Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric illness that involves extreme changes in mood. Mood swings, which range between depression and elation (mania), can be accompanied by changes in sleep patterns and activity levels, risk taking behaviors, disorganized behavior, agitation and possibly aggression.
Treatment of bipolar disorder is often a long undertaking, traditionally involving a combination of psychotherapy and medication.
Bipolar disorder affects about 5.7 million American adults, or about 2.6% of the U.S. population 18 and older, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (2008 Statistics).
Traditional Treatment of Bipolar Disorder
Western Medicine’s treatment of bipolar disorder is usually lifelong. Bipolar disorder is treated with medications that can cause a variety of toxic side effects, including liver toxicity, joint problems, weight gain, rashes, and problems with memory and cognition.
Taking these medications, usually a combination of antipsychotic medications and mood stabilizers, can cause serious problems, especially over a long course of treatment.
Alternatives to Traditional Bipolar Treatment
Alternative treatments for bipolar disorder are limited. There are supplements that can help, like fish oil, S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), and N-acetylcysteine, and herbal remedies such as Rhodiola rosea and St. John’s wort.
Therapies like acupuncture, chiropractic, nutritional counseling are known to help ease the symptoms of bipolar disorder, as well as aid in medication reduction
Neurofeedback for Bipolar Disorder
Brain training with neurofeedback is known to be mood stabilizing and has a generally normalizing effect on the entire system.
In addition, many of the symptoms of bipolar disorder have been proven to be treatable with neurofeedback. Bipolar clients undergoing neurofeedback training report less susceptibility to mood swings, increased ability to focus, and reduced anger.
Although well controlled and thorough studies are lacking in regards to neurofeedback and psychiatric disorders, there is a growing body of anecdotal evidence the neurofeedback can be an effective adjunct treatment for bipolar disorder.
Updated July 2021