Bipolar 1 Survivor – Information to Help You Thrive
Molly McHugh created this blog to write about bipolar as well as share her personal experiences living with the illness. She research on many topics of interest and makes complicated subject matter seem simple. If you want to understand bipolar disorder better, this is the place for you.
The Chemical Imbalance Theory – also called the “monomine” or “biogenic amine” theory – proposed low levels of one or more of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine in the central nervous system caused mental disturbance i.e. depression, anxiety, psychosis.
Believing You Have a Chemical Imbalance and Have to Take Psychotropic Medications for Life is Not True – and Causes Much Harm.
It was a great hypothesis that has been proven false.
“Not only is the chemical imbalance theory of mental disorder unsubstantiated by any empirical research, but it has also been widely and publicly refuted by a number of prominent psychiatrists…”
Long term these medications are disabling and cause many additional health problems such as obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, liver and kidney damage, sexual dysfunction, etc.
Chemical Imbalance Theory Still Promoted But is Unfounded
“A long overdue debate is raging about the chemical imbalance theory of depression. Having been deluged with this idea for two decades now, the general public has come to believe that it is a scientifically proven fact.”
“An LBC radio presenter recently announced that he had suffered from depression and he knew it was a chemical imbalance. ‘All the goodness is flushed out of the brain [and you have to] top it up now and again; that’s why you need medicine,’ is how he expressed it.”
“Pharmaceutical industry propaganda has led the way in advocating this view, but the medical profession continues to endorse it too.”
“On 18th March 2014, viewers of This Morning, a national UK television programme were advised by the programme’s resident General Practitioner, Dr Chris Steele, that depression consists of a chemical imbalance in the brain caused by depletion of serotonin.”
Even if the mental health professional (psychiatrist, psychologist, mental health advocate) thinks it is in the patients best interest to say things they know are not true like that the Chemical Imbalance Theory is valid and scientifically proven… it is still a lie.
You can click your heels twice… it’s still a lie. Go to bed, have sweet dreams. There will still be no Chemical Imbalance Fairy when you wake up.
For health professionals to use this lie to keep folks on medications that are not medically proven to be a treatment for their symptoms but are proven to cause serious side effects is unethical at the very least.
Life is hard. Complete shit at times. Everyone suffers to some extent.
Making someone sicker is not going to help them live a better life.
There are Medical Treatments for Mental Illness – Other Than Psychotropic Medications
Feel hopeless now, like there is nothing that will help you? That if psychiatric medications (most likely the primary care you’ve been given) are snake oil, nothing can be done?
That is not true! There are many medical causes of mood disturbance and many available treatments.
Read about a child who spent six months in a psychiatric hospital with no improvement of symptoms, then healed with micronutrients: Child Healed with Micronutrients.
Learn about Kelly Brogan M.D.’s online treatment program – available to anyone and low cost – that is helping many heal from emotional-physical-mental symptoms: Vital Mind Reset.
I want Bipolar 1 Disorder – i.e. actual Manic Depression – to be better understood from a biological standpoint.
And for others to have better care by psychiatrists and doctors for mood disorders than I was given when I became ill.
Or at least more options other than just brain damaging psychotropic medications.
Something – or many things – tiggered it’s arrival in your life. And those somethings are not a ‘chemical imbalance’ from your genetic profile. Even if you are BP-1.
There is no proven chemical imbalance in a mentally ill person’s brain. It was a great hypothesis that was proven false. Yes, there are things going on and your neurotransmitters are a part of the whole picture.
Autoimmune Reactions May Have Triggered Your Bipolar Illness States. Click To Tweet
But the ‘why’ of it happening or starting is not fully understood. And there are a multitude of things (emotional trauma, chemical exposure, undiagnosed food sensitivities, etc.) that could have contributed to you becoming ill.
Infection, Autoimmune Disease Linked to Depression
Autoimmune disease is another possible contributing or causative factor of bipolar (whatever form) illness and of depression:
“People who had been treated for a severe infection were 62% more likely to have developed a mood disorder than those who never had one. An autoimmune disease increased the risk by 45%.”
“Multiple infections or the combination of severe infection and an autoimmune disease boosted the odds of developing depression, bipolar disorder, or another mood disorder even further.”
That is a much better way to understand and think about this illness. Much better than all the ‘advocates’ out there who don’t understand the issue fully and keep promoting misinformation.
Misinformation (“you have to take psychotropic medications, you have a chemical imbalance”) that leads to many becoming more ill, disabled and on multiple toxic psychotropic medications they did not even need in the first place.
