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What is Bipolar Disorder

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder (or Manic-Depressive Illness) is a mental illness that is characterized by unusual mood, energy and activity level shifts.

Bipolar disorder is generally found in family lines. Some research shows that some with specific genetic traits are more likely to develop bipolar disorder. This is why children of a bipolar parent (or a brother or sister of one with bipolar disorder) are far more likely to develop it. Fortunately, most with bipolar disorder in their family histories will not develop it.

Symptoms

Symptoms are usually intense, and greatly differ from the normal ups and downs of life.

Sufferers experience heightened emotional states that are drastic compared to their usual state. These can last during specific periods of time, called "mood episodes." When they are really happy or overexcited, it is said that they are experiencing a "manic episode." When they are very sad or depressed, they are experiencing a "depressive episode." Sometimes, they may exhibit tendencies of both moods, or have a "mixed state" For example, they may feel depressed while also feeling extremely energized.

Mood episodes are often accompanied by drastic changes in mood, energy and behavioral states:

Manic Episodes Include:

Depressive Episodes Include:

Mood Changes

  • Feeling "high," overly happy or outgoing
  • Irritability

Behavioral Changes

  • Fast talking, shifting from one idea to another, racing thoughts
  • Easily distracted
  • Over-enthusiasm to take on new projects
  • Restlessness; sleeping little or insomnia
  • Holding illogical beliefs in one's abilities or having high-risk behaviors
  • Impulsiveness
Mood Changes

  • Feeling sad or hopeless for extended periods of time
  • Disinterest in activities once enjoyed, including sex.

Behavioral Changes

  • Feeling tired
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, and making decisions
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Changes in eating, sleeping, or other habits
  • Thinking of (or even attempting) suicide

Swings: Even when mood swings are less extreme, bipolar disorder can be manifesting. For instance, bipolar disorder sufferers may feel well, are highly productive and functioning well. Although the person may feel that everything is fine, family and friends can sense the mood swings. This state is called "hypomania," a less severe form of mania. Those with hypomania must receive proper treatment, or else they may develop severe mania or depression.

Psychotic Symptoms: Sufferers may also exhibit psychotic symptoms that tend to reflect their mood, like hallucinations or delusions. For instance, those experiencing a manic episode may believe they are a famous person, are rich or have superpowers. Those with a depressive episode may believe they are hopelessly poor, or are a criminal. This explains why some with bipolar disorder are sometimes misdiagnosed with schizophrenia.

Substance Abuse: Those with bipolar disorder may also abuse alcohol or drugs, have trouble with relationships, or have school or work performance issues. It's often hard to recognize these symptoms as signs of a bipolar disorder.

Duration: Manic and depressive symptoms usually manifest for the duration of the person's life. Between episodes, sufferers can display little or no symptoms, while others may have lingering symptoms.

Learn More About Your Bipolar Disorder

Although there are many effective ways to obtain relief, many former bipolar disorder sufferers now live a life free of bipolar disorder. Others have embraced solutions which enhance their ability to manage their condition.

If you feel pharmaceuticals aren't for you, EMPowerplus Advanced™, combined with other healthy lifestyle changes, may be the answer. Learn more about how EMPowerplus Advanced can help by clicking here.

See How Josh Beat Bipolar Disorder

"Now that I'm on EMPower, I feel like I can actually focus and concentrate on things. I feel like there's more balance in my emotions. Completely. Like I don't feel really high or really low; I just feel at peace. I have hope for the future. I feel like I can continue on with my life. And it's a good feeling."

How EMPowerplus Helps

If you are one of millions of people who prefer natural treatments to pharmaceutical medications, Truehope could be the answer you have been searching for.

If you suffer from symptoms of a mental illness or a mood disorder and you want to address the cause effectively rather than "cover up" the symptoms with medication, Truehope EMPowerplus Advanced™ can help.

Made up of 36 clinically proven vitamins, minerals, amino acids and anti-oxidants, Truehope EMPowerplus Advanced is scientifically proven to effectively help with bipolar disorder.

Extensive independent research shows that when the body and brain are provided with the essential nutrients found in EMPowerplus Advanced, they are able to function properly—often negating signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder. Don't be fooled by imitations—only Truehope EMPowerplus Advanced contains these nutrients in a microground form so the body can actually absorb them into the bloodstream.

