Can Bipolar Disorder Be Controlled Naturally?

I’ve spent a great deal of time talking to people newly diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Inevitably, they ask about controlling Bipolar Disorder through natural means. Can Bipolar Disorder be totally controlled through natural means? I’ve seen no evidence to suggest that it can. I think that the numerous natural practices out there supplement a person’s overall wellness and stability, at best.

I am not a mental health professional or a doctor. However, I am a guy who has talked to literally hundreds of mentally ill people and their families over the past five years. I’ve met people who have believed a great number of things ranging from diet being able to cure their mental illness to people who thought Jesus came to them and exorcised their demons to “Native American secrets they don’t want you to know!” I’ve listened to a hell of a lot of claims.

If Bipolar Disorder can be well-managed or cured through natural means, where are the people doing it? 

Quality of life is an important consideration, even with psych medication. Oh, so your medication knocks you out for sixteen hours a day? A person can’t live that way. Call your doctor and see what should be done about it.

And then you have the people touting a natural approach. “I do X, Y, and Z and I feel AMAZING!” Well, I got news for you. You feel amazing because you’re either borderline manic or high, I can tell by the way you’re ranting at me and exuding energy. It’s obvious to anyone familiar with mania and you probably missed it because you’re escalating.

Here’s a simple pro-tip: if you have Bipolar Disorder and you feel “amazing” for absolutely no reason, start going through your process to make sure your brain isn’t escalating into unwellness. People don’t typically feel amazing for no reason.

I am not telling you to take psychiatric medication. That is a decision only you can make with a qualified professional. What I am telling you is to not delude yourself into thinking that you’re out of the woods because you feel good for the moment. That may not mean a damned thing a week, six months, or a year from now. You should certainly be prepared for a major cycle to kick your teeth down your throat should you trigger.

The Mental Health System is the Most Effective Way to Achieve Wellness

I believe that our flawed mental health system is the most effective way to attain control over mental illness and achieve a greater quality of life. That’s what I’ve seen work for people over and over.

I’ve met several well-balanced people who have achieved years of stability and peace through means offered by the mental health system. On the other hand, I’ve met zero who achieve it through self-medication and substance abuse, prayer, Native American secrets, smoothies, or positive thinking.

There are no shortcuts to achieving mental wellness and stability. It is challenging and it is work. Anyone that says otherwise is either trying to sell you a product or doesn’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. Meaningful change takes time and effort, in all things. Period.

And, if you are a person with Bipolar Disorder who has managed at least a year of stability with a decent quality of life through “natural” anything, I would love to hear from you.

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3 Responses to Can Bipolar Disorder Be Controlled Naturally?

  1. avatar Lou says:

    Great post. I’m sick of idiots thinking bipolar is a fad, a clique, an excuse, a new thing, not that bad, not real and able to devastate people’s lives and turn loved ones into the opposite of who they really are.
    I know there’s generally movement away from drugs / chemicals etc, and a leaning towards eating organic and not covering ourselves, or ingesting quite so many chemicals. All good stuff and makes total sense. But the same mentality cannot be applied when it comes to brain chemistry and the brain’s ability to function normally.
    It’s like saying eat spinach and fish oils to cure dementia. It’s not going to work. A sticking plaster for a broken leg!
    Positive thinking / mindfulness etc are pretty minor supplements to normal minded people, so will have virtually no impact on a serious mental illness.
    All the talk of the natural route does is give false hope and allows someone to remain sick for longer, with all the pain and devastation that accompanies that state of affairs.
    There aren’t enough people like Dennis, brave enough to stand up for what’s right when the traffic seems to be going in the other direction. Too many elephants in too many rooms.

  2. avatar Lou says:

    Also wanted to add that I completely understand why someone wouldn’t relish the prospect of ‘polluting’ their body with medication / chemicals for the rest of their lives (lithium is a naturally occurring substance though of course ). I would be very worried too in that position. BUT, what’s the real alternative? To have nothing but chaos and loss to look forward to? To destroy your life and the lives of those who love you? That’s not an alternative. It’s condemning your life to be a mess, full of pain, self loathing, guilt, regret and all of the other children of Bipolar.
    To my mind this issue, and the stigma aspect, is what stops people from doing what needs to be done. From crossing the threshold of total acceptance.
    Things could be worse. Imagine if there was no treatment available – as is the case with dementia.
    Bipolar IS treatable. That’s really something to be grateful for.
    Gratitude is not a sentiment that springs to mind when talking of this terrible condition, but imagine being locked up in it until the day you die with no way of getting out. It’s the simple matter of the lesser of two evils, with one being massively less than the other.
    So yeah, having medication available that works is a really good thing and not something that should be taken for granted and blindly pushed it away. Bipolars owe it to themselves, and to those who love them, to get it controlled, so that the person they really are doesn’t get swept away again.

    • avatar Dennis says:

      I really don’t have anything to add to your posts. Just acknowledging that they were read and I enjoyed the perspective. Thanks, Lou.

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