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Alternative help for mood disorder in 16 yr old

16 yr old daughter diagnosed with bipolar nos/possible bpd
- hospitalized 2x -
on lots of drugs - "recovered" cutter
DBT not helpful
many therapists
having behavior issues on top of mood swings
found notes in room about wanting to feel "numb" - but not die (previous issues with suicide ideation)
tired of taking and switching medicine

would like to try alternative treatment..any thoughts on acupuncture?
5 Responses
Avatar universal
Acupunture may help a bit but I wouldn't count on it to help the whole way. I've used acupunture when recovering from jaw surgery and it helped, but I have never gone specifically for my bipolar.

Chinese medicines are also tricky because they are occasionally contaminated with heavy metals or other safety issues as they come from China and the laws there aren't as good in regards to safety. If you do go this route make sure you are seeing a Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor or doctor of naturopathy or doctor of natural medicine. Chinese medicine tastes like crap though so it may be a hard sell to a 16 year old not wanting to take pills.

If you have some financial resources I would explore The Amen Clinics and they have some suppliments based on what a brain scan would show. I would love to do this but unfortunately I am in Canada and the cost is too much. They use natural products first, and then if that doesn't work they move to psychiatrics. By doing the brain scan they treat the problem in the brain versus the current 'best guess' approach. Absolutely fascinating stuff they are doing.  

DBT takes a while and some dedication to be helpful. If she isn't well enough that may be why it isn't working. So don't abandon it altogether, it may be worth looking at when she stabilizes a bit more.

And do not mix herbals with pharmaceuticals without checking with the pharmacist or psychiatrist. For example St. John's Wort - excellent herbal med for depression - do not take it if bipolar is suspected as it can send you into mania. And there are others.
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I have never read any posts or articles about using acupuncture for bipolar.
Avatar universal
I know personally about getting tired of switching and taking medications.  When I was first diagnosed 7 years ago the doctors started the "guessing game" of what meds to put me on and it took 2 years for them to find the right ones for me without being in a zombie like state or manic or hypomanic mood.  I don't know anything about alternative medications but with the right doctor and the right medications symptoms will improve dramatically.
Avatar universal
Thank you for all your thoughts and advice!  I would LOVE to have a brain scan done, but not sure if insurance would pay for it, or if her docs would even go for it.  I do know not to mix any type of herbal "stuff". especially being on so many meds.  Not sure what the Amen Clinics are, but will look into this option.  Thanks for responding, hopefully I can report back with some "good news" soon!
Avatar universal
Thanks for responding!  Not to be nosey, but how old were you when you were diagnosed?

I also suffer from depression and take meds, but also being "older" I've learned (but still learning) how to "pull myself up by the boot straps" and move on.

I also get overwhelmed and sometimes just "blow-up" which I know isn't good for me, my daughter (or anyone else around).  It's tough enough at my age, I just hate to see my daughter suffering so badly.  She does start a new therapist, but not until June...lets all keep our fingers crossed!
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