Bipolar Disorder Treatment with out Medication: Is It Possible?

Bipolar dysfunction treatment can have unwanted effects, however there are dangers concerned in not taking it, too. We take a look at the professionals and cons.

If the concept of taking treatment doesn’t attraction to you, you’re not alone.

Maybe you favor to not take any capsules if it may be averted. Or it might be that you just really feel like your bipolar dysfunction treatment isn’t serving to otherwise you’re nervous in regards to the unwanted effects.

While these are legitimate considerations you can talk about with a health care provider, remember that drugs may assist ease bipolar dysfunction signs or the variety of episodes you expertise.

If you’ve been identified with bipolar dysfunction, know that therapy plans differ. You can with a health care provider about potential unwanted effects, and any signs you’re already experiencing, to discover a upkeep plan that’s best for you.

Bipolar dysfunction is a psychological well being situation that may trigger excessive shifts in temper or power ranges. Formerly often known as manic despair, it impacts about 4.4% of individuals within the United States.

There are various kinds of bipolar dysfunction and the signs can vary in severity. Depending on the kind, individuals could expertise these distinct states:

  • mania or hypomania: durations of excessive power and elevated moods, once you really feel elated, energized, or irritable
  • despair: durations of low power and temper ranges, once you really feel unhappy, detached, depressed, or hopeless

Some individuals go years between manic and depressed episodes, whereas others expertise them in fast succession.

Bipolar dysfunction is a lifelong, progressive psychological well being situation, which signifies that it requires long-term therapy. The signs received’t go away on their very own — and these signs can negatively affect the individual’s well being, security, and high quality of life.

That’s why some mixture of treatment, psychotherapy, and life-style modification is commonly a part of therapy — although your bipolar dysfunction therapy plan is restricted to what sort of bipolar dysfunction you’ve got and your signs.

Medication can assist stabilize your moods so that you don’t expertise as many manic or depressive episodes. This stability additionally makes remedy and private routines doable and more practical.

“Manic or depressive symptoms may occur much more frequently in individuals who are untreated with this condition,” explains Joseph Swider, MD, a psychiatrist at Heading Health.

“Medication is the cornerstone of treatment because, in addition to treating a current episode, medication can prevent the next episode from occurring.”

Plus, Swider says, different therapy strategies, corresponding to remedy, are “almost impossible” when somebody is at present experiencing a manic episode.

That’s why “bipolar disorder is not something to treat with psychotherapy alone,” explains Caitlin Billings, LCSW. “Most people who choose to not take medication battle for balance and struggle with major role obligations, such as parenting, employment, managing finances, and maintaining stable long-term relationships.”

“The sooner a person explores medication and finds a suitable prescription for bipolar, the better the prognosis,” Billings shares. Medication and the soundness it could possibly deliver can enhance your day by day high quality of life.

However, some individuals expertise treatment unwanted effects that they’ll’t tolerate. These unwanted effects are the principle cause individuals with bipolar dysfunction cease taking their treatment.

There are dangers to residing with untreated bipolar dysfunction, although some individuals do. They usually selected to handle their bipolar dysfunction signs with different therapy strategies, to combined success.

Untreated bipolar dysfunction can result in severe and harmful signs, together with:

Impulsive actions or psychosis

When somebody is at present experiencing a manic episode, they’re extra prone to participating in dangerous conduct, together with:

  • extreme consuming
  • harmful driving
  • impulsive spending
  • dangerous sexual exercise
  • aggression

These behaviors can put you prone to:

  • lack of work
  • substance use dysfunction
  • strained or unhealthy private relationships
  • monetary or authorized points
  • sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • points with legislation enforcement
  • unintentional dying

“When in a manic episode, an individual may lose the ability to reason abstractly or concretely and may become much more impulsive or even psychotic,” explains Swider. “It’s these psychotic symptoms or impulsive acts which may occur when an individual is manic that could result in emotional, occupational, or financial harm.”

