keralaayurvedashram

Bipolar DisorderBipolar disorder, previously known as manic depression, is a mental disorder that causes periods of depression and periods of elevated mood. The elevated mood is significant and is known as mania or hypomania, depending on its severity, or whether symptoms of psychosis are present. It (manic-depressive illness) is a mood disorder, which means that the symptoms are disturbances or abnormalities of mood. Major depression is a more common illness, the symptoms of which are mainly those of low mood. It involves episodes of both serious mania and depression. The person's mood swings from excessively high and irritable, to sad and hopeless, and then back again, with periods of normal mood in between. Different from normal mood states of happiness and sadness, symptoms of manic-depressive illness can be severe and life threatening. In fact, for those afflicted with the illness, it is extremely distressing and disruptive.


Causes

Bipolar disorder manifests due to imbalance of the physical doshas vata, pitta, and kapha and the mental properties satva, rajas and tamas. The causes of bipolar disorder likely vary between individuals and the exact mechanism underlying the disorder remains unclear. It suggests that hypersensitivity of reward circuits consisting of fronto-striatal circuits causes mania and hyposensitivity of these circuits cause depression. This disorder has also been linked to decreased volume in certain areas of the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain for memory processing.

Symptoms
  • Depression
  • Mania
  • Mood swings
Ayurvedic View of Treatment

Ayurvedic herbs used for bipolar disorder are adaptogenic in nature. They are equally valuable for mania or depression. The intent is not to force the brain out of a depressive or a manic episode by providing herbal uppers or downers but to balance the doshas and to normalize the production of neurotransmitters. Diagnosis of bipolar disorder takes several factors into account and considers the self-reported experiences of the symptomatic individual, abnormal behavior reported by family members, friends or co-workers, observable signs of illness as assessed by a clinician, and often a medical work-up to rule-out medical causes.

There are several other mental disorders with symptoms similar to those seen in bipolar disorder. These disorders include schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and certain personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder.

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