Psychedelic Therapy for Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme shifts from incredibly outgoing and exuberant behavior (manic episode) to deep and painful depression. Formerly labeled as “manic-depressive disorder,” it is challenging both for the individual with bipolar disorder and their close relationships. Most with bipolar disorder have a close relative with the disorder, signifying its heritability and genetic components. 

Bipolar disorder can emerge as early as late childhood or as late as early elderhood (around age 50). The median age for onset of symptoms is 25 years.

At Within, we take the proper care to ensure that our clients can move through to recovery. Our medical staff will work with your physician to ensure minimal interaction between psychiatric drugs, giving you the best possible outcome. Recognizing the symptoms in oneself is the first step to recovery. 

These are the common experiences associated with manic and depressive episodes that occur in bipolar disorder:

Manic Episode

  • Reduced sleep; increased motor and cognitive activity (racing thoughts, planning grand projects, etc.)
  • Feel more potent, influential, and invulnerable
  • Increased tendency to abuse substances, gamble, or engage in unsafe and promiscuous sexual activity 
  • Increased spending

Depressive Episode

  • Completely depleted of energy, lethargic, difficulty finding purpose or meaning
  • Anhedonia, or lack of pleasure
  • Increased suicidal ideation and behavior
  • Inability to concentrate or make decisions

There are three forms of bipolar disorder based on severity and length of manic and depressive episodes. 

Bipolar I Disorder

Characterized by manic episodes that last at least 7 days. Those experiencing full manic episodes can be dangerous to themselves and others physically, emotionally, and financially. Manic episodes are followed by deep depressive episodes lasting a minimum of two weeks. Individuals are at heightened risk for suicide at the end of the manic episode leading into the depressive episode. Those experiencing manic episodes should seek psychiatric care immediately. 

Bipolar II Disorder

Bipolar II can be differentiated from bipolar I as manic episodes are not as intense and problematic, referred to as hypomania. While still impacting functioning, they are at lesser risk for financial, interpersonal, and health consequences. They also experience depressive episodes, though these are also generally less severe than those experienced in bipolar I. 

Cyclothymia (or Cyclothymic Disorder)

Those who experience cyclothymia also experience hypomanic and moderate depression, but experience them on milder scales and timelines. 

Treating Bipolar Disorder with Ketamine-Assisted Therapy

At Within, we take extreme care to ensure the safety of our clients. Our medical staff will closely examine current medications and ensure there are no contraindications. Many psychedelic therapies are contraindicated in treatment of bipolar disorder as they can trigger manic episodes. Research suggests that ketamine can be an effective treatment as it acts on a different set of neurotransmitters than classic psychedelics. 

Bipolar disorder, at this stage of our research and understanding, requires consistent medical monitoring and the use of stabilizing medications such as lithium. Preliminary research suggests that ketamine treatment may help to reorganize neurochemistry, producing a stabilizing effect. 

Schedule an initial consultation with us today