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Hi. I have a friend who is severely manically depressed and has been since he was 8 years old. He has not been on medication in about 6 months. I was wondering if there are any foods or natural things he can do to lessen the symptoms until he can afford his medication again? Thanks.
this may be a blessing in disguise. not all medications are safe to take. Try vitamins -multi,
st johns wort
I think I would tell your friend to get a second opinion. Manic Depression (AKA Bipolar Disorder) is very rare in children under teenage years.
Different things work for Different people in different mood cycles. For mania, I recommend A LOT of extra exercise and an over the counter sleep aid. For depression, licorice and St. John's Wart are supposed to help.
I have type 2 Bipolar disorder and my biggest problem is depression. For this, I force myself to exercise and spend time in the sun. Ultraviolet light helps.
I've written hubs about Bipolar disorder based on what I have learned from personal experience. Check them out.
My friend was diagnosed with depression after his mom passed when he was young. He wasn't properly taken care of with medicines and with counseling. I think by the time he reached his teens he started having bipolar events. He lives in Florida. I hope that is enough sun for him, but I will definitely check out your hubs to try to help him out. Thanks!
I suffer from depression. I've found alt medicines only treat the symptoms and acupuncture though a great alternative just as costly. Your friend should seek govt help for meds. Mine with insurance is $150. I've had to alter outings to have this med. It's a great neuro help for an injury I sustained and helps alleviate depression.
Hi ALUR. Thanks for your advice. He has already done that but for some reason, he was denied at one point and now cannot even get government assistance .
Meditation will help tremendously and you can find all kinds of guided meditation on you tube on different subjects. It will teach him to focus his mind on the present and learn to love himself better with love meditations. The budah teachings are helpful as well as selfawareness. It may take up to a year to get all down pat, but they are doing studies on this and it does help some people.
Thanks HattieMattieMae. I will tell him to check out the videos on Youtube. I hope something can help because he is having a very hard time.
It will be hard at first but if he does for at least 15 to 20 minutes a day and try to listen to what they say, it should become calming and relaxing. Something he looks forward to everyday.
Bipolar disorder is quite different from other forms of depression. A couple of things that may help a little are to clean up the diet - not eat processed foods more than he can help, eat as little easily absorbed carbs as possible, eat organic if possible. Also, getting natural light helps a lot of problems including depression and bipolar.
It's also possible that the problem is actually a problem with blood sugar level control. For that, chromium picolinate (around 200 mcg of Cr per day for adults) can help a lot. This supplement is completely safe for anyone in even vaguely normal health.
I agree with Nutrition Guy. Organic meals doesn't have chemicals so it is definitely good for the health. I also read in an article that according to American Heart Association (AHA) it is suggested for people who have this disorder to eat fatty fish at least two times a week. Fish oil can help keep the heart healthy and improves brain function. But if he does not enjoy eating fish, taking 0.5 to 1.8 grams of fish oil as daily supplement will do the job.
Thanks Nutrition Guy and Naturallygrassfed. I will encourage him to try the supplements and see if that helps him out.
I suggest that he check with the pharmaceutical companies that make his meds. Several of them have programs that either give coupons to greatly reduce the price or even give them for free for a period of time. Also, the physician or psychiatrist may have some samples they could give him. Some doctors also get coupons for medications like Paxil which can be rather expensive without insurance coverage.
Bipolar disorder can be dangerous to try to treat naturally. First of all, bipolar symptoms differ among patients. For example, one natural remedy for bipolar is to eat a lot of turkey since tryptophan encourages the production of serotonin. This can be helpful for people with bipolar disorder who tend to get depressed. However, if the person with bipolar is more prone to mania than depression, this could possibly promote a manic episode while not taking mood-stabilizing medications. Living with bipolar is like walking a tightrope. Trying to self-medicate can cause the person to fall to one extreme or the other.