Manic Depression Has a Genetic Predisposition, Depression Does Not
If you are actually Manic Depressive – now called Bipolar 1 Disorder – then yes, it has been proven that their is a genetic predisposition to the illness. Depression has been proven to NOT be a genetic-based illness. There are many potential causes and contributing factors to an onset of depression.
But even with a predisposition (i.e. someone in your familial history diagnosed Manic Depressive) the chance of becoming ill is relatively low.
I’ve read a few different numbers – but it seems around 10% risk if one parent is diagnosed with the illness.
Majority of Those Given Bipolar Diagnoses are Not Manic Depressive
The majority of folks who get labeled ‘bipolar’ these days are not Manic Depressive. They have experienced depression, possibly have Major Depressive Disorder (as serious as Manic Depression in my opinion but a very different illness) or other issues.
The bipolar diagnosis (Bipolar 2 Disorder, Cyclothymic) gets thrown in when the drugs they give you make you worse… such as irritability, anxiousness, inability to sleep, hyperactivity, impulsivity, etc.
Cybalta is the most prescribed antidepressant in the U.S. Guess what a main side effect of Cymbalta is? Suicidal impulses.
Cymbalta is so dangerous the FDA gave the drug a black box warning. Cymbalta is what Ely Lily came up with after their Prozac (chemicals in the drug) patents expired. Similar stuff but they threw in some pain drugs too, so you can get more addicted even faster in addition to become suicidal.
Patients then become overly-despondent at the ineffectiveness of what they were told would help them – who wouldn’t? – with some then tragically losing their lives to suicide.
I was almost one of these patients many years ago, on a few occasions. I’m alive in large part because I got off the meds and received other forms of medical care.
The hospitalized patient of 50 years ago receives either SSDI or SSI today. Click To Tweet
When can we start speaking honestly about these medications? How about now.
If antidepressants were helping those who are suffering with depression or have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder then we would have folks getting better, feeling better, moving forward with their lives, working successfully, having relationships and a family, etc.
So if the disability rates are increasing for mental illness, something’s amiss. What could it be?
Journalist Robert Whitaker Investigates Psychiatric Medications
One of the leaders of this ‘rethinking psychiatry and psychiatric treatments’ thought movement I am trying to contribute to in my own little way as someone who has lived with a mental illness for many years – is Robert Whitaker.
He has won numerous awards for his work as an investigative journalist and written four books.
The below is taken from the article: “Anatomy of an Epidemic: Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America.” He published a book on the subject in 2010.
“The number of Americans disabled by mental illness has nearly doubled since 1987, when Prozac—the first in a second generation of wonder drugs for mental illness—was introduced.”
“There are now nearly 6 million Americans disabled by mental illness, and this number increases by more than 400 people each day.”
“A review of the scientific literature reveals that it is our drug-based paradigm of care that is fueling this epidemic.”
“The drugs increase the likelihood that a person will become chronically ill, and induce new and more severe psychiatric symptoms in a significant percentage of patients.”
Antidepressants Lead to Disabling Bipolar Disorder
Whitaker explains the placebo effect of antidepressants and how short-term benefit can lead to long-term disability.
“The SSRI path to a disabling mental illness can be easily seen.”
“A depressed patient treated with an antidepressant suffers a manic or psychotic episode, at which time his or her diagnosis is changed to bipolar disorder.”
“At that point, the person is prescribed an antipsychotic to go along with the antidepressant, and once on a drug cocktail, the person is well along on the road to permanent disability.”
Disability from Mental Illness Increased While From Other Medical Conditions Rates Dropped
The United States isn’t the only country experiencing a deluge of persons unable to support themselves due to a psychiatric conditon.
The below is from a January, 2016 article by Joanna Moncrieff M.D. – a British psychiatrist, author and prominent critic of the psychopharmacological model of mental illness.
“If antidepressants are effective, and people with depression are more likely to be prescribed them, then you would expect the consequences of depression to start to lessen.”
“One of those consequences, according to government statistics, is being out of work.”
“But what we see is quite the opposite: Increasing use of antidepressants correlates with increased numbers of people with depression who are out of work and claiming benefits, and increasingly on a long-term basis.”
“And this is at a time when disability due to other medical conditions has fallen.”
In 2013 a Third of the Disability Claims in U.S. Were for a Mental Illness
According to the Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, for the year 2013 disability benefits were paid to around 10.2 million people.
Disabled workers were the largest group of beneficiaries at 87.4 percent. The average age of a recipient was 53 years and under 52 percent were men. The average monthly benefit amount awarded was $1,146.42.
On page 25 of the report is a distribution chart of all disabilities by diagnostic group. Mental disoders account for a third of the total 10,228,364 recipients, out of that amount the number of persons with a mood disorder was 1,431,695.
Is a Possible Short-Term Effect Worth Long-Term Disabling Symptoms?
