I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder last fall.My father is also manic depressive and I have observed him try a myriad of drugs for over 50 years, none of which has helped him, including ECT at UCLA. After my trying lithium, Abilify and 7 other drugs over the past year with terrible side effects (the worst one was major depression), I'm trying alternative medicine and 2 weeks into my new regimen, I feel 100%. I'm taking Gaia Herbs Holy Basil, per bottle dosage guidelines, and 8 grams of Nordic Naturals Omega-3's per day. My question is has anyone had a patient who has been successful in treating her bipolar disorder with Holy Basil and Omega-3's?
I can't say, I have read very little about alternative medicines as treatments - I have read a lot about Omega 3 which may help as a supplement but never seen it used as a treatment in full to replace other MS drugs.
What does your pdoc say about this? Are you getting therapy?
if it was me I would worry that these are halo effect from starting a new drug - to see if any drug is effective you need much more than 2 weeks - depending on diagnosis 2 weeks might be nothing in terms of cycles. Many many BP's feel great when they go off their drugs, when I stop taking lithium I feel great too - its called hypomania and I feel on top of the world.
Id be speaking to a pdoc at the least about this - ive also never heard about Holy Basil being used in BP - my ayuverdic yoga teacher uses it for stress and headaches and having just done some reading on it I can't find a single mention about mood stabilisers?
Sorry I am not a huge fan of aternative treatments - too many of them are like snake oil pushed by unqualified people with incorrect or dangerously ill informed opinions on what mental illness is - my advice is ok they seem to be working give it a month, see a psychiatrist and be wary of anyone who says they can fix or cure you - you cannot cure Bipolar - its going to be with you the rest of your life.
And can i just say.. ECT. ughhh. its not used much in Australia anymore.
I am speaking to both my pdoc and tdoc about what I am doing. I am also doing bright light therapy, which has been found to help people with bp if it is done midday...I try acupuncture tomorrow, and I had a massage done today in which energy work was done on my chakra system. I know it sounds hippy dippy, but I am giving it a try because all the drugs I have taken over the past year (including lithium, Abilify, lamictal, Seroquel, Prozac, Cymbalta and a few others) did not work for me and made my depression worse...even suicidal due to the antidepressant drug Elavil; I became suicidal after taking it for only 24 hours and I will never forget it.
I will report back here. I understand only time will tell, and I feel that everything I am doing is helping me. It feels really good to feel better - not hypomanic -- just good and grounded.
Nothing is hippy dippy if it works for you and thats what matters in the end.
I hope it goes well, trust me I know what its like to be suicidal, I tried to kill myself 15 years ago thanks to Prozac. Its not fun.
And anyway I find ayuverdic massage wonderful and effective for me and Im the last person in the world who thought it would work, I also did laughing yoga which felt weird but its fantastic for stress release.
In the end go for it, there's not harm in trying new things if the old things are not working - I only ever advise that people keep seeing a psychiatrist as well just in case as the worst people I have seen over the last few years have been the ones who cut of from all their docs.
Hope you find the inner peace you need, im looking for mine as well right now.
Thanks so much for your comment! I just got off the phone with a trusted health nutritional consultant about my bipolar. He *raved* about magnesium oil (!!!! who knew????) as helping bp and he said it's cheap and that's why the drug companies are trying to shut it down- he also suggested my taking even higher dosages of holy basil (up to 30 capsules a day!!) and taking 9-10 grams of fish oil (high-quality) a day.
I am so sorry you too have faced the suicide demon and wish you the best and hope tomorrow is a much better day for you.
Keep in touch. I just joined this site and am getting to know it, so I'll try making you my first friend soon.
Physiology of sodium, calcium, and magnesium seem to have something to do with bipolar, but it's not usually as simple as taking supplements. Perhaps what you are doing will be the key for you, though.
However, be cautious that you may just be in a state of remission, or "normal period in between" episodes. Watch for signs of mania or depression.
