Ayurvedic treatment for Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder

Know More on Psychiatry/Mental diseases

  • Definition
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Management
  • FAQS
  • References

Definition

Bipolar disorder Ayurvedic treatment

WHAT IS BIPOLAR DISORDER?

  1. BPD or Bipolar disorder is also called as a ‘manic-depressive illness’. It is a type of neurological disorder that leads to unusual variations in mood, energy and activity levels. It can drastically affect the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.1

    In BPD, the mood of the affected person fluctuates from either extremely elated (known as manic episodes) to very sad depressing mood (depressive episodes).1

    Bipolar disorder and Ayurveda

    In Ayurveda classics no special description of Bipolar disorder as an individual condition is mentioned, but all type of mental disorders are classified under the heading of ‘Unmada’.2

    Unmada may be caused due to consumption of incompatible foods, emotional/ psychological shocks which may affect the mind and lead to genesis of psychiatric disorders. Poor dietary habits usually lead to Vishada (sadness or sorrow) because of Pragya-paradha (inability to recognize who we are or what we want).2

Causes

Bipolar disorder

BIPOLAR DISORDER CAUSES

There is no single cause identified for BPD. In fact, it is likely that there are many factors which contribute such as - 1

  • Brain structure and function: People having BPD have a different structuring and programming of the brain.
  • Genetics: Some people with certain types of genes are at higher risk of BPD.
  • Family History: BPD can run in families.

Symptoms

Bipolar disorder

BIPOLAR DISORDER SYMPTOMS

Those who suffer from BPD have periods of unusually intense emotional behaviors. They may have changes in sleep patterns and activity levels leading to ‘mood episodes’.1

These ‘mood episode’ may show both - symptoms of mania and depression.1

Some common symptoms of manic periods (or “highs”) of bipolar disorder are:1

  • Feeling too/unusual optimistic
  • Energetic even after less sleeping
  • Rapid talking
  • Not clear communication – jumping from one idea to another
  • Easily distracted
  • Delusions
  • hallucinations

Some common symptoms of depressive periods (or “lows”) of bipolar disorder are:1

  • Feeling of sadness and hopelessness
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Changes in weight and eating pattern
  • Weakness
  • Suicidal thoughts (in severe cases)
  • Easily irritable

Sometimes, episodes can involve both manic and depressive symptoms. These are called episodes with mixed features.

Diagnosis

Bipolar disorder

BIPOLAR DISORDER DIAGNOSIS

Complaints are usually brought to attention by a family member or caregiver. Diagnosis is usually done after a complete a physical exam to rule out other conditions. Additionally a mental health evaluation is also done to ascertain BPD.1

Management

Bipolar disorder

AYURVEDIC TIPS FOR BIPOLAR DISORDER

Ayurveda considers prassana atma (pleasant soul), indriya (senses) and mana (mind) beside the equilibrium of dosha, dhatu and mala as swastha (Health). Observing the basic practices of wellbeing ensures a healthy and happy life. All these are helpful to maintain proper mental health as well manage any mental illness.2

Intellect promoting or Medhya drugs such as Mandukaparni (Centella asiatica Linn.), Yastimadhu (Glycirrhiza glabra Linn.), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia (Wild) Miers) and Shankhapushpi (Convolvulus pleuricaulis Chois) are beneficial in these conditions.

Ayurveda describes Satvavajaya (Psychiatric counselling), Daiva Vyapashraya Chikitsa (Worship Enchanting etc) and hetu viparitarthakari and paraspar pratidvanda chikitsa or the therapies that involves antagonistic treatments with favourable patient outcomes. 2

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

Diet vastly affects the agni, tridoshas and the manas (mind). A wholesome healthy diet is essential for mental health and happiness.2

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

  • Achar rasayan (Good behavior and lifestyle) influences the Pravar Satva (Higher mental equilibrium). Yogasanas as exercise regimen are shown to be effective and helpful in reducing stress.2

     

    Some asanas that are helpful are 2 -

     

    • Dhanurasana:

     

    Tones the flanks . It relieves stress and fatigue.

