I wanted to briefly bring your attention to an avenue you may not have considered for treating bipolar depression: over-the-counter painkillers.
Some of these drugs, like aspirin and ibuprofen, include anti-inflammatory agents. Interestingly, inflammation has been found to be connected with mood disorders. Various studies over the years have examined the effect of anti-inflammatory drugs for bipolar disorder, and overall, they have found that people taking these meds experience a reduction in depression symptoms 40 percent greater than the reduction for those just doing therapy.
Forty percent! That’s a big cut! And it’s not just theoretical — I’ve seen the effect among my clients many times. I recommend its use for patients who are taking more traditional bipolar meds as well as those who aren’t.
If you’re struggling with bipolar or another mood disorder, come see me. We can talk about whether adding aspirin or ibuprofen to your current treatment would be good for you. In so many cases, it’s a big help.
Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Mental Health Solutions, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.