Those who are suffering depression need to be given accurate information about the effectiveness of antidepressant medication. And accurate information about the risks and potential harm from the medications with long-term use.
The lies that are being told by trained medical professionals needs to stop. There is no identificable chemical imbalance in the brain that is proven to be corrected by the use of a psychotropic medication.
As well, patient advocate groups – many that are funded by Big Pharma and act as pawns to these massive corporations monetary interests such as the International Bipolar Foundation – need to become better informed, or have their funding and status as non-profits rescinded.
I personally don’t want to be paying taxes that go towards making more decent, caring citizens incapacitated with brain injuries that could have been prevented.
While alternative care with legitimate medical studies validating its effectiveness is not even on the discussion table. Do you?
Postpartum Bipolar Disorder and Postpartum Depression have been linked to copper toxicity. If you were diagnosed bipolar after the birth of a child, you will want to learn about this root cause of mood swings and get tested.
Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Bipolar Disorder Have Been Linked to High Levels of Copper in the Blood
It can be successfully treated. Psychotropic medications treat nothing. They suppress – or agitate and make worse – symptoms.
“Copper is a very stimulating mineral to the nerves and nervous system. Copper increases the production of norepinephrine, adrenaline, while also implicated in a decrease of histamine.”
“These effects on neurotransmitter levels can give rise to many psychological imbalances such as mood swings, depression, mental agitation, feeling over-stimulated, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia and a racing mind with too many thoughts are all hallmarks of elevated Copper toxicity.”
What does the above sound like to you? How someone feels and acts when they are hypomanic or anxious and stressed-out? To me too!
How about depression with some mood instability?
This is when many get a “BP-2” label and more drugs. The woman is told she has a chemical imbalance and has to take drugs for life.
This is simply not true.
Elevated Copper Can Act Like Amphetamines
Here’s more information from the article:
“Elevated Copper in the body acts like caffeine or even amphetamines.”
“Copper is also very stimulating to the brain and causes the over-production of the stimulating neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine and norepinephrine, causing manic behavior, paranoia, anxiety, Bipolar disorder, and even Schizophrenia.”
If You Are An Emotional Wreck, Think Too Much Copper
The below is quoted from an in-depth article by Lawrence Wilson, M.D. It includes information on how copper affects the nervous system, women’s fertility and is needed to maintain pregnancy.
“Copper is also called the emotional mineral because too much stimulates all the emotions. If you are an emotional wreck, think too much copper. You will usually be right.”
“But remember, it won’t show up on most blood tests, urine tests or even hair tests unless you look for hidden copper indicators on the hair test.”
“Getting technical, too much copper stimulates production of the neurotransmitters epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine. It is also required for monoamine oxidase, an enzyme related to serotonin production.”
Advantages of Hair Analysis vs. Blood or Urine Tests
Blood or urine tests may not detect elevated copper levels in your system, especially after an acute exposure.
Your body naturally removes toxins from blood serum and deposits them into your tissues i.e. liver, teeth, hair and bones.
You want to get a hair mineral analysis done.
“Hair is an ideal tissue for sampling and testing. It can be sampled easily and painlessly by the patient at home, without the need for a physician. The sample can be sent to the lab without special handling requirements.
“Clinical results have shown that a properly obtained sample can give an indication of mineral status and toxic metal accumulation following chronic or acute exposure.”
Here are links to blogs about psychiatry by psychiatrists who in different ways write about psychiatry, mental health and some – my personal favorites – alternative medical treatments to treat mental illness symptoms.
Reading what these docs have to say about current practices, ECT, psychotropic medications, control of Big Pharma on their profession, alternative treatments, etc. can be a real eye opener. It has been for me.
Dr. Brogan’s medical practice focuses on women’s health. She highlights a lot of research, speaks out critically about psychotropic medications and pertinent topics such as the Chemical Imbalance Theory, etc.
I first learned about her when writing about the Gut as a Second Brain and how probiotics are being used now by some practicitioners for conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Seriously fascinating stuff. She has a free e-book on depression, just go to the website.
The book is still relevant today and would be an education for anyone to learn more about these drugs and how many of these treatments came to be used. Spoiler alert: has little to do with biology or science.
He is an outspoken critic of ECT (brain damaging electoconvulsive therapy) and maintains a website with information and research about its harmful effects and lack of scientific validity for treatment: ECT Resources Center.
Yes! And go Duncan. He is a psychiatrist in the U.K. who works at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. Lots of great articles that are more for professional folks (i.e. other psychiatrists and mental health professionals) but very easy to understand in most cases for a layperson as well.
