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Home > Articles > Treatment for Bipolar Disorder with Herbal Medicine

The emerging scientific evidence and clinical practice both suggest that some patients with Bipolar Disorder also have underlying digestive problems, which cause inappropriate immune and inflammatory responses. Treatment for Bipolar Disorder is offered at The London Gastro Clinic by treating diagnosed imbalances in the digestive system.

These imbalanced digestive processes can lead to psychological problems ¹,². These patients may suffer bloating, gas, acid reflux, allergies, thrush, constipation and/or diarrhoea, loud bowel sounds or Treatment For Bipolar Disorderabdominal discomfort.

To ascertain the cause and the extent of any underlying digestive problems experienced by patients with bipolar disorder, non-invasive tests are carried out in a medical laboratory. Once these problems are diagnosed and treated, patients usually notice an improvement in their condition. Their mood becomes more stable and their overall health improves.

Some of these patients started life with a poor gut flora. After taking an extensive case history, it is often evident that the patient may have inherited a poor gut flora from their mother3, who may also suffer digestive problems. The maternal grandmother may also have suffered digestive disorders. The patient may have gone on to suffer recurrent infections in childhood because their immunity was impacted by their poor gut flora4. There is around 70-80% of the immune system in the digestive system and scientific evidence demonstrates that it is adversely affected by poor gut flora5. These recurrent infections were invariably treated with antibiotics, which further damage the gut flora6.

After antibiotic therapy or prolonged stress, space in the gut flora is created through the death of the commensal (beneficial) bacteria. The pathogenic (bad) strains of bacteria and also yeast can overgrow unchallenged. It is these organisms that can cause the digestive, immune and behavioural problems. In fact, there is ever increasing evidence that the gut and brain communicate and that an imbalance of the gut flora can cause psychological problems. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 Patients with medically diagnosed underlying digestive problems may report anxiety, depression, mood swings, poor sleep, vivid dreams and/or nightmares.

The treatment for Bipolar Disorder, therefore, consists of diagnosing any underlying gut issues and eliminating them. Also, the immune dysfunction is addressed. This is all achieved through a herbal prescription, which is formulated to meet each patient’s unique needs, as revealed through both the case history and medical tests. The Herbal Medicine is very safe and is licensed by HM Government’s Department of Health and the EU. A special diet is also given. While the underlying problems are being resolved, symptomatic treatment can also be given for anxiety, depression, etc; as necessary. Psychological problems are often gradually resolved as the gut issues are treated and immune system regulated.

The case history will also include details of any pharmaceutical medication the patient is taking. This will ensure that no herbal medication will be given that may interact with the pharmaceutical drugs. Patients may choose (with the consent of their doctor) to gradually reduce their drugs later in the treatment, if appropriate, in which case a herbal prescription can be given to support the patient through this transitional period.

This is a cutting-edge approach to the treatment for Bipolar Disorder. There is already scientific evidence that Schizophrenia can be successfully treated with a similar approach15. This is encouraging news for the many patients suffering from Bipolar Disorder. Hopefully, funding will be found for more scientific investigation.

If you would like treatment for Bipolar Disorder, call for an appointment.

Deborah Grant BSc(Hons) specialises in the natural treatment of gastrointestinal disorders and her work was featured in The Guardian newspaper in 2011. She runs her general practice and her London Natural Gastro Clinic.  


References

1. Drexhage RC et al. (2011) The activation of monocyte and T cell networks in patients with bipolar disorder. Brain Behav Immun. 2011 Aug;25(6):1206-13. Epub 2011 Apr 8.

2. Drexhage RC et al. (2010) The mononuclear phagocyte system and its cytokine inflammatory networks in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Expert Rev Neurother. 2010 Jan;10(1):59-76.

3.Dominguez-Bello, MG et al. (2011) Development of the Human Gastrointestinal Microbiota and Insights from High-Throughput Sequencing. Gastroenterology Volume 140, Issue 6, Pages 1713-1719, May.

4. Round JL & Sarkis K. Mazmanian SK. (2009) The gut microbiota shapes intestinal immune responses during health and disease. Nature Reviews Immunology 9, 313-323 (May) doi:10.1038/nri2515

5. Kelly D et al. (2007) Importance of microbial colonization of the gut in early life to the development of immunity. Mutation Research. 2007 Sep 1;622(1-2):58-69. Epub 2007 Apr 6.

6. Willing BP et al. (2009) Shifting the balance: antibiotic effects on host–microbiota mutualism. Nature Reviews Microbiology 9, 233-243 (April 2011) | doi:10.1038/nrmicro2536

7. Collins, S.M; Bercik, P. (2009) The relationship between intestinal microbiota and the central nervous system in normal gastrointestinal function and disease. Gastroenterology. 136(6): 2003-14; May.

8. Goehler LE et al. (2007) Infection-induced viscerosensory signals from the gut enhance anxiety: implications for psychoneuroimmunology. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 21 (6), 721-6 PMID: 17428636

9. Capuron, L et al. (2003) Association of exaggerated HPA axis response to the initial injection of  interferon-alpha with development of depression during interferon-alpha therapy. Am. J. Psychiatry 160, 1342–1345.

10. Maes, M (2008). The cytokine hypothesis of depression: inflammation, oxidative & nitrosative stress (IO&NS) and leaky gut as new targets for adjunctive treatments in depression. Neuro endocrinology letters, 29 (3), 287-91 PMID: 18580840

11. Gareau, M et al. (2007). Probiotic treatment of rat pups normalises corticosterone release and ameliorates colonic dysfunction induced by maternal separation Gut, 56 (11), 1522-1528 DOI: 10.1136/gut.2006.117176

12. Parker G et al. (2002) Atypical depression: a reappraisal. Am J Psychiatry. 159(9):1470-9. Sept.

13. Kohl C, Sperner-Unterweger, B. (2007) IDO and clinical conditions associated with depressive symptoms. Curr Drug Metab. Apr;8(3):283-7.

14. Maes, M., (2001) The immunoregulatory effects of antidepressants. Hum. 728 Psychopharmacol. 16, 95–103.

15. Drexhage RC et al. (2011) Immune and neuroimmune alterations in mood disorders and schizophrenia. International Review of Neurobiology. 2011;101:169-201.



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