Well I'll actually answer a question you didn't ask first. Perhaps there is a way for you to find insurance coverage. If you have the "Medicaid Buy in for Working People with Disabilities" in your state (google the term) then you could be eligible through that. If you are not working of course you could obtain straight Medicaid coverage. You can find out more about benefits at your local independent living center. There's one in every county of every state. Here's a list:
As for your general question fish oil or flaxseed oil is used as an adjunct mood stabilizer by many psychiatrists and the anti-cholesterol medication Lovaza was developed from it and is being used experimentally for bipolar. Be sure to get a brand that is pure and is in a known concentration. Also the concentrates of fatty acids sold that are derived from fish oil are good as well. Lecithin has been of some use as well. Those are the two that are known quantities. The rest are unknown. Do not take Tyrosine or Taurine under any circumstances. They are highly dangerous. I know all of this not just from studies but because I've tried all of them as well and fish oil was actually a good supplement mood stabilizer though I don't know if it could function as a mood stabilizer on its own.
But the more pressing question is getting insurance coverage and I could give you some suggestions on that. Then you could get the prescriptions you needed to begin with.
I would disagree with the reccomendation for Lithium Orotate and I am definitely not against experimental medications if you read through my posts. Quite the opposite with all the studies I am in. Go to Wikipedia which is no way a reliable reference but then go to the articles it cites which are and you can see its a proven risk. The problem is that its not just "natural Lithium". Its unregulated Lithium. The very action that Lithium takes regardless of what kind it is requires monitoring for side effects such as bloodtests. And perhaps it is safer but its unregulated and thus an unknown quantity. However, if there are multiple clinical stuides that prove its safer I would like to know because then psychiatrists should consider researching it. I have discussed glycine but I would not reccomend it as its a phase II antipsychotic agent but there are perhaps 50 controlled studies in the United States confirming its effacacy. I don't feel comfortable reccomending it but I feel comfortable taking it. I do take rhodiola for tardive dyskinesia which is a natural remedy though but there are confirmed clinical studies for that. Not all studies are valid and follow scientific principles and guidelines for studies. Some are so vague they just asked people if it helped. I usually have my psychopharmocologist comb through PubMed and find how many studies are medically verifiable, including European ones as well and he has tried natural remedies that he felt had some validity and the results were not always succesful though and in some cases such as the Percitam (for movement disorders) disastrous but the side effects I got were not always typical but as they were unregulated they were no guarantees but if you looked up Percitam you'd find it listed as a "smart drug" which is basically a pep pill for people who want to stay up at night or feel more energy. They in no way boost intelligence. The studies for it on tardive dyskinesia were clinically valid however. That's not to say a person can't get results from Lithium Orotate. But there still are risks. Fish oil, flaxseed oil and Lecithin if taken in normal quantities don't have risks.
And regardless when you do get coverage you need to go back to seeing a psychiatrist even if you are taking natural remedies as since they are mood stabilizers they need to be monitored by a psychiatrist. All natural remedies should be taken under a doctor's supervision but especially ones for psychiatric disabilities, as in the recovery process you can't monitor your own mood swings.
From my point of view ... Lithium Orotate is not approved for treatment, its also dangerous because people take it without getting proper medical supervision and thus no levels monitoring and management - there are plenty of people who will tell you it cures everything and can cure depression and help you lose weight among other stupid claims. Its not approved for use as a dug and there's a good reason why.
Its mainly used in pets as a matter of fact and sold as a diet supplement as well. You would likely do better with Cod Liver Oil and St Johns Wort. The fact is orotate is actually not effective and may be more dangerous than Lithium Carbonate - doing some ciritcal reading (IE not the vitamin sites) will show a different picture of this untested drug. The studies that have been done dispell the myth you dont need as much and there are no side effects - as every person is different you cannot begin to judge what your reaction will be and depending on presentation and symptoms you may not just need a mood stabiliser you might need an AP or an AD or an anti anxiety.
The cornerstone of treament is a trio of drug therapy, life education and behavioural education (ie right foods, exercise etc) and therapy. These are vital. The real killer about BP is you can go a long time without major episodes but then it can slam you so hard you dont know where you are.
Put it this way. Try and find one board certified psychiatrist who reccomends using it.....
Lithium carbonate is cheap and effective, surely you can see a family doc or health service who can give you scripts?
Natural medications are medications and are quite simply as dangerous, if not more, because you don't have a medical team following you during your treatment. There are no natural cures to speak of. This illness is like diabetes for example, you don't go to your local herbalist and forgot insulin. The relapse rate is over 90% if you aren't on a regime of meds, education/sefl awareness and therapy. Many "natural" drugs are still drugs and have seriously implications. They also can end up costing more in the long run. Omega-3 oils work as conjunctive therapy - Lithium is cheap and considerably cheaper as well. Why aren't you getting help?