You are a chemical cocktail!! Do you not realize the effect of all these drugs on your brain chemistry/ your body? Whoever is prescribing them for you would NOT take them for her/himself -- great that you are trying the accupuncture, massage, energy work ... Remember it is the BIG drug companies behind all the research on these drugs ..Our bodies have enormous potential to heal themselves .. and sometimes when chemistry stays out of balance we do need to look to pharmaceuticals ... but the cocktail concocted for you .... good lord
Anyway your sense of control is great ... keep working with your body like you are... read Dr. Andrew Weil ...I hate it when I hear about all of these chemicals dumped into a brain that is already fragile ... our ability to heal ourselves is AMAZING!
Sounds like you are adding some alternative therapies whichis bringing yor into stability
Dont think that just because a big company is behind something its good... Dont forget that it was big pharma that pushed Thalidomide into the market and its big pharma that seems to make sure that drugs that do work like Lithium are not as often prescribed in the US as there is no money in them.
Im often half convinced that some of the new atypicals I see on here and other sites are little more than new ways to charge more for a drug when a cheaper one might do.
Big pharma isnt always right - you need to be sure to find a doctor who cares about you as a patient not as another script to write for the latest drug the drug rep told them about. My GP has gotten to the point where he wont allow any drug advertising, pens or freebies on the premises as he knows it was influencing the prescribing habits of his younger doctors in the practice.
Ok, I've got a little story for you. One of my best friends from my 1st yr. in college (which I attended in 1987) is named Joel. He was like my big brother. After we both graduated from U.C. Santa Cruz, I lost touch with him, due to my depression...despite his repeated attempts to stay in touch with me.
Fast forward 10 years after my graduation from college. I had just had my second baby. Being in labor for 24 hours triggered my latent bipolar condition. (Did you know that sleep deprivation used to be prescribed to manic depressives? I know because the doctors did that with my father.I became manic, and I was scared out of my mind. My thoughts were racing out of control, I had so much energy I could injure Arnold Schwarzenegger, and I was on the rampage. My husband and 3 yr. old were terrifed to see me that way. So I agreed to be evaluated at our local hospital's behavioral heath unit, which I had heard scary things about (my ex had been there for a month and told me inpatients pooped on themselves and it all sounded really barbaric) but since my husband was freaking, I thought that if I got evaluated & *possibly* diagnosed (at that point, I didn't realize I truly had bp just like my Dad! Naively,I thought I simply had postpartum mania and it would calm down on its own) it would help restore our traumatized family to peace. So off we went to the BHU.
Our family (me, my sweetie, our 3 yr. old and our --6 week old--- infant) is in the waiting room, complete with bullet-proof windows in front of the admitting office. We are told the Charge Nurse will come in for my intake. All of a sudden I hear my name "Dy"!!! I look up. It's Joel. He was the BHU Charge Nurse at the hospital. We couldn't believe it! My jaw dropped. Last I heard, he was an EMT. Because Joel knew me personally he had to hand me off to another nurse for my intake. I signed myself in, after much hesitation. I voluntarily admitted myself *only because* an excellent, compassionate shrink encouraged me to get help. Originally I was not going to volunteer to stay there for more than a few hours. I didn't want to be away from my baby, you see, and I was breastfeeding her. (Couldn't do that anymore after they gave me Zyprexa - but I digress.) Anyway, Joel kept tabs on me my 3 day, $19,000 stay. The food was mediocre. The other patients? Batsh*t crazy. We had meth addicts, prostitutes, you name it - and I saw one patient sh*t on the floor in front of me at breakfast. It was not a healing environment, you see. So...I kept in touch sporadically with Joel after my release. When he found out I was taking Abilify over a 5 month period (@ only 2.5 mg/day) he flipped out. "I call it 'DEBILIFY'!" he said. "It shouldn't be used for mania. I'm thinking of filing a class action lawsuit against the company after I pass the bar!" (he's leaving behavioral health/nursing to be a lawyer -- what a surprise.) Well, he went on and on about how he observed Abilify not helping anyone at the BHU, despite the pharma. company's claiming how wonderful the drug is "specifically for bipolar" and all that. And I must tell you, I felt like total s$%t while on it for every day of those 5 mos., and I did not feel it helping. When I initially took it at 15 mg. I felt like crawling out of my body and that's why we dropped it to 2.5 over a period of time. Abilify, for me, that is, *****.
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