Leslie Johnson — Aspirin’s good for a lot of things. It helps alleviate pain, ward off strokes, prevent heart attacks, and may prevent mental decline as well as help cure colon cancer. In many ways, aspirin could be considered a miracle drug. As if it wasn’t useful enough already, now there’s talk that aspirin could be used in the treatment of bipolar disorder.
Researchers at the University of Texas Health Center in Houston are currently testing the therapeutic effects aspirin may have when taken by those who suffer from bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is an illness that causes sufferers to experience periods of depression and periods of mania and erratic behavior. Researchers believe that aspirin may help reduce the depressive symptoms that afflict those with bipolar disorder.
When those with bipolar disorder become depressed, researchers believe their brains are suffering from inflammation. Since aspirin reduces inflammation, it may help reduce their depressive symptoms. Inflammation of the brain is associated with a few different illnesses, including schizophrenia, major depression, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. If the University of Texas researchers discover that aspirin can be used to help treat bipolar depression, it may mean that the over-the-counter drug could be used to treat quite a few other illnesses that are caused by inflammation of the brain.
As a part of the same study, the University of Texas research team is also investigating whether or not an anti-oxidant called N-acetyl cysteine could help treat bipolar disorder as well. Other studies have indicated that N-acetyl cysteine can improve how brain cells function and may help repair what causes illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression in the brain.
Both aspirin and N-acetyl cysteine are available to consumers over-the-counter. And both substances have relatively few side effects when taken by patients. If they’re proven to be effective in the treatment of bipolar disorder, it will be good news for sufferers.
The medication currently used to treat bipolar disorder is expensive and comes with a laundry list of unpleasant side effects. Patients may not be able to completely give up their prescription medication for aspirin and N-acetyl cysteine. They may, however, be able to use both to further alleviate their symptoms without having to deal with additional side effects and exorbitant costs.
We’ll just have to wait and see whether or not aspirin could help bipolar patients. Until then, it might not be a bad idea for all of us to look into taking the seemingly magical OTC pill.
About the Author
Leslie Johnson is a freelance health blogger and professional writer who spends most of her time writing for www.mastersinhealthcare.com and other sites related to health education. When Leslie’s not writing, she enjoys swimming and researching trends in healthcare and healthcare education. Please feel free to leave your feedback for Leslie below!