He needs to learn to have control over his own life and not let it control him. We do this by determining what things we have control over and what we do not have control over and deal with the things we can control. Become a vegan or choose a diet that is healthy and a physical fitness plan. Learn psychology for a basic understanding of how are minds work. Learn the Bible and find faith to learn how are spirit works (This covers the areas Psychology does not cover.) Play the zones and score points for yourself. People Zone (any where we have free access) Social Zone (when you take action in a people zone) These are the free zones. Personal Zone (when ever someone mentions how they feel) Intimate Zone (when you share the same feelings) By identifying what zone you are in and not being a zone violator you score points and control the social aspects of your life. You learn to be in all zones when they can be used properly and get out of your only zone and see life again. Treat your problems by giving them the tools to help himself. A library in the self help section is a great place to begin and the best thing is to find someone who has suffered from the same affliction but has found a way to survive. I would say over come it but some of these things never go away, we just learn to understand the problem and know that its both a gift and a curse. I know its hard to imagine that it might be a gift but I can stand in everyone's shoes and most people can not do that.
Alcohol is like rocket fuel for sufferers of Manic Depression- Keep off alcohol. period.
@SanXuary As an artist and a poet with bipolar disorder, I understand what you mean that bipolar disorder is a gift and a curse. However, much of your advice seems to suggest that people with bipolar disorder should learn to control their illness without using medication. I hope that's not what you mean. The things that you mention are great tools and perceptions that can be utilized with appropriate medical treatment. After all, no one would suggest that someone with cancer or heart disease to just have faith and become a vegan. Bipolar disorder is a medical condition similar to epilepsy except that instead of overreactions of electrical impulses of the brain, bipolar is caused by overreactions of the chemicals in the brain.
@barryrutherford Sage advice, my friend.
I agree with Sheila on this one. Bipolar is something that you can't really define because of the variations of emotions and symptoms that go with it. I think that my friend needs medical, physical and spiritual help to help him get through this. It will be a rough road though. Thanks everyone for the suggestions and advice!
The question is : what food has he taken that triggers his manic depression? That he should avoid...
I do not prescribe medication because I am no doctor. Part of that is self help by learning if it can help you or not. These drugs are difficult to figure out and each of them require time to even figure out what works not to mention the side effects. Some people are to dependant on the doctor in figuring this out so its really important to find out your symptoms and to be a part of your treatment. What I do know is that depression and a life full of problems greatly influences the severity of the problem. I sometimes feel like writing advice on these hubs is taken wrong. Its only advice and what works is great and I doubt if any one thing fits everyone and there is no way that I would know the situation. I just hope I can help someone.
I understand what you are trying to say. Writing advice on these hubs as you say is difficult and I do agree with you. I only asked the question because I am very worried for my friend. I do not want him to be in a depressed state and think of hurting himself. At the same time, I do not want him to be in a state of mania where he cannot think rationally and do things properly to help himself. Thank you though!.
Think Sanxuary has some good points. I think for my own journey I did exactly that started out by reading self help books/christian self help books.
Than the bible. my father was an a.a. counselor so I had gone to Al anon meetings, and studied A.A. stuff, as well as co-dependency. I than moved on to psychology and Human Services in my degree. Had been to psychologists, did the anti-depressives for minor depression. Fifteen years of doing all this the thing that helped me the most was meditation. self awareness, learning the Buddha lessons, the other religions and eastern psychology. Meditation does wonders for you, because it teaches you to calm, relax, and settle down your mind. Most people have thoughts from the past rewinding in their head, they worry about where they've been instead of the present moment. Thinking about failures, the wounds from other people that have hurt them. It takes a lot of these methods to get healed, and find self worth in yourself. I think the stigma of depression and meds some times creates the illusion we can't get better, when we can. Labels as well that psychologists put on us. One of the spiritual teachers I listened to on you tube put it this way. If you believe you need a psychologist and meds, than you need one. If you believe you don't you don't. Most of the time we need to change our perceptions, thinking, beliefs about ourselves and our world. Fortunately family members, and churches don't always help in the healing of a person, because they associate it with Satan, or demons, or sinning, putting more guilt and shame on the person, so than they wonder if they are ever going to heaven, or are they going to hell. Its amazing how our society, religion influences, and even culture have a lot to do with how we see ourselves and our lives. It takes a lot of strength, courage, faith, hope, and love to rise out of the ashes, but I can tell you if your friend wants to get better, He'll do it just like the man by the pool with Jesus. Jesus told him to get up and take his mat with him I believe. We hinder ourselves