What goes up must come down. And what comes down must go up. There are many misconceptions about bipolar disorder. One of them is that the fluctuation in mood is rapid. Like a teeter-totter in a short period of time—multiple ‘flip flops’ of mood daily.
That is not the case. People with bipolar disorder do experience emotional fluctuations. And the symptoms make it easy for people around the patient to know if they are feeling manic or low-energy and depressive moods.
An individual with at least four episodes of hypomania, mania,, or major depression within a twelve (12) month period may have bipolar disorder. Women are more likely than men to have rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. Rapid cycling is also common among patients who were diagnosed when they were a child.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder are disruptive to daily living, maintaining employment, and personal relationships. Not to mention placing strain on the body because of prolonged periods of agitation and stress. That is why many patients are exploring psychedelic drugs for bipolar disorder.
What Causes Bipolar Disorder?
Researchers aren’t sure what causes bipolar disorder. But they do know many physical and emotional attributes can increase the risk of developing it. And they also know that there is a hereditary factor where the risk of bipolar disorder increases if one or more of your family members had it.
Some studies report that about 80% of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder inherited it from a close family member. If one parent has bipolar disorder, there is about a 10% chance that their child will be diagnosed with the disorder later in life.
A significant traumatic event (or series of events) can create new bipolar disorder patients. Some of the triggers for developing bipolar disorder are:
· the end (breakup) of a relationship
· sexual abuse
· physical abuse and severe bullying
· the death of a family member
Symptoms of bipolar disorder are disruptive to daily living, the ability to maintain employment, and personal relationships. Not to mention placing strain on the body because of prolonged periods of agitation and stress. That is why many patients are exploring psychedelic drugs for bipolar disorder.
What are the Most Common Bipolar Symptoms?
Bipolar disorder may cause a patient to develop symptoms that are very noticeable. When the individual is experiencing a manic phase, they have a high energy level. And behave hyperactivity. On the low-mood side of the spectrum, bipolar disorder can cause severe depressive symptoms.
The range of mood from manic to depressive may seem even more pronounced by someone who has bipolar disorder. The symptoms can be more noticeable. The reason may be that people with bipolar disorder cannot always tell when they have a symptom cycle.
Some of the most common symptoms of bipolar disorder include:
- Abnormally high energy levels
- Racing thoughts
- Faster than normal speaking
- Grandiose thinking
- Impulsive spending and behaviors
- Problems with focus
- Decreased need for sleep
When living with someone with BPD, the mania is as difficult to cope with as the depressive stages. When the patient is in a positive cycle, they can take on numerous projects, spend money in a reckless way, and exhibit bad impulse control.
The symptoms are equally difficult when someone with bipolar disorder has a mood cycle change to a depressive phase. Chronic fatigue, low mood, hopelessness, and low self-worth are all characteristics of the bipolar disorder depressive cycle.
The average patient with bipolar disorder has a cycle or episode change about twice a year. Some cycles of depression or mania can last fourteen weeks or longer. Rapid-cycling bipolar disorder is four or more symptom cycles in a twelve (12) month period.
Can you Cure Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder may be triggered by an emotionally traumatizing event, but it may be predisposed to develop it. There are three important chemicals in the brain; norepinephrine/noradrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine.
Both norepinephrine and serotonin imbalances are linked to mental health disorders. Specifically mood disorders like depression and BD (bipolar disorder). The condition of BP is frequently misdiagnosed as manic depression.
With doctor-supervision and therapeutic care, some patients are able to reduce bipolar symptoms and make them more manageable. In fact, some patients may be told they have ‘High Functioning Bipolar.’ It is not a different condition but an indication the patient has learned effective coping strategies for their symptoms, on both ends of the mood spectrum.
In some cases, individuals can develop treatment-resistant bipolar disorder. This diagnosis means that all conventional therapies have been tried. And that there are no other procedures that the physician can try.
The diagnosis of a treatment-resistant mental health condition feels like the medical world is giving up on a patient. Some patients feel resignation and lose hope that they can reduce how symptoms of bipolar disorder affect life. Others begin pursuing non-conventional types of therapies, like the ground-breaking psychiatric treatments now being done with psychedelics.
What Medical Treatments Are Used to Help with Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 4% of Americans have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). According to the NIMH, less than 40 percent of people in the U.S. who have the condition get adequate treatment.
In the first century, Aretaeus of Cappadocia was a famous Greek physician. Aretaeus is believed to be the first written clinical study of bipolar disorder. Back then, it was written as switching between ‘mania’ and ‘melancholia’ (the Greek name for depression).
The Greeks even talked about taking a bath in lithium salts to calm mania. Today patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder are treated with prescription medications. One of the most common medications prescribed for patients with bipolar is lithium.
The psychiatrist or practitioner diagnoses patients and then prescribes psychotropic medications. An individual with bipolar disorder may have different prescription medications for each phase of the cycle (manic vs. hypo-depressive).
Other therapies that are incorporated into the treatment plan for bipolar disorder include dietary counseling, increased fitness activities, and talk therapy with a mental health professional. A high percentage of patients become treatment-resistant when receiving therapies for bipolar disorder.
Is Ketamine Legal for Bipolar Disorder?
When a patient is told they have treatment-resistant bipolar disorder, they are often not told about new therapies with psychedelic drugs. That is because different states have laws regarding the ‘right to try’ any alternative medicine that will help reduce symptoms.
Depending on where you live, getting a ketamine prescription can be difficult. And finding a doctor to prescribe it can be even more difficult. However, ketamine has been federally legalized for decades for off-label use.