While psychosiscan occur throughout each manic and depressive states, it’s most typical throughout manic episodes. Symptoms embody:

  • hallucinations
  • delusions
  • incoherent or irrational ideas
  • jumbled speech
  • lack of know-how

Suicidal ideas and makes an attempt

Untreated bipolar dysfunction may result in elevated suicidal ideas — particularly throughout a depressive section.

A 2015 study estimates that 25%–60% of individuals with bipolar dysfunction try suicide no less than as soon as of their lives. Between 4% and 19% die by suicide.

Progressive mind injury

Research means that untreated bipolar dysfunction can result in a collection of structural modifications within the mind that trigger long-term injury. This is as a result of, explains Billings, “the disorder results from unstable brain chemistry, which over time and with each episode, can degrade brain matter and lead to more and more uncontrolled episodes.”

An older 2003 study discovered that bipolar dysfunction might probably trigger lack of an vital amino acid (NAA) within the mind, which is vital in regulating emotion and reminiscence; other research has discovered that it could possibly trigger progressive grey matter loss.

A 2015 long-running study discovered that manic episodes led to decreased quantity in sure elements of the mind, pointing to the progressive results of bipolar dysfunction.

There are a number of totally different sorts of treatment used to deal with bipolar dysfunction, together with:

It isn’t unusual for individuals identified with bipolar dysfunction to attempt a number of drugs till they discover a match or for his or her psychiatrist to vary their drugs over time.

About 40%–50% of people that take lithium reply to it.

Many of us with bipolar are cautious of therapy with drugs.

According to research on individuals residing with out taking their treatment for bipolar dysfunction, unwanted effects have been their main cause for not taking treatment. The most distressing unwanted effects included weight achieve, tremors, decreased intercourse drive, and lithium toxicity.

Other individuals fear that bipolar dysfunction treatment dulls their creativity, makes them really feel like a zombie, or takes away their persona.

While treatment is taken into account the best manner of managing bipolar despair, therapy for bipolar dysfunction usually includes a mix of treatment and different therapies.


“Therapy can be helpful to the individual in order to help them understand their mental illness, process ways it’s impacted them, and learn techniques to minimize bipolar disorder’s effect on their lives,” explains Swider.

Cognitive behavioral remedy (CBT), can assist you establish and address undesirable ideas or conduct.

Interpersonal and social rhythm remedy (IPSRT) can assist you to control your consuming, sleeping, and train habits to stability your signs.

Building a routine

Building — and sticking with — a routine may be extremely helpful to somebody with bipolar dysfunction. This means going to mattress on the identical time each evening, consuming meals at common instances all through the day, and interesting in stress-reducing actions.

Many individuals additionally discover it useful to chart or journal their moods day by day to allow them to higher be taught their triggers and look ahead to patterns.


Some individuals profit from taking dietary supplements and nutritional vitamins along with their treatment and a healthy diet. These can embody:

  • fish oil
  • nutritional vitamins B9 and B12
  • creatine
  • magnesium
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin D
  • probiotics


Food alone can’t deal with bipolar dysfunction, however ensuring to eat nutritious meals usually can profit your general well being and the way you’re feeling. Prioritize consuming:

  • complete grains
  • beans
  • turkey
  • nuts
  • natural tea
  • saffron
  • meals wealthy in omega-3 fatty acids, corresponding to salmon, eggs, and flaxseeds
  • selenium-rich meals, corresponding to brazil nuts or shrimp

There are additionally some substances you need to keep away from, corresponding to hashish. Some studies present it’d worsen your signs.

“Bipolar doesn’t have to prevent anyone from living up to their full potential, and it’s not hard to treat,” says Swider. “But it does have to be treated for best results.”

Medications can assist defend you towards among the extra severe signs, together with fast biking between manic and depressive episodes, progressive mind injury, harmful conduct, suicidal ideas, and psychosis.

Therapy and life-style modifications may allow you to take cost of your well being.

If you’d prefer to get assist however are uncertain the place to begin, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) supplies assets for serving to you discover therapy. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance provide free on-line assist teams and different data.

Looking for a therapist, however undecided the place to begin? Psych Central’s How to Find Mental Health Support useful resource can assist.

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