By June 26, 2012 11 Comments Read More →

Bi-Polar Disorder: Why is it So Common and How to Alleviate it

The Health Coach, Contributing Writer
Waking Times

If ever there was a truly American psychiatric condition, Bi-polar disorder (aka Manic-depressive disorder) is it. Everything about Society USA promotes such a condition from our youngest ages. As we unpack the several components of the mental and emotional baggage associated with Bi-polar disorder (BPD), you’ll quickly see how easy it is to manage … and then be free of altogether.

Let’s take a close look at the cultures in which BPD is most prevalent. Clearly, we find it showing up in societies which have a high incidence of addictions. Any kind of addictions – nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, recreational drugs, sugar, wheat, sex, gambling, sports, computer, TV, workaholism, etc. Why is there a direct correlation between the two? That’s a very good question you might want to reflect upon, if you feel you might have the manic-depressive tendency.

First, we see that addictions are an extreme response to life’s pressures, as is BPD. They are also frequently learned from previous generations, especially here in America. Every immigrant had(s) to deal with extraordinary challenges to make it in a foreign land. The first generation to join the melting pot often evolved coping behaviors which allowed them to survive. Especially when things got real tough, which they often did.

The lack of real community in a nation of workaholics or sportaholics and computerholics also makes for a dearth of social opportunities to communicate shared experience. When life is moving very fast, as it is today, this lack of a necessary social support system becomes all the more influential. What then happens is that the individual often resorts to going it alone, which is already highly encouraged by American society.

We’ve heard all the mantras promoting self-sufficiency.

  • Be all you can be.
  • The road to the top is a lonely one.
  • Climb the ladder to the top by yourself even if it’s a lonely journey.
  • If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.
  • It’s a dog eat dog world.

Truly, American independence, pioneering, self-reliance, autonomy and individualism are hardwired into our very being. The acculturation process, as soon as we are born, encourages us to attain success however possible … and to win at all cost. And that our material success can be acquired by single-minded determination and self initiative.

This approach to life can be very isolating. It can also move us gradually into an emotional and psychological posture toward life that deprives us from constructive sources of feedback and input. As we rely only on ourselves to always “get the job done” or “achieve the stated goal”, we push ourselves beyond our limits. Then we seek out crutches and comforts in the form of the many aforementioned addictions. Thus begins the inexorable slide into a psychiatric profile which can be defined by manic or depressive behavior and symptoms.

Many people throughout Western society are perpetually in the state of hypomania. Our society so rewards the type of achievement and production which such individuals can accomplish in so short a period of time that they usually move through life undiagnosed. When a hypomanic episode does emerge, they are usually drugged temporarily so as to keep them within the range of socially acceptable behavior. The underlying pattern then continues until they develop a full blown case of BPD requiring serious intervention, sometimes hospitalization.

Pharmaceutical medications are not the answer, but may be necessary as a short term intervention.

When the various anti-depressants and other psycho-active drugs are routinely employed in the treatment of these mind maladies, great care ought to be taken. Here are some reasons why:

  1. These drugs only treat the superficial symptoms, not the real causes.
  2. They have proven to have extremely serious side effects, both physical and psychological.
  3. Many have proven to have an addictive quality which is very difficult to break.
  4. Dangerous behavior to others and oneself can be triggered the longer one is on these meds, especially when one tries to get off the medication altogether without proper monitoring and supervision.
  5. These powerful pharmaceuticals only serve to mask the real source of the illness and therefore divert necessary attention away from the root causes.
  6. They also promote a lack of clarity just when the individual really needs to get real with themselves.

What we suggest is that anyone who labors under one, or more of these prescriptions at the same time, read the adverse side effects which are listed by law. Get on the internet and go to the numerous forums which have been started by those who have been addicted or harmed by these powerful psychoactive drugs. In fact, the many bizarre behaviors and acts of violence that we see across the headline news are often committed by those who have been under the influence of these mind-altering drugs.

The truth is that the very drugs used to treat ailments like BPD often contribute to the evolution of other mental and emotional conditions, which will also require remediation at some point. These medications can also become toxic with prolonged use adding to the total toxin body burden which present additional challenges concerning physical health. Clearly, the middle of a manic-depressive episode demands an immediate stripping away of all the co-factors which are contributing to the acute phase. What we ingest – in the form of food, drink, and meds both natural and synthetic – all influence our capacity to recover and maintain our balance.

Diet ~ Diet ~ Diet

We cannot overemphasize the role of diet in determining the success in overcoming BPD. Correlations have been made with certain foods which exacerbate some of the primary symptoms. The following list of foods and ingredients that ought to be strictly avoided if you find yourself at either end of a manic-depressive state.

