Mood disorders such as bipolar, schitzoeffective, and depression are very distressing for the inflicted person and family members witnessing the symptoms associates with it. There are various ways to manage mental illness. Psychiatric therapy is very beneficial in the beginning stages of the illness with regards to minimizing symptoms and preventing future outbreaks.
Note: Do not replace medications for non-standardized supplements. If you need to taper off of a certain medication, always work with a specialized psychiatrist to slowly taper the medication slowly and gradually. Medicine is always the best route to contain the illness, however, natural methods can dampen the cycles and perhaps decrease the dose-dependency over time. There is always an ounce of hope to restore balance within the body.
The Father of Medicine
Hippocrates, known as the Father of Medicine, made the following statement still resonating today in the health community.
All disease begins in the gut."
The body and the mind are intricately connected. Neurotransmitter communication is heavily reliant on the outer cells, which transmit the information. Inflammation and stagnation are two factors which disrupt the communication network. There is a reason the gut is considered the second brain. Bacteria residing in the gut, for instance, help produce b vitamins for energy production, regulate detoxification, and act as building blocks to neurotransmitters. The following sections outline methods for managing mood disorders regardless of genetics.
There is a strong relationship between mood disorders and sleep problems. Many cycles in life control our well being, for instance. For instance, the hormone, digestive, and circadian cycles greatly impact our mood cycle. A natural feedback loop exists between these cycles. If our circadian rhythm is out of balance, then the other cycles will shift and become imbalanced over time. It should come to no surprise that anyone inflicted with a mood disorder is very sensitive to disrupted sleep patterns.
The mood cycle is analogous to the blood sugar cycle, which is regulated by the response to insulin. A non-diabetic would experience a smooth transition from the peak to the trough concerning blood sugar levels. In the pre-diabetic stage, the blood sugar levels start oscillating at a higher frequency. The cycles then become less smooth and more chaotic. The overall magnitude of each cycle will then increase. Once diabetes takes hold, blood sugar stays at a constant high unless insulin is taken directly to control it.
The constant shift between mania and depression in bipolar and schitzoefective disorders is similar to the pre-diabetic stage. If the course of events is not well controlled, then a state of dysphoria will take hold due to brain inflammation. To counter these circumstances, achieving balance is pivotal.
Building a routine is essential for minimizing the spikes of each cycle and maintaining a balanced lifestyle. For instance, balance helps the body conserve energy. This is useful to bounce out of depression. Stress is a very common trigger for mood episodes because it creates an imbalance. Stress could be created due to external events or internal chemistry changes. If random changes triggers mood swings, then it is best to maintain order. To do so, focus on planning ahead of time to prevent stress.
Proper Sleep Schedule
Maintaining a rigid sleep pattern is critical for preventing any chemical shifts. Notice that once the body starts adapting to something, the effects are dampened over time. If we drink a fixed quantity of alcohol every day, then the level of toxicity declines due to the adaptation of the body. A proper sleep schedule, for instance, allows the body to adjust to its circadian rhythm. Because hormones and blood sugar are sensitive to changes in sleep patterns, it is crucial to develop a routine.
The same concept holds for diet. If we continually introduce new foods at different times, the body finds it hard to adjust to our eating schedule. Therefore, it is important to follow a rigid routine with regards to diet when suffering from a mood disorder. This allows the body to acclimate to any chemistry changes, which helps dampen the cycles. Maintaining a rigid routine will not necessarily prevent a future manic outbreak or depressive episode, but it will surely dampen the intensity of the cycles.
Eliminate Drugs and Alcohol
Drug and alcohol addictions are commonplace for anyone in the depressive or manic phases of mood disorders. The problem is that these addictions create inflammation and internal stress on the body. There are two common classes of neurotransmitters- inhibitory and excitatory. GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter increases upon consumption of alcohol. Due to the calming effect of GABA, alcohol can be quite addicting. Excluding alcohol is key to start the recovery process.
