5 Diet Tips To Help Manage Bipolar Disorder
Heather Reese | Oct 11, 2012
It is estimated that 4.4 percent of Americans will suffer from bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) at some point in their lives. This very serious illness involves significant changes in mood, energy, and behavior. It can be very disruptive to the lives of the people who suffer from this illness as well as their close friends and family members. Bipolar disorder typically begins in adolescence and continues throughout adulthood.
Diet is an important part of treatment
While it cannot be cured, people with bipolar disorder who are treated can lead normal, productive lives. It is not a condition that has direct nutritional considerations, like diabetes or heart disease. But if you are living with bipolar disorder, the foods that you eat every day can impact the effectiveness of your medication and symptoms. HealthCentral compiled a list of important tips to help you create a diet that can help to make your medication most effective.
Consume a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Weight gain can be a side effect of your medication
Weight gain is a potential side effect of nearly all antidepressant medications, though it is not clear whether the weight gain is a direct effect of the drug or of the state of depression. It is important to maintain a healthy weight to avoid the health risks associated with being overweight, including heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. If you are not at a healthy weight or begin to gain weight during treatment, seek the advice of your healthcare provider or registered dietitian.
Be aware that other medications can cause weight gain
“Many more patients are taking ‘atypical antipsychotics’ such as Latuda® (which is now approved as monotherapy for bipolar depression), or Seroquel®,” says Traci Speed, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore. “These medications may be used as monotherapy or as adjunct therapy with mood stabilizers, and they are known to cause weight gain.”
MAOIs can have side effects that are impacted by your diet
MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) are a class of drugs used to treat depression and may be prescribed to someone who suffers from bipolar disorder. Side effects of MAOIs include dizziness and low blood pressure. Foods high in tyramine, such as aged cheeses, can make these side effects worse.
“In general, if you are prescribed an MAOI, it is best to avoid all aged products and to discuss dietary restrictions with a medical professional,” Dr. Speed advises.