I read that title at first and went, “seriously?”. This guy (or gal) has got to have an overblown ego and shouldn’t he (she) know better as a shrink to not sound so narcissistic? Then I checked out the writing.
I guess he’s (my intuition says it’s a male) allowed since he is kindly taking his time to put some excellent commentary out on the Web for those of us to learn from who are not in the top 1% IQ range of the population. And it’s entertaining.
That is what appealed most… not only is it a trained psychiatrist letting loose and getting all randy about a ton of interesting topics (that have rants within rants within a tangent all inside the actual blog post itself) but he’s punchy in his writing style and very amusing.
Update: Two hours after publishing this post and writing the above (3 p.m. September 2, 2015), I was reading through a few old posts and discovered it is a SHE, not a he. Shame on me for assuming anything. The post where she exposes she is a woman, not a guy, is here: Hipsters on Food Stamps – Part 1.
Good blog to push your mental boundaries a bit, and learn a thing or two about how to think.
This blog was a treat to find as it is a very educated (Stanford, Cornell, Rockerfeller universities) psychiatrist who openly admits he is a former psychiatric patient. Impressive. Honesty and openness always scores big points with me.
But his list of accomplishments is more impressive and he takes a holistic approach to treatment (not dependence on drug therapy or long-term drug treatment, helps patients lessen dependence on psychotropic drugs if wanted) which is always heartening to read.
Update February, 2017: Dr. Nardo has passed away. His blog is being maintained by his daughter, and she is also planning to turn his years of posts into a book. R.I.P. Dr. Nardo.
Cute title. Another older professional same as The Last Psychiatrist) talking about many subjects and since December, 2005 for this one – huge archive list of topics!
Politics, psychiatry, lots of stuff. Follows news stuff too of interest to the non-indoctrinated (I’ve removed my chip…) such as noting a recent NYT’s article:
The field of psychology sustained a damaging blow Thursday: A new analysis found that only 36 percent of findings from almost 100 studies in the top three psychology journals held up when the original experiments were rigorously redone.
After the report was published by the journal Science, commenters on Facebook wisecracked about how “social” and “science” did not belong in the same sentence.
Dr. Carlat is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Tufts Medical School (Boston, MA) and has spoken out for years about the influence (not a good thing) of Big Pharma on the field of psychiatry.
He still supports the regular use of psychotropic medications, which most on this list do not. I think that is the primary problem of psychiatry today and how can any psychiatrist present himself as being objective when he is still prescribing the medications being called into question?
But at least he does not accept pharmaceutical advertising for his newsletters. And to get a teeny glimpse of how hard this can be for any doctor stepping outside the box the medical community has created for him or her to stay put in or else… read this:
“From the beginning, TCPR (The Carlat Psychiatry Report) adopted a skeptical attitude toward many of the marketing claims accompanying new drug launches by pharmaceutical firms. In the January 2004 issue, this approach nearly resulted in the newsletter’s untimely demise.”
“The article in question, entitled “Cymbalta: Double the reuptake, triple the hype,” was critical of some of the statements of efficacy made by Eli Lilly researchers. Soon after the issue was printed, an Eli Lilly attorney contacted the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS), which was at that time the CME accreditor for the publication.
The attorney maintained that the article was unfair and biased, and was therefore out of compliance with ACCME standards for CME programs. MMS ordered the newsletter to cease its CME program pending a formal investigation of the complaint.”
They get bullied and harrassed by well-funded professional thugs; their careers, practices and livelihood threatened.
Why we all need to fight against the influence and abuse of Big Pharma, and support physcians like the ones listed on this page who do take a stand outside the box in efforts to help others who suffer with mental illness.
A lot of very integrated articles about integrative therapies i.e. various forms of alternative care for various forms of diagnosable mental illnesses (PTSD, depression, etc.). Have you ever heard of RESET therapy for PTSD? I hadn’t either.
Worth a read. Is another physician who is now retired from private practice but still shares his learning and wisdom for psychiatric care and therapy techniques beyond the ‘drugs for life’ approach.
Thank goodness. And thank goodness we have all the Ninja Docs listed here (more to be added) plus many others who work for healing and change both in their patients and in the psychiatric medical model of mental illness.
I found Dr. Ede online when researching for the article on Ketogenic Diets & Bipolar. She had a two part post explaining why a ketogenic diet may help and how it relates to seizure medications. She writes a lot of articles on this issue, check it out here.
Love her blog. She doesn’t post often but when she does, it is well worth reading. If you want to tone your crtical thinking skills a bit, and are interested in the topic of depression and anxiety, check this out: Do High-Fat Diets Cause Depression?
I want to read the books this brilliant physician has written starting with “The Myth of the Chemical Cure: A Critique of Psychiatric Drug Treatment” (2008). It is available on Amazon here.
