Bipolar disorder, also known as Manic-Depression or Manic-Depressive-Illness, is a mental illness characterized by an alternating pattern of emotional highs (mania) and lows (depression). This condition is divided into two main sub-types: Bipolar I disorder, with the presence of at least one manic episode; and Bipolar II disorder, with at least one episode of depression and at least one hypomanic episode. In addition, some people have rapid cycling bipolar disorder, with four or more mood swings within twelve months; and mixed state bipolar disorder, in which symptoms of both mania and depression occur simultaneously. The cause of bipolar disorder is unknown, but a variety of biochemical, genetic and environmental factors are known to trigger this condition.
Bipolar disorder is a long term condition that requires life-long treatment, even during periods of remission. The Ayurvedic treatment of this condition is aimed at treating the presenting symptoms and preventing recurrence of the condition. In order to treat the manic phase of this condition, medicines like Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis), Vacha (Acorus calamus), Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia serpentina), Jyotishmati (Celastrus panniculatus) and Kushmand (Benincasa hispida) are used. A special procedure called ‘Shirodhara’ is also quite useful in reducing agitation, aggression and sleeplessness.
To treat the depressive phase of bipolar disorder, medicines like Laxmi-Vilas-Ras, Shrung-Bhasma, Arjun (Terminalia arjuna), Vishwa (Zinziber officinalis), Vacha, Chitrak (Plumbago zeylanica), Tagar (Valeriana wallichii), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Shilajit (Purified bitumen), Tankan (Purified borax) and Makardhwaj are used. In order to prevent recurrence of this condition, medicines like Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Amalaki, Musta (Cyperus rotundus), Vacha, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu, Suvarna-Bhasma, Abhrak-Bhasma, Trivang-Bhasma and Suvarna -Parpati are used in small doses for prolonged periods.
It is important to adapt a healthy life style; and avoid self medication and known conditions which can precipitate symptoms of bipolar disorder. Family therapy, group therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy can help in considerably reducing symptoms of this condition. Left untreated, bipolar disorder can result in severe emotional, legal and financial problems and can even result in suicide. Regular treatment and supervision by a Psychiatrist is therefore very important in this condition.