Bipolar patients often consume copious amounts of alcohol during mania because it can help calm down anxiety, to an extent. The problem is that it also triggers and worsens manic and depressive symptoms. Consumption of drugs and alcohol causes large energy shifts within the body. These energy shifts reinforce imbalances, which inevitably increase mood swings. Eliminating the poison will begin the road to recovery from mood disorders.
Becoming aware of how the mind affects the body is crucial for building up strength and resistance against the illness. Meditation increases alpha and theta brain waves, which promotes a calm state of mind. Alpha and theta brain waves run at a lower frequency than beta brain waves, which promote alertness. Beta waves running in overdrive, however, exhaust energy and promote anxiety.
Meditation acts to offset the negative effects of beta waves and restore a state of balance. The crash that occurs after a manic episode relates to the amount of energy required to sustain it. Practicing meditation daily strengthens the internal core and conserves energy reserves. Meditation helps us understand how the mind affects the body because it gives us inner awareness. If practiced accordingly, meditation can dampen the cycles of depression and mania.
L-Theanine and Alpha Brain Waves
L theanine is a natural substance found in green tea. Its concentration is higher in young tea leaves such as matcha powder. L theanine shows promise to help reduce anxiety and increase alpha brain waves. Many people who switch from coffee to green tea notice less jitters due to its relaxing properties. Because L theanine targets alpha waves, it reduces the onset of sleep. Matcha tea is energizing and relaxing at the same time. For this reason, l theanine is a good addition to meditation.
Every Action Has An Equal and Opposite Reaction
We tend to notice how excess sugar can lead to sleepiness and lethargy. A large surge in blood sugar forces the body to dump extra insulin to counter the rise. This creates a rapid dip in blood sugar back to baseline. The large energy shift is taxing on the body, which results in lethargy. By gaining awareness, we avoid large energy shifts. Stimulants, for instance, trigger shifts in the mood cycle. Because stimulants potentiate stress, the best practice is to consume moderately.
I dealt with recurring depression, anxiety, and mood swings for the past ten years. I suffered chronic anxiety for two years before succumbing to my first bout of depression. The energy that is required to deal with constant anxiety was so immense that depression seemed inevitable.
I used a medicinal herb known as ashwagandha(Indian ginseng) to ultimately overcome my anxiety. It was a long battle, but I persevered by trying different methods for recovery. Ashwagandha is an extensively studied herb in the literature. It is classified as an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body build up resistance to stress. This is critical because mood disorders are attributed to stress. Once an imbalance forms, the inner chemistry becomes dysregulated.
Ashwagandha helps strengthen the adrenal glands, which will ultimately minimize the reaction to stress. For instance, if stress is a trigger for mania or depression, then the reaction will ultimately be dampened by supplementing with ashwagandha. It also nourishes the thyroid gland and is known to increase the conversion of inactive t4 hormone to the active t3 hormone. This will mitigate the problems associated with psychiatric drugs with regards to metabolism.
1. Used medicinally over many generations.
2. Helps reduce blood sugar levels.
3. May exhibit canver fighting properties.
4. Reduces the stress hormone- Cortisol.
5. Eases stress and tension.
6. May act as an anti-depressant.
7. Increases testosterone levels.
8. Improves athletic performance.
9. May decrease inflammation
10. Assists in lowering cholesterol and triglycerides.
Mood disorders can be very difficult to manage without psychiatric intervention, however, there are various natural methods that initiate the healing process. Focusing on a scheduled routine with regards to sleep patterns, food intake, and other lifestyle choices will help minimize stressors and dampen the cycles of depression or mania. By gradually eliminating drugs and alcohol, the body can regain strength and vigor. Building up a strong core is pivotal for resisting stress over time. Meditation provides a space to build awareness of external stressors. Slowing down the frequency of brain waves helps manage anxiety and offsets the damage from excitatory neurotransmitters.
Welcome to my site. I am Mark Hurley and I enjoy researching topics relating to Physiology, Psychology, Philosophy, and Mathematics. I have successfully reversed hormonal deficiency due to stress and created this blog to share with you what I've learned on my road to recovery.