Her latest book (2013) is: “The Bitterest Pills: The Troubling Story of Antipsychotic Drugs“. It’s beyond troubling what has gone on, it’s sickening i.e. children – under the age of two even – being put on antipsychotic medication. On what planet should that be thought of as ok? Or proper and ethical medical care with a focus on health?
Her website includes information on her books, a blog and much more. A top pick for anyone interested in learning more about these issues from a credible source.
Another blog that was a treat to discover and of course I now want to read his book. His site has so many great blog posts on such a wide range of topics with an archive dating back to January 2013. I’m late to the game but catching up.
I love the way he covers a topic. He starts with the premise introduced in the title, then delves into the issue from many angles and over the span of many years. Teaching you along the way what the reality is (medical, scientific) from the propaganda we all are subjected to (false advertising, etc.).
It’s a lot like I write, and it is because of docs like this I am able to understand these issues to the extent I do. You can too. It just takes a little time and concentrated attention.
His most recent post is an excellent start: “Contemporary Psychiatric Diagnosis is a Fraud. The Destructive and Damaging Fiction of Biological ‘Diseases‘”. Quoted from the post:
“The brain reflects. It doesn’t cause. Time and space don’t permit me to go through the entire DSM-5, but each ‘disease’ is a work of fiction. Brain scans showing thinned areas of the cortex in “affected” regions of brain which correlated to a “symptom” are taken as proof of genetic disease.”
“This cannot be so, or therapy would not magically reverse the thinning, as we know it to do.”
And there’s so much more on his blog, so many posts with integrated information on psychiatry, history of the profession, difference between ‘somatic psychiatry’ and pyschodynamic psychotherapy, etc.
A ton of information explained very thoroughly and in a way us regular folks can easily understandable.
I was so glad to find a holistic-oriented psychiatrist that treats children. God, we need to clone her and clone her quickly!
In my humble opinion, diagnosing a child with bipolar disorder so as to drug with severely toxic chemicals (children have died from psych meds) is criminal.
They are stigmitized, physically and mentally harmed (psych meds) and whatever is causing their mood states not identified and treated. Sad and tragic. Especially if there is actual abuse being inflicted, not just a problem of an undiagnosed medical or psychological issue.
But this little blurb is supposed to be about this cool Ninja Doc, so I will get to it!
When you click on the site there is a lovely close-up pic of her outside in what looks like a garden of wild flowers. I got drawn in by the photo (so wholesome and healthy-looking) then more drawn in by all the information she has on the site.
She defines Holistic Psychiatry as follows:
“The foundation of cultivating psychiatric holistic health is attending to the reality that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Western medicine treats the body as a piece of flesh to manipulate with pharmaceuticals and procedures, without any consideration or inclusion of the Sacred.”
“The prevailing paradigm in the West, which divorces Spirit from Matter, is at the heart of our broken medical system as well as the crisis on the planet.”
Her two recent posts are about a simple breathing meditation to help calm anxieties, de-stress, etc. that also helps balance your brain hemispheres and one about putting trolls on a tree in her yard and making a ‘Wishing Tree’ for her neighborhood.
Complete with instructions on how to go about it.
Then she motivates the reader to do something for their own neighborhood and explains: “One of the ways to remind ourselves that we are both human and spiritual beings is through cultivating beauty, play and ordinary magic; seeing the Sacred in everything.”
I found Dr. Schneiderer (aka Dr. Dave) when searching for holistic psychiatrists in the U.S. His approach to mental-physical illness is so inspiring. He does extensive testing for those who need or want it (you can order tests online at his website) and uses natural supplements along with lifestyle changes such as diet, gut health, etc.
He – and his clinic – is located in Sarasota, Florida. His blog covers topics related to mental illness and their underlying causes, research into alternative treatments and information about novel treatment approaches. The sidebar on the blog has a bunch of categories (easy to access information on a specific topic) starting from December 2010.
I quoted Dr. Gersten in my book, then forgot to later follow-up and add him to this list and the holistic psychiatrists list. I’ve corrected both omissions and am feeling so much better. LOL.
Seriously, he writes about so much good stuff you want to know such as why amino acid therapy is better than antidepressants (you should understand by now these are toxic drugs you do not want to take), other causes of depression and anxiety, ways to alleviate symptoms, etc.
Here’s a quote from his blog post: “Treatment for Depression Based on Lab Work“.
“Current anti-depressant medications target serotonin or norepinephrine chemistry. If they worked 100% for you, you would not be reading this. The nutrient that makes serotonin is the amino acid L-tryptophan.”
“The amino acid that makes dopamine and norepinephrine is the amino acid L-tyrosine. Amino acid therapy for depression is usually very effective and lacks the side effects that anti-depressant medications often cause.”
