Bipolar Nation

Bipolar Nation

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Have you ever wondered if you have a mild case of bipolar disorder? Have you ever thought about treating it? I don't mean with heavy pharmaceuticals that temporarily alter moods and carry a significant risk for side effects. I mean, is there a natural remedy?

Bipolar disorder is associated with mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs. It is nothing to joke about; it can make a person crazy. However, I would argue that some of us are creating this sequence of events in our bodies and it is a problem that can be solved.

Americans love their coffee

We drink a lot of coffee in the morning, until we are stimulated, or jacked up on caffeine, however you want to describe it. Then we are manic, solving work problems, teaching the children of the country, programming new computer worlds, and selling everything under the sun. We run on this borrowed energy until about 2 PM when our body starts to crash from the unnatural adrenaline rush. Instead of taking a siesta, the Spanish nap, we get an afternoon coffee, maybe a sweet treat, and yearn for that "high" again.

We also love our wine

Fast forward to 6 PM and we are eager to crack open a bottle of wine and start to unwind. Unfortunately, the body is so jacked up that it is already starting to come down, maybe even race down. Drinking a depressant feels wonderful for the first glass, but 2 or 3 later and we are stuck in a rut. When we finally fall asleep, the body dips so low in blood sugar that the adrenals kick on some cortisol, the survival hormone. This feels like an adrenaline shot in the middle of the night and our tired minds can't seem to rest.

We are sleep deprived

Without the sleep we need, we hit the morning like a slap in the face. Our cortisol level is naturally set to be the highest in the morning, however, after running all night, there is nothing left to give. Meet the cranky, depressed you that NEEDS a cup of coffee just to survive.

I love coffee, don't get me wrong, the intoxicating aroma, and the warm bitter taste on a foggy morning is a drug I cannot resist. However, there is a huge difference between LOVING and NEEDING coffee. Do you know where you fall? I'll give you a hint: if you can skip coffee without a headache you can jump to the end of the article.  What about that wine? Does the idea of foregoing a glass of wine in the evening make you anxious?

Are you a lover or an addict?

I love wine and coffee and was on this bipolar roller coaster for years; so believe me when I say it can end. Not until I gave up caffeine and alcohol for a month did I realize I was addicted and had bipolar tendencies. Of course, I never received the diagnosis, but then again I never went to a doctor to find out. What I did have was constant depression, constant fatigue, chronic pain, ADD, and manic bursts of jittery energy while on caffeine.

I am not saying that everyone is addicted to coffee and wine, nor that nobody is clinically bipolar. What I am saying is that it wouldn't hurt to take a look at your habits and see if you are self medicating your life with the coffee/wine or stimulant/depressant cycle that causes depressive lows and manic highs?

Instead of trying to wrestle your moods back to equilibrium while consuming these aggressive stimulants and depressants, try to wean yourself off and see if your moods stabilize on their own. I urge you to try this before adding in a dangerous pharmaceutical. Dr. Kelly Brogan, a psychiatric MD, says that pharmaceuticals only work for depression about 15% of the time and placebos work 15%-25% of the time. However, pharmaceuticals have very significant side effects when it comes to your health.

I am suggesting that you make every effort to find a natural remedy before subjecting yourself to a new host of dangerous side effects. Here are 5 tips to smooth the manic highs and depressive lows.

5 Tips to Balance Bipolar Moods

1. Find a REAL food diet that supports brain health and balances blood sugar

2. Find a really good therapist that you can trust with sharing your feelings

3. Ask your friends and family for support, join a group, or find a welcoming community

4. Remove the caffeine//stimulants and alcohol/depressants from your diet

5. Distance yourself from stressful news, people, and events until you feel balanced again

Because I suffered from my own moody roller coaster ride for years, this subject is dear to my heart. Bipolar moods, are not who you have to be for the rest of your life. You can start eating wisely today and make a difference now. Check out the Food Foundation Detox Facebook page, and see how we are falling in love with our bodies, our food, and our lives!

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