This article in the Guardian suggests some scientists are reconsidering the drug paradigm for bipolar disorder. I don’t think it goes far enough but it’s a start.
What is very interesting in this brief article is the mention of women with bipolar disorder being effected premenstrually. This fact is rarely mentioned. In my case every one of my major manias was premenstrual. When I was first diagnosed I was hospitalized three times–each time, the day after I was hospitalized I got my period. Can we call this bipolar–or is it just nasty ass PMS–in my case confounded with the use of hallucinogenics? For women who experience this phenomena it sounds like a hormonal problem to me–not some nebulous “chemical imbalance” in the brain that is then labeled bipolar disorder.
The article suggests that in these cases synthetic hormones could be used rather than psychotropic medications. I think synthetic hormones are potentially dangerous, but bio-identical hormones might be appropriate. I’ve been thinking about getting my hormones tested as I still have bad PMS, though I know diet and nutrition has helped to some degree. I may simply need more tweaking withe nutrients. I’ve had really bad reactions to hormones the few times I’ve taken them. I was on the birth-control pill to treat endometriosis and was a wreck the whole time I was on them. This predates any of my manias. Hormones can mess with anyone’s stability so treating with hormones has to be done very carefully. I have to do a lot more research before I seriously consider treatment with them, but I think it’s worth consideration.
I will try to find more about hormones and mental health at some time in the future. The little research I’ve done so far reveals very little. It is certainly understudied and rarely mentioned in the literature, but I have known many women who report similar experiences to mine.