Since the symptoms of bipolar disorder are caused by chemical issues in the brain, why treat your condition with more chemicals? Try EMPowerplus Advanced today to see for yourself how nature can work in harmony with your body to help you feel like your best self.

Click here to see one recommended plan to begin addressing your Bipolar Disorder with micronutrients.

Clinical Research

Feasibility of a Nutritional Supplement as Treatment for Pediatric Bipolar Spectrum Disorders.
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, July 2012, 18(7): 678-685. doi:10.1089/acm.2011.0270
Full Text Summary

"Exploratory analyses of mood symptoms throughout this pilot trial suggest decreases in depression and mania symptoms over the course of EMPowerplus Advanced supplementation"

OBJECTIVES
We investigated whether micronutrients given acutely following the Christchurch earthquakes continued to confer benefit 1?year following the treatment.

METHODS
Current psychotropic medications for childhood bipolar spectrum disorders (BPSD) are associated with significant adverse events. As nutrients play an important role in physical and mental health, they may be useful in treating mood disorders with few side-effects. This open-label study explored the feasibility of testing therapeutic effects of a multinutrient supplement, EMPowerplus (EMP+), for pediatric BPSD.

DESIGN
EMP+ was started at one capsule t.i.d. and escalated to a goal of four capsules t.i.d., which eight children attained. Four (4) of these increased to the maximum dose, five capsules t.i.d. Mood symptoms were assessed seven times over 8 weeks.

SUBJECTS
Ten (10) children, age 6–12 with BPSD, were enrolled in 6.5 months. Seven (7) participants completed the full trial. Three (3) dropped out due to palatability and/or adherence issues.

RESULTS
Mean medication adherence was 91%. With one-tailed nonparametric Fisher's randomization tests, intent-to-treat analyses demonstrated a 37% decrease in depression scores (p<0.06) and a 45% decrease in mania scores (p<0.01) from the start of treatment through final visit, suggesting improvement and possible treatment response. Study completers demonstrated significant decreasing trends in both depression and mania scores from baseline to final visit (p<0.05). Side-effects were minor and transient, mostly temporary gastric discomfort.

CONCLUSIONS
Future randomized, placebo-controlled trials of EMP+ are warranted and feasible.

Database analysis of children and adolescents with bipolar disorder consuming a micronutrient formula.
BMC Psychiatry, 2010 Sep 28;10:74
Full Text Summary

"...severity of bipolar symptoms was 46% lower than baseline..."

BACKGROUND
Eleven previous reports have shown potential benefit of a 36-ingredient micronutrient formula (known as EMPowerplus) for the treatment of psychiatric symptoms. The current study asked whether children (7-18 years) with pediatric bipolar disorder (PBD) benefited from this same micronutrient formula; the impact of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) on their response was also evaluated.

METHODS
Data were available from an existing database for 120 children whose parents reported a diagnosis of PBD; 79% were taking psychiatric medications that are used to treat mood disorders; 24% were also reported as ADHD. Using Last Observation Carried Forward (LOCF), data were analyzed from 3 to 6 months of micronutrient use.

RESULTS
At LOCF, mean symptom severity of bipolar symptoms was 46% lower than baseline (effect size (ES) = 0.78) (p < 0.001). In terms of responder status, 46% experienced >50% improvement at LOCF, with 38% still taking psychiatric medication (52% drop from baseline) but at much lower levels (74% reduction in number of medications being used from baseline). The results were similar for those with both ADHD and PBD: a 43% decline in PBD symptoms (ES = 0.72) and 40% in ADHD symptoms (ES = 0.62). An alternative sample of children with just ADHD symptoms (n = 41) showed a 47% reduction in symptoms from baseline to LOCF (ES = 1.04). The duration of reductions in symptom severity suggests that benefits were not attributable to placebo/expectancy effects. Similar findings were found for younger and older children and for both sexes.

CONCLUSIONS
The data are limited by the open label nature of the study, the lack of a control group, and the inherent self-selection bias. While these data cannot establish efficacy, the results are consistent with a growing body of research suggesting that micronutrients appear to have therapeutic benefit for children with PBD with or without ADHD in the absence of significant side effects and may allow for a reduction in psychiatric medications while improving symptoms. The consistent reporting of positive changes across multiple sites and countries are substantial enough to warrant a call for randomized clinical trials using micronutrients.

