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Bipolar Disorder/Bi-polar disorder and Chantix


Several years ago I was diagnosed as a manic depressive person. I have not had a bi-polar episode in over 15 years and I have been off of medication the same amount of time. I had come to know what my triggers were and how to diffuse the depression or anger before it started. Now I can't. Two weeks ago my doctor prescribed Chantix for me to help in my endeavor to quit smoking and on Monday of this week, I experienced the worst bi-polar episode of my entire life. I ending up resigning from my job (which I can't take back) and other than going back on bi-polar meds (lithium which I didn't like)- is there another way to treat bi-polar with out meds?

Hi Janet,

My advice would be to stop using the Chantix.  It can have some horrible effects especially when combined with other drugs.  "Infrequently, varenicline (Chantix) may cause serious mental/mood changes, even after stopping the medication. Drinking alcohol while taking this medication may increase the risk for mental/mood changes. Quitting smoking itself may also cause mental/mood changes. Stop taking varenicline and tell your doctor or pharmacist immediately if you have symptoms such as depression/suicidal thoughts, agitation, aggressiveness, or other unusual thoughts or behavior." - this is information from WebMD about Chantix.

I would suggest strongly to use Nicorette patches, gum or an electronic cigarette.  Bearing in mind that quitting smoking will cause you to be moody and it is better if that is the case, to wean off steadily rather than shocking your system.  

Other alternative treatments for Bi-Polar include:

Omega-3 fatty acids. These oils may help improve brain function and depression associated with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder appears to be less common in areas of the world where people regularly eat fish rich in omega-3s. Omega-3s appear to have a number of health benefits, but more studies are needed to determine just how much they help with bipolar disorder.  Omega-3 can be bought as a supplement or just by increasing your fish intake in your diet.

Magnesium Supplements. Several small studies have suggested that magnesium supplements may lessen mania and the rapid cycling of bipolar symptoms.

St. John's wort. This herb may be helpful with depression. However, it can also interact with antidepressants and other medications, and it has the potential to trigger mania in some people.  It is best to be taken on its own.

Acupuncture. This ancient Chinese practice of inserting tiny needles into the skin may relieve depression, but more studies are needed to confirm its benefits. However, it won't hurt for you to try it acupuncture is safe and can be done along with other bipolar disorder treatments.

Yoga. Yoga may help ease depression and mood swings associated with bipolar disorder. It also has a number of other health benefits.

Massage therapy. Massage may also help relieve anxiety and stress, which can worsen bipolar symptoms.

Behavioral therapy. This focuses on behaviors that decrease stress.

Cognitive therapy. This type of approach involves learning to identify and modify the patterns of thinking that accompany mood shifts.

Interpersonal therapy. This involves relationships and aims to reduce strains that the illness may place upon them.

Social rhythm therapy. This helps you develop and maintain daily routines.

Support groups also help people with bipolar disorder. You receive encouragement, learn coping skills, and share concerns. You may feel less isolated as a result. Family members and friends may also benefit from a support group. They can gain a better understanding of the illness, share their concerns, and learn how to best support loved ones with bipolar disorder.

I hope this has been of help to you.



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Samantha Flynn


I can answers many questions relating to an array of issues including depression, panic/anxiety disorders, eating disorders, bereavement, sexuality,phobias,bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress and stress management. A special interest in Womens Health also.


I am a deeply empathic practising qualified counsellor with 8 years' experience in counselling, qualified in Dip. Counselling, Psychology & Psychotherapy, currently also studying advanced Dip. in Psychiatry. Speaking both through qualification, counselling experience and even personal experience. I maintain full confidentiality and an open mind. I have experience in counselling people from all walks of life and from different cultures.

Dip. Counselling, Psychology & Psychotherapy Adv. Dip. Mental Health & Psychiatry Cert. in Biology & Behaviour in Psychology Dip. Social Work Studies Cert. Memory & Cognition in Psychology Cert. NLP Leadership & Practice Cert. Human Health, Health & Human Development

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