I have tried everything natural, I mean everything, all the amino acids, various combo's of vitamins, the St. Johns wort. Trytophan, B vitamins, all for a long trial. starflower oil, primrose oil. All the natural herbs for sleep.
5 years on high quality fish oil EPA. Also the green seeweed stuff. wheat grass, high protein diet. More I cant remember!!
Nothing worked for me, sorry, but these things just didnt work and you are taking a big risk if you think they will help you.
That depends. Psychiatrists will authorize taking fish oil or flaxseed oil as an adjunct to medication. As I said there are proven studies of that and that's how they developed the anti-cholesterol medication Lovaza which is used experimentally for bipolar. As for the others mentioned. St. John's wort is used in Europe for depression. It will make a person with bipolar manic. Tryptophan is potentially dangerous. Starflower oil, primrose oil, green seaweed, wheet grass are all unproven in any studies. A high protein diet would not have mood effects. I was suggested to take a B Vitamin complex and Vitamin C for mood stabilization. It didn't do anything for mood stabilization but it is healthy overall. With the addition of Vitamin C I've gotten less colds. Its a good dietary supplement but will not help on bipolar.
And high quality fish oil EPA will help on bipolar. But best under the authorization of a psychiatrist. And MonkeyC you are right except about cod liver oil. That can build up to a toxic dose in the liver. Fish oil, flaxseed oil are good and concentrate EPA is best but all under the care of a psychiatrist. The effect I felt on mood stabilization was not just "calming" it was measurable. I remember and I did not think it would work at the time so it was not placebo effect but studies and psychiatrists would back me up. In fact my psychopharmocologist was the one who told me to take it. But they should be taken under the direction of a psychiatrist.
And I do believe that you should look into means of obtaining cover and I could provide some ideas on that as I said since I volunteer in the arena of benefits advocacy.
Ahh yeah I was trying to remember if it was cod liver oil or just fish oils.. I dont use it myself but have read good things.
The big key to BP treatment is a healthy balanced diet, exercise and looking after yourself - it sounds so hokey but eating well, exercising and making sure you get as much rest and relaxation time as possible is so important.
Ultimately everyone of the natural and herbal drugs for BP are little more than snake oil and promises - like cancer and diabetes bipolars and other mentally ill people are preyed on by unscrupulous or ill advised peamountople who will sell you x or y as a treatment and even a cure - I have seen people who claim you can cure BP and I have met them here.
You cannot cure bipolar, no drug will make it go away all you can do is treat and manage the symptoms and learn how to deal with them - this is the key, education is vital to learn what to do when you feel depressed or manic and how to get help.
Supplements like Lithium orotate are sold as just like lithium - they are not - Orotate is a different ionic bonded lithium and its been studied and despite the claims of the natural therapies people it is not safer nor needs a lower does - the reason why its used by naturopaths and homeopaths is its not prescription and thus they can give it to patients without a prescribers license - some reading on it shows its not remotely as safe as its made out to be.
I think you made some good points and I agree with you about the natural remedies with the exception made for fish oil (there are natural remedies useful for depression but I put that in another post) and Lecithin is used as well including by my psychopharmocologist. And certainly the need to see a psychiatrist and take anything under their supervision.
And certainly no one will ever be "cured" but just as a person with epilepsy needs to take anti-convulsants all their life but most people with epilepsy no longer have experience seizures as for what is being studied pharmaceutically (some of which as many medications derived from other things, I mentioned Lovaza being derived from fish oil and its mechanisms for bipolar and Rozerem as a sleeping pill being derived from Melatonin) I have firm assurance that as the new medications in development are released people will make fuller recoveries. I'm sure no one predicated anyone would make a full recovery from schizoaffective disorder and as the studies of the glutaminergic antipsychotics show my recovery may not be unique and the recovery rate is certainly much stronger.
But rather than "hope" for new treatments as some people do find out more information as I did and write letters or send e-mails stating that greater research and development should take place with an emphasis on newer and innovative treatments than researching older copies of the same medications. When they have a working glutamate antagonist antipsychotic released as an approved medications I want to see the recovery rates of other people, especially people here. The site "psychmeds123" will keep you up to date on all medications in development (I believe there's a new antipsychotic out very soon and those are used for bipolar, it is similar in working to Abilify) and this list is even more useful because everyone of these medications is available for prescription but used off label experimentally for bipolar:
and a mood disorders specialist could and would prescribe them.
So for medications the basic idea is get on the best of what is available now and then advocate and certainly find out for what will. Taking medication will always be part of life. Living with remaining symptoms may not be.
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