Database analysis of adults with bipolar disorder consuming a micronutrient formula.
Clinical Medicine Insights: Psychiatry, 2009 Apr;4:3-16. (2009)
Full Text Summary

"One-third of the sample experienced very significant symptom reduction that exceeded 75%."

KEY FINDINGS

  • In a large sample of 358 adults with bipolar disorder, the effect size was large at 6 months (0.76, p < 0.001).
  • For over half the sample, symptom improvement exceeded 50% at 3 and 6 months.
  • One-third of the sample experienced very significant symptom reduction that exceeded 75%.
  • The strongest predictors of improved mental health were (a) increasing micronutrient dose and (b) decreasing psychiatric medications.

STUDY AIMS
Because of the incomplete benefit from pharmaceuticals and from single nutrient interventions in treating mood symptoms, and the more promising results from multinutrient formulas, the authors investigated the long term benefits of a broad-based micronutrient formula.

DATA SOURCE
The data was obtained from individuals who purchased a micronutrient formula and provide self reported symptom data to the product developers. The database used was anonymous, using assigned identifier numbers. The sample consisted of 682 adults who reported being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Within that group, 358 individuals reported the single diagnosis of bipolar disorder and provided symptom data for at least 6 months worth of analysis. Neither author was involved in any way with the data collection and could not bias the data in any way.

RESULTS
The analysis showed that not only was the use of the micronutrient formula linked to the outcome but the amount of formula taken (measured in capsules) was directly proportional to the outcome.

Individuals taking medications also experienced significant decreases in symptoms; however, the group with the higher medication index had the more moderate response, and while maintaining the improvement, did not improve like the other groups did.

The fact that symptom improvements were sustained or even increased at 6 months strongly suggests that the benefit cannot be attributed to a placebo effect.

Selecting for the single disorder makes the participants, and results, comparable to those who are in typical pharmaceutical trials.

People searching for nutritional methods to manage their mood symptoms are likely to have had ineffective experience with medications, and perhaps be considered treatment resistant. While not representative of everyone with bipolar disorder it is possible that they are more difficult to treat, lending more weight to the clinical implications of these findings.

With the emergent evidence of the modest effect of pharmaceuticals and the growing evidence for the improving of mood symptoms using multinutrient formulas, this evidence provides a powerful case for further research with this type of intervention.

This brings to 6 the number of published articles demonstrating reproducibility and efficacy of the Truehope multinutrient formula.

CORRESPONDENCE
Bonnie J. Kaplan, Ph.D., Behavioural Research Unit, Alberta Children’s Hospital
Tel: 1-403-955-7363; Fax: 1-403-955-2772
Email: bonnie.kaplan@albertahealthservices.ca

Nutritional approach to bipolar disorder.
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 2003 Mar;64(3):338
Full Text Summary

"12 of the 19 patients showed marked clinical improvement, 3 showed moderate improvement, and 1 showed mild improvement” (84% positive response rate)."

ABSTRACT
In a letter to the editor of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Dr. Miles Simmons, a psychiatrist in private practice in Brunswick, Maine, reported his clinical experience with EMPowerplus. Impressed by the striking response of one of his patients to EMPowerplus, Dr. Simmons carefully monitored treatment-resistant patients from his private practice who were willing to try this nutritional approach.

RESULTS
Of 19 patients that met the DSM-IV criteria for bipolar disorder (14 bipolar I and 5 bipolar II), Dr. Simmons observed that “12 of the 19 patients showed marked clinical improvement, 3 showed moderate improvement, and 1 showed mild improvement” (84% positive response rate). Of 16 medicated patients (who were taking 2.7 psychiatric medications on average) 13 were able to completely discontinue their psychiatric medications (over an average of 5.2 weeks) had remained stable on EMPowerplus alone for an average of 13 months.

Effective mood stabilization with a chelated mineral supplement: an open-label trial in bipolar disorder.
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 2001 Dec;62(12):936-44
Full Text Summary

"...The micronutrient treatment replaced psychotropic medications and the patients remained stable."

ABSTRACT
A group of scientists at the University of Calgary and the Alberta Children’s Hospital conducted a study to determine the therapeutic benefit of EMPowerplus on 14 unselected adult bipolar patients who had taken psychotropic medications for an average of 6.7 years. Patients were assessed by their own psychiatrists with the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D), the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), and the Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS).

