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Montana Integrative Medicine :: Bozeman, MT

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive illness, is a disorder characterized by dramatic, and sometimes rapid, mood swings. People may go from overly energetic, "high" and/or irritable, to sad and hopeless, and then back again. They often have normal moods in between. Bipolar disorder can run in families, and people with a first-degree relative (e.g., mother, father, siblings), with this disorder run a seven times greater risk than people in the general population of having bipolar disorder. This disorder usually starts in late adolescence or early adulthood.

Bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive illness, has been recognized since at least the time of Hippocrates, who described such patients as "amic" and "melancholic." In 1899, Emil Kraepelin defined manic-depressive illness and noted that persons with manic-depressive illness lacked deterioration and dementia, which he associated with schizophrenia. Conventional medicine has no explanation of the underlying causes of bipolar disorder.

Case: Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder

A 25 year old man presented to Montana Integrative Medicine for an appointment with Dr. Neustadt. This patient was complaining of suffering from alternating severe anxiety and depression for the past seven years. Several years earlier his sister was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and his maternal grandfather suffered from depression and committed suicide. He had tried some natural therapies for his anxiety in the past, including Kava kava, St. John's wort, Yarrow root and Skullcap. All of these were helpful immediately afterwards, but gave no long term benefits. Counseling with a therapist did not help. He was prescribed Xanax to help with the anxiety until his test results came back and the underlying biochemical abnormalities could be treated.

Low essential amino acids and elevated ethanolamine, which has been associated with the onset of bipolar disorder and depression

Low minerals (note: magnesium and manganese are required to process and lower the amino acid ethanolamine, above)
Low omega-3 series polyunsaturated fatty acids
Elevated xanthurenate, indicating functional vitamin B6 deficiency
Decreased epinephrine (vanilmandelate) and serotonin (5-Hydroxyindoleacetate), associated with fatigue and depression

 The man was placed on nutraceuticals to correct his underlying biochemical abnormalities. After two weeks on the program he reported feeling "good," and that he had only had one bad day in the past two weeks, which was caused by him not eating and not taking his nutraceuticals. After six weeks on the program, the patient reported have no depression or anxiety for more than a month. He felt his mood was "stable" and his mood was not cycling. All of his symptoms resolved, and after six months, he continued to have no symptoms of bipolar disorder.