He can order tests to try and identify neurotransmitter imbalances (and of their precursors) or help you try supplementation appropriate for your symptoms.
This is a blog by the whole team at the Wellness Center in Fort Collins, Co., not just Scott Shannon, M.D. But they have a bunch of docs, can’t list all here.
I added Dr. Shannon to the “Holistic Psychiatrists in the U.S.” list recently and learned how he is a leader in integrative psychiatry practices, teaching many other psychiatrists about non-psychotropic medication approaches to mental illness issues.
He treats children – which is wonderful. More kids that won’t be a risk of being killed by psych meds, brain damaged, stigmitized for life or potentially end up in later life drug addicts. That’s excellent. Check it out.
I don’t do much Twitter anymore because it triggers too much emotion for me (and I overreact at times, neither are healthy) but was on this morning to connect with someone and a tweet from came through from Monica Cassani aka “Outlier”.
Monica is Retired Now But Leaving The Beyond Meds Website Up – Is Incredible , Informative 5000+ Posts About Many Forms of Healing Mental Illness Issues
She is Retired But Leaving Up Her Amazing Website Beyond Meds
She wrote an explanatory goodbye “I’m Retired” post – can read on the homepage here: Beyond Meds.
Some of it made me sad, and angry – the parts about her being targeted at times, receiving hate emails, etc.
It sounds like a part of why she is discontinuing the site, and that is sad. I want to say more but am trying be less intense these days.
It’s an incredible resource, and she is a healing force. Thank you Monica for leaving it up online.
I Admire and Respect Her Incredibly
I admire and respect her incredibly – did I say that right? It makes the point! The best way I can describe my opinion of her is that she is a “Healing Force.”
She shares so much information and has had some very extreme experiences with mental health – like many of us myself included. She uses – has for the eight years the site has been going from what I read – her own experiences to help others.
Anyone who wants to understand what it is like to take psychotropic medications for years then go through the process of withdrawal should read some of her posts.
Not all will have similar experiences but many do. And all stories are of value to understanding how the drugs work, how disabling they can be and how difficult it can be to get off the meds.
Healed From Bipolar and Speaks Out About How Damaging the Label Is
It is. I agree with Monica completely. A damaging label that leads to increased illness in almost everyone who gets a bipolar label – millions more since the new categories in 1994 and childhood bipolar label in 1980.
Here are Monica’s thoughts. Anyone who reads this blog knows this is exactly – for the most part – how I think and feel as well.
“Because of how I was drugged the “bipolar” diagnosis did me nothing but harm and it tragically results in similar iatrogenic injury for far too many others.”
“There are other ways to view whatever phenomena is getting labeled bipolar. Likewise there much safer ways of treating said phenomena.”
“Most importantly other frameworks can lead to profound healing, something psychiatry doesn’t even believe is possible. Indeed within the psychiatric model people are told to expect to manage being ill until they die.”
“Many of us have discovered this is simply not necessarily true. It’s possible to get well and it seems the psych drugs can seriously impede that process if used for long-term maintenance.”
“Also, it’s clear that the collection of phenomena that is labeled bipolar varies from individual to individual and they have many different etiologies. Labeling them as if they are all the same monolithic thing only serves to muddy the waters and often serves to trap the individual in a toxic prison of confusion.”
EXACTLY. She says it so well. Thank you Monica.
Some of Monica’s Posts
Here are just a few of the more than 5000 blog posts she has written and shared. I’ve watched a couple of her videos a year or so ago (when I first learned about her and her website) and they are very touching.
Much of her more recent work – from what I’ve learned today – has a very strong spiritual focus. I’m reading some of her new posts now and find them very healing, hopeful.
Just connecting with her site is a bit of a spiritual experience. She has helped so many. Leaving it up online means many more can read and learn and find some guidance for healing from severe mental illness states.
… and this last link I am adding – is for me. Is what I have been working on. Anger issues.
I am going to go through and read each and every one of Monica’s posts! I’ve gotten over the overreacting for the most part (I at least avoid triggers), but there’s still a lot of intense, unhealthy emotion in my heart and soul.
Here are ten medical studies about omega-3 fatty acids and bipolar disorder – from the 1990s up to today and all found favorable results. If you have a mood disorder it would be very smart to take a high-quality salmon oil supplement.
Severe Mood States of Bipolar Disorder are Emotionally Painful and Destructive. We All Want to Be Well and Have Some Peace in Our Lives. Yes?
Not for a bipolar cure, but to lessen the severity of episodes and prevent episodes. Omega-3 studies with children show similar positive results.
“The results of this study showed that supplements containing omega-3 are useful in the treatment of BID.”
