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  • Vitamins and Mental Illness

    Monday I got diagnosed with Bipolar 2 disorder amongst a few other mental illnesses. I am a firm believer in using western meds only when absolutely necessary and have been looking into how nutrition may affect mental illness. So far I have heard of a host of deficiencies or overabundance of various vitamins being related to mental illness. I know from personal experience, being vitamin d deficient, that when I take about 8000IU of vitamin D I actually feel better and can counter balance my depressed moods.

    I was wondering if anyone else out there treats their illnesses, bipolar or otherwise, with nutrition. If so, what and how?
    My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread34085.html


    9/6/11: 390.1lbs

    5/22/12: 339.4lbs

    Goal: 175lbs

  • #2
    I do believe that a Bipolar diagnosis falls under the category of "absolutely necessary". Doctors are generally very wary of diagnosing someone biopolar, it's not the ADD equivelent for adults. I would suggest complying with the drugs suggested by your doctor AND supplimenting with Vit D, Fish Oil, and a probably others that more knowledgeable folks on here can suggest. They can be used in tandem, it doesn't have to be one or the other.
    The more I see the less I know for sure.
    -John Lennon

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    • #3
      Please if you have not already take the time to read "The Mood Cure" by Dr. Julia Ross and "Depression Free Naturally" by Joan Mathews Larson PhD. Also "The Perfect Health Diet" would be a good read. Keeping your diet ketogenic and strictly monitoring carbs will give you the best results. My mom has bipolar disorder and I can tell a major difference in her when she is not following the plan.

      Comment


      • #4
        Earthmomma: I plan to take the meds they give me (provided I react well to them) until such time as I can control it through diet alone, considering the fact that it takes longer to feel an affect with vitamins than it does from the meds. However I will be looking into alternative therapy, including a PSD, for the long term approach.

        Natural: I'll look that book up in the library, thank you. I read that kids can be monitored by adhereing to a strict no sugar diet (which would be good for me anyway considering I am pre-diabetic-case ya can't tell, I'm an aspiring primal lifestyler) so I'm much much more keen to the primal life. I should probably also restrict my caffeine intake (my drug of choice after sugar) until I learn my limits. Thank you!
        My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread34085.html


        9/6/11: 390.1lbs

        5/22/12: 339.4lbs

        Goal: 175lbs

        Comment


        • #5
          I second "lil_earthmomma" in that bipolar is DEFINATELY one of those things that you have to take meds for. Yes, many of us with mental illness (myself included) and primal people in general, dislike taking meds! However, I think to try and fix this with vitamins and food alone will only lead to years of struggle and heartache, and ultimately I don't believe can be done.

          As for supplements WHILE you are taking the (lithium?) meds, here is what I take for depression/anxiety:
          600 mg of SAM-E (on empty stomach in morning-30 min before a meal)
          4 fish oil tablets - spaced throughout the day is best, but always at morning/night
          Plenty of vitamin D
          "Deplin" - a high potency folic acid pill that is by prescription only, although technically a vitamin (works WAY better than regular folic acid, and is GREAT)
          You may want to try St. John's Wart
          At night: 100-200 mg of 5-HTP (makes you drowsy) on empty stomach if possible or with a banana or something

          KEEP IN MIND: all these supplements take about 2-6 weeks to begin working and reach full potential. DON"T GIVE UP on them! They really do help me. If you find they aren't helping after 3 months, then reevaluate.

          ALSO don't give up on yourself! You CAN do this - I have struggled with my anxiety/depression for years, but what has helped the MOST has been eating primal and getting off the grains/sugars, in combination with my vitamins/minerals/AND the presc. med. I still am not able to get off my one anxiety/depression med (have tried unsuccessfully), but am doing 200% better on it than I ever have. It wasn't even really working before I went primal.

          Don't lose hope, but do take time to "grieve" your way through this process. It can seem like a sad thing to live with mental illness, but yet, this struggle has also made me more aware of who I am, and what I need as a person to thrive. If you can manage to treat this like a journey to wellness, it may help. Focus on the future and what it holds, try to be positive. Think about what your life will be like, in say a year, when you have this more under control. Think about your life in two years and what you will do then.

          Take your doctor's advice, and make sure you find a doctor you like and trust, and when you do make sure you treat that person well (keep your appointments, try to take their advice to the letter, & have honest dialogues with them), as they can be a strong ally in your life.