  • caffeine
  • alcohol
  • white sugar
  • nicotine
  • white, refined wheat products
  • all recreational drugs, especially the synthetic version
  • any pharmaceutical drug that isn’t absolutely necessary
  • a meat-free diet is highly recommended
  • dairy should be avoided when allergy is present
  • any other known allergy-producing foods such as eggs, peanuts, shellfish, soy, corn, citrus, etc. should also be strictly avoided

In order to prevent our children from developing allergies which might contribute to BPD-like symptoms, we have provided a link to Allergies.About.com.

Top 7 Food Allergies in Children

Very few know, but it is often a hidden food allergy that serves as a major co-factor in the etiology of BPD. When you throw a bunch of these allergies, intolerances and sensitivities into the mix, the road to recovery can be as difficult as it will remain elusive. Therefore, it is imperative for any sufferer of BPD to have a 120 food panel allergy test conducted, but only from a reputable lab.

The only four labs which we have used in this regard are as follows:

  • Metametrix Clinical Laboratory
  • US BioTek Laboratories
  • Genova Diagnostics
  • Optimum Health Resource Laboratories (esp. for Spanish-speaking clients)

These kinds of food allergy tests must be conducted properly otherwise you will receive false positives and false negatives. In order to avoid that situation, the current medical system ought to be avoided where it concerns their lab work in this particular regard. Obviously hospital labs do a lot of other very important good work, but allergy testing is still operating at a very crude level.

Daily Practices To Incorporate Into Lifestyle

The following practices ought to be seriously considered if you are to permanently be rid of BPD:

  1. A daily walk, in nature if possible
  2. Aerobic exercise which makes you feel good
  3. Hatha Yoga or Tai Chi
  4. Perform service for someone other than yourself
  5. Less talking, more listening
  6. Regular and sound sleep
  7. Moderate diet, especially avoidance of over-eating
  8. Meditation and breathwork
  9. Self Inquiry and Contemplation of life’s purpose
  10. Watch spiritually edifying videos
  11. Listen to classical music or alpha wave music

Things to be avoided as much as possible are as follows:

  • Avoid TV unless it is uplifting and positive
  • Avoid recreational drugs of any kind
  • Avoid what you know to be bad company, especially if they bring out the worst
  • Avoid too much stimulation wherever you go
  • Best not too read negative books and internet material
  • Stressful situations which do not require your assistance can be left to those who are able and willing

The more you perform the DOs and stay away from the DON’Ts, the more you will see a change in your life. Your overall response to life’s challenges and obstacles will begin to lighten and flow. If you can change your attitude toward yourself and the world in two (2) ways in particular, a major shift in consciousness will occur.

I. Try not to take anything personally — yes, easier said than done, but just try it.

II. Try not to take anything too seriously

Best Advice for those in the depressive state:

Practice gratitude whenever possible. Chronic depression is the result of chronic ingratitude. When one realizes what they have to be grateful for, sadness and depression will naturally flee. Of course, we do all the other things which have been outlined so as to put the odds in your favor of forever being free of Bi-polar Disorder.

May you enjoy great health,
The Health Coach

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Since The Health Coach and Waking Times do not diagnose, treat, mitigate, cure, or heal any type of disease or medical condition, the information contained at this website is not intended to provide specific physical, mental, emotional or psychological health advice. We are not licensed medical professionals and conduct ourselves in a manner consistent with those who offer information for the consideration of the reader.

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11 Comments on "Bi-Polar Disorder: Why is it So Common and How to Alleviate it"

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  1. Cassy says:

    Very informative article. The diet recommendation should be
    followed by everyone. Milk and milk products should never be
    taken into the diet. If you knew what happens to the cows to
    produce and what is added to the milk, you would NEVER look at milk
    the same way again.

    This is an excellent prescription to better health and mental
    health.

    • PTRMOORE says:

      I consume mostly milk by products as whey,cheese,cottage cheese,yogurt milk in coffee and I have no problems with it now but mine is likely New Zealand produces or Australian as I live in Australia.

  2. ed says:

    Thanks for the article.

    There is a lot of good information there and I completely agree that diet plays a huge role in mental health.

    I personally believe that cognitive dissonance plays a large part of mental disorders.

    Knowing things on a base level that are contradicted in the world around us is harmful.

    If we inherently know on a base, perhaps subconscious level, that we are social people and rely on interpersonal relationships and communities but are constantly told ‘the road to the top is a lonely one’, the difference between these two concepts create a chasm. From this chasm, mental illness appears (in my opinion). If America is the land of the free and the brave, why are we so over-regulated and how brave is it to murder innocents abroad? The divide between what we know to be true and what we are told is true is vast. This offers cognitive dissonance, and confusion, and ill mental health.

    Just a thought.

  3. Linder says:

    There is only one HUGE flaw in your article. The fact that BP is inherited. And just HOW to you change one’s diet and illegal drug activity when they are extremely manipulative and are know it alls? Answer – you don’t. I’ve been around several family members who are BP and refuse to change anything. The only thing they seem to know how to do is get on disability and ocllect money each month so they can go and buy more dope. If the government dropped all BP’s off disability they would change their habits in a heartbeat. Coddling them does not work.