“The use of supplements containing omega-3 along with other treatments is recommended based on the consideration of high prevalence of BID, the impossibility of making this substance in the human body, and the body’s need for external supplements amount of this substance.”
“Bipolar subjects who received omega-3 fatty acids had significant decreases in T2. There was a dose-dependent effect when the bipolar omega-3 fatty acid group was subdivided into high- and low-dose cohorts.”
“Omega-3 fatty acids lowered T2 values, consistent with the hypothesis that the fluidity of cell membranes was altered.”
“Further studies are needed to clarify the significance of alterations in brain physiology induced by omega-3 fatty acids, as reflected in T2 values.”
“Omega-3 Fatty Acid intake helped with the irritability component of patients suffering from bipolar disorder with a significant presenting sign of irritability.”
“Low dose (1 to 2 grams per day), add-on O-3FA may also help with the irritability component of different clinical conditions, such as schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder and other psychiatric conditions with a common presenting sign of irritability.”
“In previous studies, an effect of n-3 fatty acid supplementation has shown inconsistent association with improvements in bipolar symptomology and we suggest that this may be due to variable concentrations of other lipid species, either n-6 fatty acids that tend to compete with n-3 fatty acids in a variety of signaling, inflammatory and other pathways; or genetically variant enzyme activities that favor pooling one fatty acid over another.”
“The pilot work suggests that it is feasible to conduct an adequately powered trial of the use of o-3 fatty acids in women with BD who choose to discontinue all conventional psychotropic medications while attempting to conceive.”
“Overall, the elucidation of the potential role of o-3 fatty acids as a treatment for BD as well as pregnancy in patients with BD requires further study.”
“The current data are not sufficient to support a recommendation of monotherapy treatment as a substitute for standard pharmacologic treatments.”
“However,judicious monotherapy use in select clinical situations, or adjunctive use, may be warranted pending further data from controlled clinical trials.”
Is your thyroid gland really normal? Or is it making you sick even though some tests a doctor ran says it is?
What tests did you have, what additional tests may be needed to give a more accurate assessment of thyroid function and how can your thyroid gland be contributing to your bipolar illness mood states?
Simplified Description of Thyroid Functioning
These are all important questions for anyone diagnosed bipolar to ask. They are especially important for those who are taking lithium, or who have unrelenting fatigue as a major symptom.
Lithium can cause existing thyroid issues to worsen, or create a thyroid problem all on its own as a side effect of long-term use.
And your underfunctioning or overfunctioning thyroid gland may have be the primary underlying biological cause that created the onset of your severe mood states in the first place.
What Does Your Thyroid Gland Do?
Your thyroid gland does a bunch of very important things in your body such as regulate metabolic rate, heart and digestive function, muscle control and brain development.
It is the part of the endocrine system that releases thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. Source: Society for Endocrinology
It does a lot of other things too that we don’t need to get into here except for how it affects moods and how it may be contributing to your bipolar illness mood states.
Checking Thyroid Function
This is not done thoroughly by most doctors. Most will only test your TSH levels and maybe T4 too. Free T4 if you are lucky.
TSH is thyroid-stimulating hormone that is released by the pituitary gland in the brain and tells your thyroid gland to produce hormones. The two main hormones produced are T4 and T3.
Your body makes more T4 but then converts much of it to T3. A few more steps and T3 becomes free T3 i.e. circulating in the bloodstream not bound to a protein. It is free T3 that does most of the good stuff at the metabolic level.
If they test TSH and T4 and both are in the normal range then your symptoms of depression, fatigue, weight gain, lethargy, difficulty sleeping, etc. will be thought to be from depression.
Even though test results can vary from lab to lab and accepted ranges for normal differ from doctor to doctor.
It is also possible that the underlying problem is a difficulty converting T4 to T3 and then to free T3. There are T3 medications, so be sure to get complete and accurate testing.
Many Doctors Will Not Do a Thyroid Antibody Test – But You Need to Have One Done
I’ve been refused a thyroid antibody test on a couple of occasions. One doctor, when I had insurance and made it very clear when I made the appointment I wanted thorough thyroid testing said to me “it’s really expensive.” She would only test TSH and T4.
Really. Yes, she was fired. I never went back.
Don’t let that be you. Get a full thyroid panel done that also tests for antibodies that may indicate you have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. That could be the root cause of your depression and mood swings. Psychotropic medications will not treat it.
They will make you worse.
Would you like to be rolled into surgery to have seizures induced in your brain i.e. Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) because lazy doctors wouldn’t fight for your health and instead just kept writing prescriptions that caused severe worsening of your symptoms.
I didn’t think so.
The below is quoted from the article: “Everything You Need to Know Before Getting a Thyroid Panel.”
