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  • Medication, to take it or not to take it?

    So I was diagnosed as bipolar when I was about 12, about 13 years ago. I've been on and off medication with varying results but none of them what I'd call ideal. My question is should I take the medication they will probably want to prescribe me? I have been off medication for nearly two years now. I don't want to be back on medication. I am usually prescribed some very serious/strong anti-psychotics. The side effects are usually horrendous. My brother, who was diagnosed with ADHD, was able to "treat" or managed his ADHD through diet alone because he hated being on his medication. I supposed my question is probably more along the lines of; Can I expect my diet change with the Primal diet to help me manage or treat my disease? If so how can I explain this to my doctors. I have an appointment on February 9th and I really want to be able to walk in with facts to back up my reasons as to why I don't want to take those drugs and why my diet will allow me not to. If you all think maybe I should take them or that this diet can't really help with my disease I am fully ready to accept that as well.

  • #2
    I support you in working with your doctor to see if you can get off the meds safely.

    BUT if the people around you are saying you're changing for the worse off the meds, get back on them. PLEASE. I lost a dear friend to suicide because he decided to take himself off of his medication for bipolar and didn't listen when people told him he was going off the rails.

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    • #3
      I have been wondering the same thing as the OP about anti-depressants. I've been prescribed them and took them for a couple years. I thought that by going primal the diet would help me manage my moods better so I stopped taking the anti-depressants (I lowered the dose over time to get off them). I've been really good at following a primal diet since Jan. 2, and with the exception of Christmas, NYE, and New Years Day, I have been doing it since early December. But, my moods are not good. I think I was a better person on the medication because small things didn't bother me so much. I was able to deal with my non-existent weight loss better then. I'd say I'm clinically depressed again now.

      In theory, it feels like these types of medication are not compatible with the primal/paleo lifestyle. In reality though, life is messy, so I'm not sure.

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      • #4
        bipolar, adhd, all this is stupid ideas. you're fine.

        but ease off the meds slowly because they are your biggest problem.

        then squat or deadlift or whatever you need to do.

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        • #5
          I've been on anti-depressants for about 9 years now. I don't notice much of a difference but Mrs. Griffin swears that I'm more even-keeled when I'm on them.

          It's my wish to be off of them one day but I have to work towards that with other methods.
          There are two wolves fighting within a man's heart, one is Love, the other is Hate. The one that wins is the one you feed.

          My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world. - Jack Layton

          The Primal Adventures of Griffin - Huzzah!

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          • #6
            I was able to get rid of my medication after I changed my diet. It was actually an accident; I missed a dose and noticed I felt better, so I kept missing doses to see if it was a repeatable effect, and it was, so I stopped taking it (cold turkey, which I wouldn't recommend).

            Edit: Why does your doctor want to put you back on medication? Is your mood getting worse?

            Also, how long have you been primal? Are you just starting? I know some people tend to drop the medications either right before they change their diet or soon after, but I dropped mine a few months in. If you truly feel like you need the drugs to balance your mood, I wouldn't rely solely on the diet. Doesn't hurt to be on the safe side with a low dose of medication and then taper it down if your mood improves.

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            • #7
              I have dysthymia (with suicidal lows) with a side of hypomania and ADD. I've been on most anti-depressants, with the exception of prozac and it's kin (the docs didn't like how it might interact with my BC and levothyroxine, not to mention I was in my early 20s.) Every single anti-depressnat I've ever been on (with one exception), threw me way up high (to what I later learned was manic behavior, as it exaggerated the hypomania) for a few days with every dose increase, and then levelled off to approximating normality. It'd work for a week to a month, then I'd need to get a higher dose or a different med, because my body would adjust to the meds and go back to what it considered to be normal. I couldn't cycle through the meds because once I've worn a med out, it's done for good, that immunity stays. The exception was Welbutrin, which worked for several months beautifully, then abruptly threw me into the deepest suicidal funk I'd ever seen.
              I got mine under control in 4 ways, one of which likely may not work for bipolar.
              1) I learned that I was on too low a dose of my thyroid meds. On the correct dose, the dysthymia mostly comes back to a normal range, with only occasional valleys of suicidal and mountains of hypomania.
              2) Therapy, mostly of the self inflicted variety (I wouldn't recommend doing it that way, go to someone who knows what they're doing.) With my journals, I learned what my triggers are and what it takes to pull myself pack from too low a low or too high a high, as well as what each of those was.
              3) Meditation and such, to help me learn where the "true middle" is. My innate middle ground is lower than most peoples, so I had to learn what the "true middle emotion" was before I could figure out how to stay there.
              4) Primal helped, to a degree, by making it easier to think clearly and therefore pinpoint when I was headed for a deep chasm or high mountain.

              All, that aside, I'd say listen to your friends and family. Truly. Listen to your friends and family. As you're stepping your way down off the meds (cold turkey is probably a BAD idea), listen to them to make sure your swings aren't getting larger or more violent. If you need the meds, you need the meds. I'm on an artificial hormone that I originally hoped PB would get rid of. It didn't. That sucks, but I'd rather have the artificial hormone and a happy, semi-sane life than what I'd get without it.
              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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              • #8
                There's a very interesting blog that I read regularly Evolutionary Psychiatry that deals with diet and psych issues. I think it's probably possible for some to control or minimize bipolar disorder with diet, although I have no direct experience with it and couldn't offer specific advice. I do have ADHD which is somewhat controlled with diet and exercise although I'm not certain of similarities with the two disorders. Could be genetic connections, as your brother has ADHD, or it could be you have different variants of genes from different sides of the family. Anyhow, I would definitely look into dietary measures, and don't rule out supplementation as well. Many with psych disorders have deficiencies or problems digesting or metabolizing specific vitamins. Have you ever had blood work done to look for deficiencies or possible health issues? It's a good idea if you haven't.
                Buy house, Demolish house, Build house.

