Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Healing Instead of Dealing With: Getting Back in the Driver’s seat With Mental Illness Part 2

Part 1 of this intro article on bipolar disorder is here.

To carry on with the exploration of some treatments....

Lifestyle changes are more about addressing the root cause of BSD, which are chemical imbalances. The biochemistry of the brain is very complex and not well understood which is why drugs cause side effects.. Positive emission tomography is able to show images of the living brain. Glucose metabolic rates indicate brain activity. Images of a bipolar patient’s brain during manic and depressive stages show marked differences in brain activity with cooler colors showing less activity during depression and brighter colors during the manic stage.

Addressing the root cause will bring a permanent benefit that allows body to function at maximum potential. All changes are interrelated and influence each other that can produce an additive negative or positive change in the body. For instance, assisting and optimizing digestion is crucial to allow the brain to function at top capacity both in controlling emotions and cognitive reasoning. Improving thyroid function allows for better regulation of many body functions though its release of hormones. Many BSD patients have impaired thyroid function. Yet often these connections are ignored by both doctors and patients.

In the diet lack of certain minerals and nutrients impair brain abilities. Excess consumption of sugar, fat, caffeine, alcohol, and illegal drugs affects moods and the ability to control them. The role of supplements such as omega 3 fatty acids in offsetting depression are being examined and tested in more detail.

Exercise increases blood circulation which aids and creates hormones that assist moods and prevents depression. Exercise and weight loss also helps patients cope with medication side effects.

All of the above helps BSD patients recognize avoid or cope with stress and triggers that could set off an episode of mania or depression. It helps them regain control of their life and condition.

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