How Yoga Can Benefit Bipolar Disorder

How Yoga Can Benefit Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that is experienced by many in the United States alone. Usually treated with medication, there is currently no set cure for this disorder. Therapy and medication are the two most common ways bipolar disorder is treated. But what if a holistic method such as yoga could benefit those with bipolar disorder?

While clinics like Alter Wellness Care offer great outpatient programs for their clients, they also understand that dealing with a disorder isn’t a black-and-white process. In fact, every individual experiencing bipolar disorder I or II has different ways of coping. Each has an individualized treatment program suited to helping them cope with their most severe symptoms.

Holistic treatment methods have been shown in recent years to be effective for those with this disorder. This may be because it is an alternative to medication. It could also be because yoga, in particular, has benefits beyond just the mental health aspect. Yoga also treats the body and spirit. This can go a long way in helping you cope and manage your most severe symptoms if you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a disorder that causes shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels. Mood shifts include feeling euphoric to suddenly feeling depressed and down. These mood episodes are called mania, and less severe episodes are called hypomania.

The 3 Classifications of Bipolar Disorder

There are three classifications of bipolar disorder:

  1. Bipolar I disorder: If you feel like your manic symptoms of mood episodes last for a week or more and or are frequently occurring, you could have bipolar I disorder.
  2. Bipolar II disorder: Less severe manic episodes, bipolar II is the experience of depressive episodes that include hypomania episodes. Hypomania is the increase in feeling euphoric while also increased energy levels occur.
  3. Cyclothymic disorder: Less severe than bipolar I and II, cyclothymia occurs when you have manic symptoms, but they do not last for an extended period of time. You also may experience depressive mood swings, but they do not last long enough to qualify as a mood episode.

If you feel you are experiencing the following symptoms, it is critical to talk to your doctor. 

Symptoms of Manic Episodes

Symptoms of a manic episode include:

  • Feeling euphoric or on top of the world
  • Feeling extremely irritable
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Racing thoughts
  • The urge to accomplish many things at once
  • Excessive alcohol consumption, sex, or other pleasurable activities

Symptoms of Depressive Episodes

Symptoms of a depressive episode include:

  • Feeling down and anxious
  • Feeling slowed or restless
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Suicidal or hopeless thinking

While having bipolar disorder is severe, getting the help you need is out there. While medication may be a scary prospect, talking to your doctor about adding holistic and alternative treatment methods to your plan may work for you.

Holistic Treatment Methods for Bipolar Disorder

If you are looking to add a holistic treatment method to your treatment plan, there are many ways to incorporate this. First is finding a method that works for you. Meditation, mindfulness, and yoga are three of the most popular treatment items because they bring about a sense of peace.

Yoga, in particular, works for many experiencing bipolar disorder. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, “Yoga is an ancient and complex practice, rooted in Indian philosophy. It began as a spiritual practice but has become popular as a way of promoting physical and mental well-being.”

Yoga requires no medication or therapy; however, it can work in tandem with both methods as a way of treating your bipolar disorder. Talking to your therapist or working with a yoga practitioner could help you decide if this method of holistic treatment is right for you.

The Benefits of Yoga for Bipolar Disorder

Yoga can have many benefits for those experiencing other mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. However, it can also have immense benefits for those experiencing bipolar disorder. The impact yoga has had on those with depressive symptoms has changed the way they go about their lives.

Some of the benefits of adding yoga to your treatment plan include:

  • Reduced stress
  • Mindfulness
  • Feeling of happiness if you are feeling irritable
  • Feeling a sense of hope and peace for those moments when you feel hopeless and depressed
  • General sense of well-being physically, spiritually, and mentally

Some people experiencing bipolar disorder can also experience body aches and pains. Yoga is a terrific way to alleviate some of the stress on your body and help you find the energy to center your mood.

Other Benefits of Yoga

One of the best things about yoga is that it is easy to start and doesn’t cost money. You can easily start incorporating yoga stretches by watching online videos and practicing them from the comfort of your home. When you are ready to integrate yoga into your treatment plan, talking to your doctor or therapist can be of immense help.

The impact of yoga goes beyond just mental well-being. It also helps center you spiritually and physically. For those with bipolar disorder, this can make all the difference when having a manic or hypomanic episode. If you are in an outpatient treatment program like the one Alter Wellness Care offers, you may be able to incorporate yoga in between therapy sessions.

Be honest with your doctors about your symptoms. Holistic treatment plans may work for you, especially if your treatment plan needs tweaking. Yoga is a fantastic way to practice mindfulness and will benefit you and your mood. Don’t give up the fight, as the right treatment plan is out there for you.

Are you looking to add yoga or another holistic treatment method to your plan of care? Alter Wellness Care believes in helping its clients find peace of mind through therapy and other outpatient treatment programs. We encourage you to call us and discuss your options. If you are looking for a diagnosis of your symptoms, our licensed medical professionals can help you gain the information you need to seek proper treatment. We are always here to help you and give you hope in the fight against mental health disorders. Call the team at (866) 311-3510 to learn more about treatment and how Alter Wellness Care can help you live a healthier and happier life.  

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