RESULTS
For the 11 patients who completed the minimum 6-month open trial, average symptom reduction was 55% on the HAM-D, 60% on the BPRS, and 66% on the YMRS. The effect size for the intervention was large (>.8) for each measure. The number of psychotropic medications decreased significantly from an average of 2.7 to 1.0. In some cases, the micronutrient treatment replaced psychotropic medications and the patients remained stable. The only reported side effect (i.e., nausea) was infrequent, minor, and transitory.

Successful Treatment of Bipolar Disorder II and ADHD with a Micronutrient Formula: A Case Study.
CNS Spectrums, 2010 May;15(5):289-95
Full Text Summary

"The formula was reintroduced, showing gradual improvement in all psychiatric symptoms. This case represents a naturalistic ABAB design showing on-off control of symptoms."

ABSTRACT
Bipolar disorder with co-occurring attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a challenge to treat. Ten previous reports have shown potential benefit of a micronutrient treatment (consisting mainly of vitamins and minerals) for various psychiatric symptoms, including mood and ADHD. This case study aimed to investigate the longer term impact of the micronutrients on both psychiatric and neurocognitive functioning in an off-on-off-on (ABAB) design with 1 year follow-up. A 21-year-old female with bipolar II disorder, ADHD, social anxiety, and panic disorder entered an open-label trial using a nutritional treatment following a documented 8 year history of on-going psychiatric symptoms not well managed by medications. After 8 weeks on the formula she showed significant improvements in mood, anxiety, and hyperactivity/impulsivity. Blood test results remained normal after 8 weeks on the formula. She did not report any adverse side effects associated with the treatment. She then chose to come off the formula; after 8 weeks her depression scores returned to baseline, and anxiety and ADHD symptoms worsened. The formula was reintroduced, showing gradual improvement in all psychiatric symptoms. This case represents a naturalistic ABAB design showing on-off control of symptoms. After 1 year, the patient is now in remission from all mental illness. Neurocognitive changes mirrored behavioral changes, showing improved processing speed, consistency in response speed, and verbal memory. A placebo response and expectancy effects cannot be ruled out although previous poor response to treatment and the duration of the current positive response decrease the likelihood that other factors better explain change. These consistently positive outcomes alongside an absence of side effects indicate that further research, particularly larger and more controlled trials, is warranted using this multinutrient approach.

Multinutrient supplement as treatment: literature review and case report of a 12-year-old boy with bipolar disorder.
Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 2009 Aug;19(4):453-60
Full Text Summary

"EMP+ [EMPowerplus™] resulted in superior outcome to conventional treatment. This report adds to accumulating preliminary evidence that further basic science and clinical studies of multinutrient supplements are warranted."

ABSTRACT
Early-onset bipolar disorder has significant morbidity and mortality. Development of safe, effective treatments to which patients will adhere is critical. Pharmacologic interventions for childhood bipolar spectrum disorders are limited and are associated with significant risk for adverse events (Kowatch et al 2005). Diet and nutrition research suggests vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are important underpinnings of general physical and mental health; further, they may even be useful in treating mood dysregulation by providing a more favorable risk-benefit ratio than contemporary psychotropic agents (Kaplan, Crawford, Field, & Simpson 2007). This article reviews the literature on multinutrient supplementation and mental health, and examines a case study of a 12-year-old boy with bipolar disorder and comorbid diagnoses treated for 6 years with conventional medication and finally a multinutrient supplement.

The multinutrient supplement in this case study is EMPowerplus (EMP+), a 36-ingredient supplement containing sixteen minerals, fourteen vitamins, three amino acids and three antioxidants. It was used to treat a 12-year-old boy initially diagnosed with bipolar disorder-not otherwise specified (BP-NOS) at age 6, whose diagnosis evolved by age 10 to bipolar I (BP-I), mixed, with psychotic features. He also met criteria for generalized anxiety disorder by age 8 and obsessive-compulsive disorder by age 10. After six years of conventional treatment (ages 6-12), he received fourteen months of EMP+. Symptom manifestation over seven years is described in conjunction with treatment history. EMP+ resulted in superior outcome to conventional treatment. This report adds to accumulating preliminary evidence that further basic science and clinical studies of multinutrient supplements are warranted.

See More Research

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