The idea of using CBD for bipolar disorder may seem too far-fetched for many people. After all, how can something that’s derived from a recreational drug be good for a mental condition? In this post, I’ll talk about the potential benefits of CBD for bipolar disorder and whether it’s a viable treatment option for other mental health conditions. First, let’s take a look at what bipolar disorder is.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder used to be referred to as manic depression. It’s described as a mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings including emotional highs, known as hypomania, and emotional lows or what we refer to as depression.
When you have bipolar disorder, your mood may swing from one extreme to another. One day you will feel depressed, and you may feel hopeless and sad, losing interest and pleasure in activities you usually enjoy. The next day your mood may shift to either mania or hypomania, and you may feel like you’re full of energy and euphoric, but at the same time irritable.
The mood swings that come with this condition often result in changes in sleep patterns and energy, which affect thinking and behavior.
What’s unique about this condition is that episodes of extreme mood swings may either occur a few times or multiple times in one year. Some people may experience emotional symptoms between each episode, and some may not.
Another thing is that there seems to be no pattern at all in terms of the dramatic episodes of mood swings. For instance, I know someone with bipolar disorder who would feel the same mood state for a long period before switching to the other extreme. And then I also know someone with the condition who would switch between mood states more often.
How severe the symptoms are would differ from individual to individual. They may even change over time, whether improving or become more severe.
A person with bipolar disorder may experience the following during “high” periods:
● Excessive excitement and hopefulness
● Increased energy
● Rapid speech
● Poor concentration
● Poor judgment
Other symptoms of mania may include an unusually high sex drive and the tendency to make unrealistic plans.
On the other hand, during “low” periods, a person with bipolar disorder may experience the following symptoms:
● Deep sadness
● Uncontrollable crying
● Loss of energy
● Feelings of worthlessness
● Lack of interest in any activity
● Trouble concentrating
● Trouble making decisions
● Appetite changes
● Thoughts of suicide
● Actual attempt to commit suicide
These symptoms of each of the extreme mood swings should tell us that bipolar disorder is not something to be ignored. A person with this condition can be unpredictable. And if you have this condition, you won’t immediately recognize how much your emotional instability can make a mess of your life and the life of the surrounding people.
Causes of Bipolar Disorder
While the exact cause of bipolar disorder is still unknown, it is believed that there are several factors working together that increase the chances of an individual developing it. Experts think that these factors are a complex mix of biological, environmental, and social factors.
It’s widely believed that bipolar disorder is a result of chemical imbalances in the brain. The brain is quite a complex organ with chemicals responsible for controlling how it functions. These chemicals are referred to as neurotransmitters, which act as signaling molecules that activate neurotransmission.
Evidence shows that if there is an imbalance in the levels of one or more of the neurotransmitters, there is a chance for the development of bipolar disorder. For instance, studies have shown that episodes of mania may occur when there is an unusual rise in the levels of noradrenaline, and when levels of these neurotransmitters become too low, the result is the opposite, which is depression.
Genetics also plays a huge role in the development of bipolar disorder. According to studies, the condition is linked to genetics, since it seems to run in families. This means if any of your family members has the condition, there’s an increased chance that you’re going to develop it yourself.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder seem to be set off by several triggers, including stressful events or circumstances like if there’s a breakdown of a relationship or the death of a close relative or loved one. Physical illness, sleep disorders, and stress brought about by overwhelming problems like problems with money, work, and relationships may also trigger symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Diagnosis & Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is considered a lifelong condition requiring lifelong treatment. The good news is there are ways to help one manage mood swings and symptoms with the guidance of a psychiatrist.
In most cases, the condition is treated with medications supplemented with psychotherapy. Treatment is primarily aimed at managing symptoms, starting with medications designed to help balance the mood.
Maintenance treatment plays a critical role in bipolar disorder. A person with the condition may feel better for long periods, but the risk of a relapse is high when treatment is skipped.
Using CBD for Bipolar Disorder
This time, let’s explore the potential of CBD as a treatment for bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder affects up to 1.6% of the planet’s population, and if you’re going to ask me, that’s a huge percentage of the entire world’s population. As I’ve already mentioned, there are treatment options available for the condition. Many of these can be considered effective to some degree, at least in the management of symptoms. However, many of these treatments also come with negative side effects. What’s worse is that many of them don’t work at all.
This is where alternative treatment options like Cannabidiol come in. Most commonly known as CBD, Cannabidiol has been shown via research to protect the brain from damage, as well as promote the proper functioning of neurotransmitters.
Researchers believe that it is through these effects that CBD could help reduce the severity of the symptoms of bipolar disorder and help anyone suffering from the condition maintain more stable mood patterns.
Now, to safely use CBD for bipolar disorder, it’s important to choose CBD products containing no THC, or if they do, it has to be within the 0.3% legal limit. The reason is that while CBD has been found to help alleviate symptoms of bipolar disorders, there have also been reports of individuals whose symptoms worsened after using cannabis.
I also recommend that you speak with your physician first if you plan to use CBD for your condition. Once you get the go signal from your doctor, your next step is to look for CBD products bearing the name of a reputable manufacturer. As for me, I only use CBD products made by Green Roads.
I won’t give any advice regarding dosage since different people respond differently to CBD. I recommend, however, that you perform some self-testing first, starting with a low dosage and gradually building up until you start experiencing significant relief from your symptoms.
Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health concern. If you have this condition and you wish to try CBD as an alternative treatment option, I strongly suggest you do your homework by researching more about Cannabidiol and then discussing your intentions with your doctor. After you’ve done all those preliminary steps and are ready to try CBD for bipolar disorder, you can always contact me so I can help you with choosing the right CBD products to suit your needs.