     

    • Shavasana:

    Savasana has a regenerative effect on the mind and the body. It provides relief from any kind of stress and strain in just a few minutes. It is a good activity for managing restlessness, insecurity, frustration, anxiety, and fear.3

     

    • Nadishodhan pranayama (alternate nostril breathing).

    Helps in concentration, strengthens the nerves and focuses the mind.

     

    • Bhramari Pranayama

    Regular performing Bhramari Pranayama can lead to positive thoughts and feelings of happiness.

     

    Panchakarma

    Panchakarma is a purification and detoxification treatment that helps maintain good state of health. For patients going through manic phase, virechana (cleansing therapy) is recommended and for those in a depressed state of mind, vamana (vomit therapy) is recommended. Snehana (Oleation) with medicated oils through abhyanga (Ayurvedic massage) is also a key therapy. Shirodhara (flowing oil on the forehead) and shirobasti (oil in a crown on the head) are also highly recommended as they have direct positive action on the brain and mind.

FAQS

Bipolar disorder
  1. Why is stress bad for my health?
    Stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. If left unchecked, stress can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Some of the common effect that stress can cause but we may not realize are -
  • Headache,
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Change in sex drive
  • Stomach upset
  • Sleep problems etc.

Hence it is very important that stress should not be ignored as a condition and immediate medical support should be sought for it.

  1. What are the reasons for depression/How does depression happen?

There are no specific reasons that can lead to depression. Every person responds to any situation in different ways.

Yet, depression can happen to anyone and at any age, but often begins in adulthood. Depression is now being diagnosed in children and adolescents too. There are no specific risk factors, but following things increase the chances of someone to have depression -

  • Personal or family history of depression
  • Major life changes, trauma, or stress
  • Certain physical illnesses and medications
  1. What is addiction? How does it affect someone?

Addiction refers to the dependence on a legal or illegal drug, alcohol or medication. When addicted, people are not able to control their use of the substance, and may continue using the drug despite the harm it causes. Alcohol/drug addiction can cause serious, long-term consequences, including problems with physical and mental health, relationships, employment, and the law.

  1. Why do I feel anxious without any apparent reason?

While the exact cause of generalized anxiety isn't fully understood, it's likely that a combination of several factors plays a role. Research has suggested that these may include over activity in areas of the brain involved in emotions and behavior or it may be genetic in origin. Often use of drugs, smoking or alcohol can be an underlying cause of anxiety.

However, many people develop anxiety for no apparent reason and it is therefore advisable to report it to the doctor and work towards managing the condition.

  1. Do children suffer from depression?

While depression is generally associated with adults or senior citizens, it is not uncommon for children to be diagnosed with both depression and an anxiety disorder, or depression and general anxiety.

Children whose parents have depression are at a greater risk of being depressed. Depression in children often presents with irritability, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, Change in school grades, getting into trouble at school, or refusing to go to school, change in eating habits etc. These symptoms should not be ignored and possibility of depression in such children may be considered.

  1. How is Bipolar disorder caused? Is it only genetic?

A lot of research in neuropsychology has shown that there is research has shown that there is no single cause responsible for BPD. Instead, it is likely that many factors contribute to the illness or increase risk. Genetics is just one of them.

While research suggests that people with certain genes are more likely to develop bipolar disorder than others, it is also seen that genes are not the only risk factor for bipolar disorder. Studies of identical twins have shown that even if one twin develops bipolar disorder, the other twin does not always develop the disorder, despite the fact that identical twins share all of the same genes.

  1. Are phobias serious to a personal health?

Generally speaking, a ‘phobia’ is an overwhelming and unreasonable fear of an object or situation that poses little real danger but provokes anxiety and avoidance in the sufferer. Although many feel that phobias are harmless, they can be destructive to those who have them, causing the following problems that affect many aspects of life - such as social isolation, depression, lead to substance abuse, and may be the reason behind suicide too.