  4. mk says:

    Great article – just so you know …the nomenclature *BPD* is most often reserved for Borderline Personality Disorder ( which is extremely frightening and also increasingly endemic to our society ; our jails are full of people with BPD.

  5. Rick Donovan says:

    There’s been a lot of progress in the scientific and psyciatric fields in the last 15 years. People who have not dealt with something like BPD are just not gonna care much about the new stuff out there, and they maintain their bias. Just put “Neuroendocrine basis for mental illness”, and go from there.

    With all that being said, maybe the most critical aspect is the question of how well a mentally ill patient contributes to their treatment by learning about their disease and rebuilding themselves from the ground up a little at a time.

  6. unit says:

    the ones who continually battle through their love affair with the world are the ones who have clarity.

  7. Bret Warshawsky says:

    Great article… so much to say and ask you about.. I will be contacting you in the near future for some feedback and insight as I continue on my path transforming mental illness into a blessing and sooner than later, share that with people and all of the alternative methods (that you mention) that are available.

    Once again, thank you and be well.

  8. There is a lot of misinformation in this article that I, as a bipolar patient, simply must point out.

    “Bi-Polar Disorder: Why is it So Common and How to Alleviate it”

    According to the National Institute of Mental Health, bipolar disorder affects 2.6% of the US population aged 18 and above. The flu is “so common”. Bipolar disorder is not.

    “As we unpack the several components of the mental and emotional baggage associated with Bi-polar disorder (BPD), you’ll quickly see how easy it is to manage … and then be free of altogether.”

    Bipolar disorder is a life-long condition and there is no proven medical nor non-medical treatment that can get rid of this illness completely. If there is, please support your statement by attaching some form of evidence.

    “Every immigrant had(s) to deal with extraordinary challenges to make it in a foreign land.”

    This is superfluous. Are you writing an essay about American history or about bipolar disorder? Get to the point.

    “They also promote a lack of clarity just when the individual really needs to get real with themselves.”

    Bipolar patients find it difficult to attain a sense of reality and that is precisely why we need to be treated with therapy and medication. Getting psychiatric treatment is how we’re “getting real” with ourselves.

    “Get on the internet and go to the numerous forums which have been started by those who have been addicted or harmed by these powerful psychoactive drugs.”

    This is a harmful advice. People shouldn’t seek advice from online forums because they’re not established by medical professionals. If you (the reader) think you have a mental health issue, please speak to your doctor about it.

    “Best not too read negative books and internet material”

    This contradicts the statement that you’ve made earlier.

    “Chronic depression is the result of chronic ingratitude.”

    This angers me to no end. When I’m depressed, I’m not able to feel any sort of positive emotion. I can’t even feel the love provided by my family members or my friends, so how can I feel gratitude? What I’m referring to is clinical depression which is part and parcel of bipolar disorder. Clinical depression is a result of chemical imbalance and not “chronic ingratitude.”

    “~~ Help Waking Times to raise the vibration by sharing this article with the buttons below…”

    No thank you. I get far better advice from Healthy Places and Natasha Tracy.

  9. Please do not overlook the nutritional factors in bipolar disorder. The brain is 60% fat, mostly EPA and DHA. Most people with bipolar are not getting enough of these in their diet. Seafood is the best source. Feeding the brain what it needs revoves the cause of the problem, instead of suppressing it with drugs. This is especially important during pregnancy. Andrew Stoll MD, in The Omega-3 Connection, published in 2001, describes his studies of patients with treatment-resistant major depression. These patients had not responded to treatment with any conventional antidepressants, but when fish oil was added, even the patients were surprised at their improvement. This makes sense because without omega-3 fatty acids, the brain cannot function normally, so even the strongest antidepressant will be ineffective. He then went on to studies of patients with bipolar disorder. In 1997 he presented the results of a planned nine-month double-blind placebo-controlled study of thirty high-risk patients with bipolar disorder, treated with fish oil. A four month preliminary analysis of the data showed such amazing results with fish oil compared to patients on placebo, who were no better or even getting worse, that he cut the study short and offered fish oil to all participants, and published the results in the Archives of General Psychiatry. In the bipolar study, he gave patients 9.6 grams of omega-3 per day, (6.2 of EPA and 3.4 of DHA), but he finds that in clinical practice, 2 to 5 grams per day is adequate for most patients.

  10. Mauricio says:

    I restored my mental health just using omega 3, after two years of medication and no hope. Using omega 3 and avoiding food such as sugar, all kind of grains, and all kind of refined food.

    I was really ill. Don’t trust prescription drugs, a lot of cures to mental illnes comes from natural ways.

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