“In many cases of hypo/hyperthyroidism, the lymphocytes, which are the blood cells created by our immune system and released in the blood circulation with the function to protect our body from any viruses and bacteria by creating their antibodies, now create antibodies against their own thyroid.”
“These antibodies will either stimulate or harm the thyroid gland and its function. Two main thyroid antibodies are usually found in a case of hypo/hyperthyroidism are thyroid peroxidase and thyroglobulin.”
A few years ago I used up the last of my Synthroid prescription and was off the med for a month or so. As is the norm for me, I started to get overly-tired, feeling like I could barely move, sleepy during the day, etc.
I had no access to care, so bought an over-the-counter (OTC) product. The results were very good. I wrote this post about that includes a photo of the OTC product I bought.
If you don’t have access to testing you may want to do a trial run of an OTC dessicated thyroid product. You may be amazed at how much better you feel, and how much it lessens your bipolar depressive states.
Don’t Tolerate Intolerable Fatigue
Don’t tolerate intolerable fatigue. And don’t believe that it is ‘just depression’ or the new label ‘bipolar depression’.
You may be given the name of a psychiatrist, or a prescription for an antidepressant. But what is really going on biologically is an underactive thyroid gland. Though the doctor refuses to do testing.
Depression – even with the marketing term bipolar in front of it – is a real physical illness. Find out what is going on in your body to make you feel that way.
If you are told your thyroid is normal, know that might not be the full picture. Insist on a full thyroid panel.
The story of the bipolar spectrum. Once upon a time, in a land far far away (the psych void) there was a group of psychiatrists. They held a meeting.
There were urgent matters to discuss and all were called upon to attend.
A drug patent – no, drug PATENTS (plural) – were expiring and the kings and queens of the psych void were in panic mode.
“How will we pay for our children’s Ivy League college educations, service the inground swimming pool and buy that new Mercedes,” they frantically wondered.
Secret phone calls were made, the problem at hand discussed in hushed tones.
“Our market share and patient target populations are on the verge of crumbling,” they lamented with the seriousness of a nuclear bomb specialist in the process of detonating Mark 1, 2 and 3 and realizing he was given the wrong code.
And mentally ill persons need our help, was added with all the care and concern of a hooker in the process of applying the fifth codom of the evening.
“We have to create new mental illness categories and solve this problem immediately,” was said to complete the revelry.
Everyone stood up and clapped. Almost everyone.
There was dissent in the ranks. Not all were in agreement or on board with the thought of drugging thousands of more citizens with brain damaging medications. Some were even concerned about categories put forth to target children.
More discussions were had, the top dogs – holy eminence Ronald Pies, M.D. and his court of jesters Nassir Ghaemi, M.D et al – granted even more microphone time to try and calm the psych void royalty and squash opposition.
“But we must,” the grand poo pas of the psych void unconvincingly put forth as argument yet everyone had had enough of the over-air conditioned conference room and were still cranky from missing their early morning tee time.
They nodded their heads lamely in agreement.
“Yes, we must,” was the consensual refrain put forth by all in hopes this meeting would end sooner than later and they could all get back to their snug homes in the suburbs.
Consensual consent minus one.
Dr. New stood up and addressed the crowd. “I know I was not invited to speak,” he shyly admitted.
All nodded in agreement while staring indignantly at this wayward prince WhatsHisName who of course was not invited to speak as he’d just graduated from the academy of NoGood and had not been versed in the lessons of corporate profit and greed and how psych void psych diagnosis are made and the little people of the kingdom kept under wraps.
Of course he was not on the roster of exalted speakers scheduled to speak or invited to step up to the podium.
“But isn’t it going to make more people sicker if we use medications that we know don’t work and are unecessary and wouldn’t it be better to try and improve our track record helping those we know really do suffer from mental health issues before creating more problems targeting innocent people who aren’t really ill?” His voice creaked.
Chairs squeaked as nervous potential dissenting participants started to get nervous while straining to hear WhatsHisName who had not been given a microphone.
“They will never know!” psych void top dog king Ronald bellowed with rage and indignity plus a blushing cheek or two. The mircophone shook in his hand.
“The drugs disable the part of the brain connected to higher thought and reasoning, we all know this and this nonsense that we have to care about the health and well being of our patients must stop.”
“Stop now!” he chanted at the crowd for effect and to of course intimidate anyone who may not be in agreement.
The whir of the air conditioner seemed to jump a notch. Heads bowed, dissent quieted. Yes, we must, thought all attendees (the one exception being Dr. New) as thoughts of more free lunches and gold-embossed prescription pads danced through their heads.
We must. And that, is how the Bipolar Spectrum came to be.