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                • #9
                  My journal is probably a decent example of tracking moods & such. Sometimes I don't realize something is off until after, but at least there's a record. I was diagnosed with depression and generalized anxiety disorder at 15yrs old. Primal helped stabilize my moods, and taking certain supplements helps keep the anxiety at bay. I feel much more happy now than I ever have before, and I've been on and off many medications.

                  Check out "Depression-Free: Naturally", it has some information on how to treat Bipolar Disorder with supplements. I don't know if it's effective or not, but it might give you an idea of how food could help (the supplements you would take are all found in vegetables and animal protein sources, just gives you a bit more on the assumption that you are not absorbing them correctly or have a deficit in your natural stores).
                  Depression Lies

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                  • #10
                    Re: Medication, to take it or not to take it?

                    Well, I am not currently on any medication right now. I haven't been for over two years. I just don't want to start taking medication if I can control my symptoms with my diet and exercise. From what I've read, diet and exercise play a role in the emotional state too. Thank you all for your advice and support!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Timthetaco View Post
                      I was able to get rid of my medication after I changed my diet. It was actually an accident; I missed a dose and noticed I felt better, so I kept missing doses to see if it was a repeatable effect, and it was, so I stopped taking it (cold turkey, which I wouldn't recommend).

                      Edit: Why does your doctor want to put you back on medication? Is your mood getting worse?

                      Also, how long have you been primal? Are you just starting? I know some people tend to drop the medications either right before they change their diet or soon after, but I dropped mine a few months in. If you truly feel like you need the drugs to balance your mood, I wouldn't rely solely on the diet. Doesn't hurt to be on the safe side with a low dose of medication and then taper it down if your mood improves.

                      I have had so pretty bad manic episodes and reached out to them. They know my mental health history so they automatically suggest medication. I've never just gone in and done therapy.

                      I just started primal four days ago. Thank you for your advice.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sihana
                        If anything, the first step they give you should not be medication. In my past experiences, they first usually try the therapy/group therapy route. If it doesn't work, they med you up. Sometimes they do both at the same time.

                        You will need to track your moods, your thoughts and feelings, very closely. I suggest if you already not have, that you keep a journal, filled with details every day about your moods, your thoughts, your feelings. It sounds silly, but there have been many nights I have written things, and only days letter when out of my slump, do I realize how bad I was feeling. It helped me find out what my triggers were (Yes, bipolar can be triggered, gasp!) though, after much trial and error.

                        You will also need to create a space someplace where it will remain neutral in energy and experiences. No Good or bad events should happen. People who suffer mood disorders of any sort are extremely sensitive to changes in moods of the environments they are in. You need this spot to go to when you are experiencing too high an up, or too low a down. You will need a pre-prepared activity which you will do in this spot if you are one to experience extreme emotional spectrum's, to distract you as you calm.

                        I have been on anti-psychotic medicine. Depakote, Lithium, Prozac, Zoloft, and more. All of them attacked my liver quickly, and the lithium poisoned me at one point with its high dosage. I haven't been on any since that incident, so I cannot offer anything there.

                        Good news is, however, going primal a year ago has effectively stopped most of my extreme mood swings. I still am very sensitive to changes in the emotions/environment around me, but I no longer want to kill myself (when down), or kill someone else (when up). It has been getting better overtime.

                        Oh, make sure you get a lot of vitamin D3 and sun, it will help stave off the down swing a bit better.
                        Yeah, I know they plan to put me on medication. My case worker already said as much at my last appointment. They've always gone straight for medication at any facility I've been to. I'm glad to hear that you have had such wonderful results with going Primal and it's effect on your mood swings too. As I am sure you know, those medications are no fun whatsoever.

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                        • #13
                          I am a psychiatric nurse. Yes, medication may be helpful, however most psychotropics also have a multitude of side effects and some are severe. Yes, your diet can have a tremendous effect on your moods. Whether you accept medication or not, you should keep a journal as previously suggested. You should find a good therapist. She can help you explore your moods and thoughts, and she can also be your advocate. Not all therapists are good. Use your instincts. If you can't make a connection or develop trust, then find someone else. However, even a good therapist may cause you to be uncomfortable when discussing difficult issues.

                          Read "Primal Body-Primal Mind", by Nora Gedgaudas. She discusses brain funtion, mood disorders, ADHD, depression and the effects of optimal nutrition. She also gives scientific data regarding nutrition and brain function. It may give you fuel for discussions with your doctor.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by HavMom View Post

                            Read "Primal Body-Primal Mind", by Nora Gedgaudas. She discusses brain funtion, mood disorders, ADHD, depression and the effects of optimal nutrition. She also gives scientific data regarding nutrition and brain function. It may give you fuel for discussions with your doctor.
                            I am reading this book now and so far it has been very enlightening. I highly recommend it for a full-scale read of diet and Paleo.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by HavMom View Post
                              I am a psychiatric nurse. Yes, medication may be helpful, however most psychotropics also have a multitude of side effects and some are severe. Yes, your diet can have a tremendous effect on your moods. Whether you accept medication or not, you should keep a journal as previously suggested. You should find a good therapist. She can help you explore your moods and thoughts, and she can also be your advocate. Not all therapists are good. Use your instincts. If you can't make a connection or develop trust, then find someone else. However, even a good therapist may cause you to be uncomfortable when discussing difficult issues.

                              Read "Primal Body-Primal Mind", by Nora Gedgaudas. She discusses brain funtion, mood disorders, ADHD, depression and the effects of optimal nutrition. She also gives scientific data regarding nutrition and brain function. It may give you fuel for discussions with your doctor.

                              Thank you so much I will check that book out!

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