated question, and there is compelling evidence that they are often no more effective than a placebo - (see this recent article: http://www.newsweek.com/id/232781).
Many doctors who are inexperienced in treating psychiatric disorders will prescribe antidepressants for a Bipolar patient, and this often makes them worse. I've seen many, many people first hospitalized with serious manic episodes after being triggered by an antidepressant. The usual standard of treatment by psychiatrists, for Bipolar Disorder, is to use a mood stabilizer (like Lithium, Depakote/Valporoic Acid, or Lamictal), and/or an antimania or antipsychotic medication. Sometimes they will also give an antidepressant if there is still a lot of depressive symptoms - but this is almost never done by itself. Everyone is different, and unfortunately, there is no single appropriate medication mix for treated Bipolar Disorder.
To further complicate matters, many people experience negative side effects from these medications. For some, side-effects are minor, and for others the side-effects are worse than the illness itself. And you wont know until you try them.
As depressing as this all sounds, I've seen people who find the right meds for them, and live quite normal, happy lives.
But if you only rely on medication, you aren't likely to thrive. You have to manage your life - keep your stress level low, take excellent care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
When it comes to alternatives to medication - many people try this and fail - even with dangerous consequences. But I have therapy clients who have gotten off all, or most of their medications and replaced them with othomolecular treatment (founded by Linus Pauling in 1968) - meaning, a natural, nutritional approach to healing. The one that I've seen get the most impressive results comes from a company in Canada called TrueHope (www.truehope.com). Those who I've seen succeed on this supplement have been productive, happy, and balanced, with no side effects, and no major mood symptoms since they began. (As of this writing, the longest have been about 2 years).
Those who succeed with this type of treatment also lead very disciplined lives and take excellent care of themselves. So no matter which chemical approach you use, it is always best to view your treatment holistically.
I also recommend omega-3 fatty acids - in the form of fish oil, or krill oil as an important daily supplement for depression and bipolar disorder.