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          • #6
            Thank you EvansMom. My other diagnoses were/are PTSD (from two different events) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I'm hoping to at least minimize the dosage in the long run of the meds they perscribe (they haven't yet) by eating well, destressing when possible, sleeping well, etc. Plus, your honesty abotu what you take is very helpful to me. When I go to the doc next (not any of the head docs, lol) I'm going to bring this up and seek advice.
            My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread34085.html


            9/6/11: 390.1lbs

            5/22/12: 339.4lbs

            Goal: 175lbs

            Comment


            • #7
              I know a couple people with Bipolar 2 including family, and yes, this is something you should take medication for. You can easily fall into a mood where you're a risk to yourself and others.
              I'm a paleo foodie, come check out my recipes: http://strangekitty.ca/

              Comment


              • #8
                That's what it is, bipolar 2.
                My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread34085.html


                9/6/11: 390.1lbs

                5/22/12: 339.4lbs

                Goal: 175lbs

                Comment


                • #9
                  I was diagnosed dysthymic, general anxiety, and ADHD a while back. I control the dysthymia by controlling my thyroid (Hashimoto's thyroiditis), so I'm of no help to you there. The anxiety is greatly helped by supplementing selenium and drinking tea (black, white, gree, oolong.. it doesn't matter). That and, as bizaare as it sounds, giving yourself an hour a day just to zone out and not really think or do much of anything do wonders for my GAD. I can't really help onthe bipolar front, other than to say you do want to take the meds and get them working, then start on the supplement stuff. Get it gone so that you can tell the difference between "normal" and bipolar and adjust what you do accordingly.
                  Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, steak in one hand, chocolate in the other, yelling "Holy F***, What a Ride!"
                  My Latest Journal

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                  • #10
                    Naiad: How do you "turn off your brain" as I call it? As a stay at home mom with a huge amount of stress in my life that I can't control (as the person who diagnosed me put it-I'm in a wierd time warp where things that usually happen over the course of decades are happening within a matter of 6 months) if I let myself think then I start to worry and plan and go graaaaaah. Maybe it's something the meds will help with until I can teach myself how.
                    My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread34085.html


                    9/6/11: 390.1lbs

                    5/22/12: 339.4lbs

                    Goal: 175lbs

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have bipolar 2 as well...

                      I took lithium for a while and got freaked that it was going to destroy my thyroid - I also had sexual side effects (complete loss of libido... ugh). So.. I discontinued taking it (during a hypomanic phase... so I felt I was good without it). Anyway - I was doing well, and hit another depression coupled with Generalized Anxiety Disorder... I have recently become hyper anxious, and very obsessive in my behaviours - so I decided to head back to the doc for some meds.

                      I've also noticed issues with my cycles and was thinking hormones are playing a big role in this too... I'm just a mess. lol

                      Anyway - I went through ALL the med choices with my doctor and we settled on carbamazapime (just started, very low dose to increase over a month), buspor for the anxiety (this stuff is freaking amazing!! But, I can TELL when it wears off... its pretty good though), and projesterone cream to regulate my hormones mid to late cycle.

                      I also take mag citrate, d3 (2000 - 3000 IU/day), fish oil (2 tsp/day as per Robb Wolf calculator), and B12 (I think I should actually be taking a b complex, which I will get next time).

                      I do have a book on managing bipolar naturally - but haven't cracked it yet.

                      Oh! I also practice yoga regularly and I TRY to make meditation a regular habit, but gosh - thats tough to do with kids around! lol. I try to get my meditation in while gardening, walking, exercising (as per Mark's post on "flow" a few months back).
                      Robin
                      ~primal mama to 3~

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by metalsporks View Post
                        Naiad: How do you "turn off your brain" as I call it? As a stay at home mom with a huge amount of stress in my life that I can't control (as the person who diagnosed me put it-I'm in a wierd time warp where things that usually happen over the course of decades are happening within a matter of 6 months) if I let myself think then I start to worry and plan and go graaaaaah. Maybe it's something the meds will help with until I can teach myself how.
                        meds. Or lots of volunteering to keep yourself busy. I'm a stay at home mom too - and I really think there is something to how we've lost a community when we stay at home. We do this mostly in isolation - and its NOT easy!! If you can find yourself a little support group - that goes a long long way. I find the loneliness combined with the mass amount of work staying at home entails to be quite overwhelming at times - add in bipolar.. well the hypomanic phases are GREAT and hugely productive!! the depression freaking sucks!!
                        Robin
                        ~primal mama to 3~

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                        • #13
                          Check out Evolutionary Psychiatry (linked to sitemap) for a Primal perspective on the stuff that makes our brains tick.

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                          • #14
                            Metalsporks: You might wanna try a mind calming, clarifying supplement like L-Theanine. It helps dramatically with me, i have borderline Personality disorder and my mind races off with itself...it also makes the voices shut up. lol
                            I'm a paleo foodie, come check out my recipes: http://strangekitty.ca/

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              nocturnal: I find it particularly troublesome, being a SAHM, to have a husband who doesn't help a whole lot on the home/kids front, who doesn't think I do much, and who completely doesn't understand my allergies/bipolar 2 and how crippling they can be at times.... Sorry, needed to vent.
                              My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread34085.html


                              9/6/11: 390.1lbs

                              5/22/12: 339.4lbs

                              Goal: 175lbs

                              Comment

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