10 Alternative Treatments for Bipolar Disorder


Some people with bipolar disorder have reported that using alternative treatments provides relief from symptoms. Scientific evidence supports many of the benefits in treating depression. But the effectiveness in treating bipolar disorder requires more research.

Always check with your doctor before starting any alternative treatments. Supplements and therapies may interact with your medication and cause unintended side effects. Alternative treatments shouldn’t replace traditional treatments or medications. Some people have reported feeling increased benefits when combining the two together.

1. Fish oil

Fish oil and fish are common sources of two of the three main types of omega-3 fatty acids:

  • eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  • docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

These fatty acids may affect the chemicals in your brain associated with mood disorders.

Bipolar disorder seems to be less common in countries where people consume fish and fish oil. People with depression also tend to have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood. Omega-3 fatty acids may help:

  • reduce irritability and aggression
  • maintain mood stability
  • reduce depression symptoms
  • improve brain function

You can take fish oil supplements to help reach this daily amount. However, fish oil supplements may have side effects that include:

  • nausea
  • heartburn
  • stomach pain
  • bloating
  • belching
  • diarrhea

2. Rhodiola rosea

Rhodiola rosea (arctic root or golden root) may help treat mild to moderate depression. R. roseais a mild stimulant and may cause insomnia. Other side effects include vivid dreaming and nausea.

Ask your doctor before taking R. rosea, especially if you have a history of breast cancer. This herb binds with estrogen receptors and may increase your risk of breast cancer.

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