  1. Are there any specific herbs that are specifically used to improve mental faculties?

Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia describes the various herbs and their qualities in details. Certain herbs belonging to the class of Medhya drugs such as Mandukaparni (Centella asiatica), Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Jatamansi (Nordostachys jatamansi) and Yastimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra) are considered amongst herbs that improve mental faculties and should be used often as a part of diet and lifestyle especially for children.

  1. What are the common symptoms of dementia? Is any memory loss called Dementia?

Dementia is a syndrome (a group of related symptoms) associated with an ongoing decline of the brain and its abilities. A common symptom is memory loss but it is not the only symptom. Other problems can be low thinking speed, diminished mental agility, problems with language, understanding and judgement.

People with dementia can become apathetic or uninterested in their usual activities, and have problems controlling their emotions. They may also find social situations challenging, lose interest in socializing, and aspects of their personality may change.

  1. I often forget things or important tasks. Do I have Alzheimer’s disease?

Occasional forgetfulness or missing things due to lack of concentration or time may not necessarily be a serious condition. But if you continuously forget things or tend to forget simple day to day tasks – this may be an indication of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Any progressive memory loss should not be ignored and bought to medical attention, even if it seems negligible or not serious.

  1. I had a road rage incident today, I feel nervous and afraid to ride on the road again. Why is this so?

It is natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic situation. Fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to help defend against danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a typical reaction meant to protect a person from harm. Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet most people recover from initial symptoms naturally. Those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD. Anyone can develop PTSD at any age. This includes war veterans, children, and people who have been through a physical or sexual assault, abuse, accident, disaster, or many other serious events. This needs to be bought to medical attention and can be managed with counseling and therapy.

  1. What are the consequences of inattentiveness or weak memory of school children? Does this need to be cared for?

A weak memory leading to learning problems can have long term adverse social and economic outcomes. They include grade repetition, behavioral disorders, mood and self-esteem difficulties and school failure during the school years, and unemployment and poverty in adulthood. By using medhya rasayana, Ayurved promises improvement in working memory and improved grades ad performance among school children.

  1. What is post partum depression? Does every new mother go through it?

New mothers generally report ‘baby blues’ immediately after childbirth, which commonly include mood swings, crying spells, anxiety and difficulty sleeping. These symptoms typically begin within the first two to three days after delivery, and may last for up to two weeks. But some mothers experience a more severe, long-lasting form of depression known as postpartum depression (PPD). Uncommonly, an extreme mood disorder called postpartum psychosis also may develop after childbirth.

References

Bipolar disorder
  1. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Bipolar disorder. Available at https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml#part_145403 accessed Aug 26th
  2. Charak Samhita of Agnivesha. Vidhyotini Hindi Vyakhya- Sastry K & Chaturvedi G – Editors. Chaukhambha Bharati Academy, Varanasi 221001. Reprint 2011. Chapter 9.
  3. Charak Samhita of Agnivesha. Vidhyotini Hindi Vyakhya- Sastry K & Chaturvedi G – Editors. Chaukhambha Bharati Academy, Varanasi 221001. Reprint 2011. Chapter 1
  4. Mittal SK et. al. Role Of Ayurveda And Yoga In Mental Disorder Or Mental Illness. IAMJ. Oct 2014; Vol. 2(5): 664-71
  5. Dabur: Ayurvedic products and drugs. Available at http://www.daburmediclub.com/product.aspx accessed on Aug 19th 2016.

Disclaimer: The information on this page is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or ayurvedic treatment of psychiatry-mental-diseases and/or bipolar disorder without consulting the doctor. Consult your physician before beginning an exercise regime. "While we have products /ayurvedic medicines for psychiatry-mental-diseases and/or bipolar disorder, you must consult an authorized physician before taking any of the products. For more information on products, visit www.dabur.com or call 1800-103-1644"