Today, any physician can order a ketamine prescription for a patient if the doctor feels it may help a patient with bipolar disorder. Ketamine is also being used in treatment plans for patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Psychedelic medications including ketamine, are not recommended for individuals who have schizophrenia. Or patients diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. Psychedelic drugs can induce or worsen the severity of hallucinations for people who suffer from schizophrenia.
For many patients, low-dose ketamine combined with a monthly treatment plan can help reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms. Ketamine triggers a chemical response that can rebuild healthy neural pathways. It can help suppress negative emotions and thoughts and help retrain better mood and energy patterns in the brain.
Do Psychedelics Help with Bipolar Disorder?
Patients are now exploring psychedelic drugs for bipolar disorder. And one of the reasons is that the medications often prescribed for treating anxiety and depression have serious side effects. People who take the standard drugs targeted at the 5-HT2A receptor can feel emotionally numb. They may not be feeling acute sadness or depression, but prescription medications can also suppress other feelings like happiness, excitement, and joy.
Going through life with a flat emotional effect can impair relationships, employment, and other aspects of social engagement. Some patients also find that many prescription medications cause drowsiness and a persistent feeling of fatigue. They always feel tired and not alert.
Now that ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP) is available nationwide, patients can try a new alternative medicine. Patients report feeling a deep sense of relaxation after taking oral or nasal inhaled ketamine. The feeling of peace is followed by lifting the mood or euphoria. The mind remains active,, but sensations in the body are numb because ketamine has anesthetic properties.
There can be some normal side effects after ketamine therapy. They can include dry mouth, feeling relaxed (but tired), and temporary appetite loss. Patients are required to take the rest of the day off following a treatment to rest and recuperate. Other side effects can occur but are rare. Talk to your physician during your consultation for more information.
What Does Ketamine Feel Like?
The kind of ketamine that approved patients receive is low-dose. It can be administered by a tablet or by a nasal spray (inhalation dose). Some physicians will prescribe an anti-anxiety medication with ketamine to reduce hallucination. But many doctors feel that the hallucinatory experience is an important part of the success of ketamine therapies.
When patients are in the ketamine altered state (non-ordinary state of consciousness), they experience different emotions and memories. Ketamine appears to dissolve the layer between the conscious and subconscious mind. It brings issues, fears, and memories to the surface so that patients can be aware of emotions that weigh them down.
There are four common reactions that patients get from a ketamine treatment:
1. Empathogenic Experience
This makes the patient feel their body and mind with great self-empathy. This comes with feelings of comfort, relaxation, love, and euphoria. One of the benefits of taking a ketamine treatment at home is an enhanced sense of privacy and safety.
2. Out of Body Experience
This is a brain and body separation. Patients can experience traveling through time to the past, present, or the future. They can revisit childhood memories in very vivid, almost movie-like episodes. It is usually a very deep and spiritually meaningful hallucinogenic experience.
3. Near-Death Experience
This is where the patient may feel a detachment from their body but an awareness of being connected to something greater than the physical world. This is called the ‘near-death experience’ because it mirrors the ‘bright light’ phenomenon some people experience in the emergency room.
Psychologists say that the floating above the body sensation is a separation of the ego in the brain. Or rather, allowing the ego (and sense of self) to become free as a reaction to the psychedelic effect of the ketamine.
4. Reliving Past Life
They say when you have a near-death experience, that your entire life can flash before your eyes. Ketamine can cause a retro rewind of your childhood and meaningful events in your life. It can also laser focus on an upsetting memory, such as a death or loss, injury, or emotional trauma.
It is important to note that the low-dose ketamine is designed to open the mind but moderate the intensity of the hallucinogenic experience. The patient may recall upsetting memories but remain calm and relaxed while reviewing past history.
Which psychedelics work for bipolar disorder?
Some clinical studies have suggested that patients with bipolar disorder should avoid certain psychedelic medications. For example, patients with BP cannot be prescribed SSRI antidepressants. Some psychedelic drugs like MDMA and psilocybin can increase serotonergic activity and trigger manic episodes.
Patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder can still explore the use of ketamine therapies for mental health treatment. While ketamine is an entheogen like MDMA and psilocybin, the reaction with ketamine is focused on glutamate and NMDA receptors. Other types of psychedelics impact serotonin, which can cause episodes of hyper mania.
Some physicians feel that ketamine is the safest psychedelic drug that can be combined with other prescription medications. And that it has a lower potential to interact with other drugs commonly used for mental health treatments.
Can I See a Doctor Online for Bipolar Disorder?
You can speak to a physician via telemedicine to discuss your diagnosis of bipolar disorder. If you have been diagnosed by a mental health professional (psychologist or psychiatrist), a physician can discuss a new treatment plan. One that may involve using doctor-prescribed and practitioner-supervised ketamine treatments at home.
What is the Most Effective Treatment for Bipolar Disorder?
Patients who have tried other therapies and did not see an improvement in overall symptoms of mania or depression can consider ketamine a new option. There is a high therapeutic success rate for treating patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD), bipolar disorder, advanced depression, and more with ketamine.
A treatment plan can be developed with a physician that combines other elements, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other psychotherapies. Because ketamine is not contraindicated with most prescription medications, the physician may also prescribe a maintenance dose of an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication.
 “Understand Anxiety and Depression: Facts and Statistics,” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 2021.
 “Ketamine for Social Anxiety Disorder: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Crossover Trial”, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 2021.
 “Research,” Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, 2021.
 “Have You Tried Psychedelics/MDMA to Help with Anxiety, Depression, Trauma or PTSD Symptoms?” Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, 2021.
 “Real-world effectiveness of repeated ketamine infusions for treatment-resistant depression during the COVID-19 pandemic”, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 2021.