and honestly believe we can't be healed, and make excuses for ourselves. We allow fears to get in the way. We can accept the diagnosis and label, but we don't have too, and if we need meds depending on how serious of diagnosis it is, than we take the meds like we ought too , if that is what helps heal us and get better. It's always a choice what we want to do. The only thing is on the other hand, we want to help people like your friend. We love helping people, but they have to do it themselves. You can give him all this information, books, make appointments, support him, get his meds for him, but he/she still has to do the work. Most people give up on themselves, and quit because they think they can't do it. For me I had tough mentors and spiritual teachers that challenged me to be my best. Told me the truth when I didn't want to hear it, but still loved me unconditionally. The naysayers really don't do anything to great in your life. They make things worse. The criticizers about the same. The best thing you can do is accept him where he is at in the moment, no matter how hard it is, and be a support. I've written plenty of hubs on most of these issues, and I wrote them not for myself, but I get that most people don't know how to get out of it, and because I have although my situation was minor, even if it is bipolar for your friend, with the right methods that work for that person they can live a very positive functional life. It is just a matter of figuring out what works for them, and what helps the most. It does take time, patience, and understanding. It gets frustrating, there are times you want to quit and give up. There should be support groups in your area, or bible studies, or spiritual groups. Not exactly sure why your friend doesn't qualify for medicaid unless he makes to much money. Usually if you have a mental illness they will provide it, maybe contact your local community mental health and ask about services or groups. Sometimes pharmacies give you discount cards too. Like Rite Aid if they have one. Not sure which pharmacies are around. Some times they do have med clinics. Love incorporated may have area resources available for many things if there is one there. We also have a 211 number for local resources here. The resources and help is out there, it is just calling around to non-profits and agencies in your community to find out where to go for help. Most people are just not aware of the resources available and suffer. Again that is my job though to refer people in my area. So I know there is in every town and community. United way usually knows too. Or Big Brother Big Sisters. They usually all work together, so someone can tell you something. Again You tube is a great source for just about any kind of self help, or healing, meditation, spiritual, religion, positive thoughts, and wide variety of psychology topics. Tons of websites with inspirational quotes, articles, its just feeding the mind. Bible will do it too!
Each individual that suffers from bipolar disorder is different. I try to use the high's productively by painting or inventing new gizmo's .etc. Sit out the low's watching national geographic or Bear Grylls. But whatever it is, you have to face your own life,- and that is all that matters. Some suggested medications are 100mg.5HTP or one I use is a product called Happy Days (in the UK) It seems to even out the bumps. I hate being bipolar-it's awesome. Be cool. Peace +
I've found some things to be helpful like fish oil, centrum silver vitamins, exercise, sticking to a schedule, talk therapy, low-carb diet, 5HTP, kava kava, and valerian root.
Studies of fish oil show that it is helpful for many things including mental health and stability. At a higher than average dose (2400mg or double the recommended dose on the bottle) it has helped my clarity of thought, overall mood, and even basic energy level. I learned about this from my psychiatrist.
I also take the vitamins specialized for older adults because of the higher levels of B-vitamins. The extra vitamins really help my energy level a lot because when I'm feeling unstable, I'm not taking care of my basic nutrition. A vitamin can help one be healthier even they aren't able to eat, too.
I also exercise more during a manic phase or just when I feel one coming on because the energy needs to get out somehow. The point is to exhaust oneself physically and completely by the end of the day. I have a treadmill and that helps me let out some steam for 15mins here or there during the day. When I feel angry, I can get on the treadmill. Exercise has so many benefits on mental health, I don't really need to say a whole lot about it. Even when one is depressed, forcing a short, slow walk can help to bring the spirits up. It's really hard to do when depressed, but the benefits outway the initial discomfort.
It also helps me if I stick to a schedule despite how I'm feeling. This is easier to do with the help of others. I don't have the motivation or concentration sometimes to do this for myself, but if someone else helps remind me to do certain activities at a scheduled time of day it helps. The consistent lifestyle promotes mental stability. When I've been hospitalized in the past, the schedule helped me tremendously.
Talk therapy also helps quite a lot. I go once or twice a week depending on my schedule but it's a necessary part of life for me to keep on top of what I'm processing emotionally. If I have triggers that lead to depression, they will be addressed rather quickly. If I have any symptoms of mania, I can also address that before it gets out of control.
Following a low-carb diet has been one of the most beneficial things I've done for myself. If sugar levels are going up and down constantly, this also leads to moodiness. By controlling sugar levels and keeping them consistent during the day, I avoid the sugar crashes that cause more fatigue and moodiness.
Finally, natural supplements like 5HTP, St. John's Wort, or Sam-E are rather harmless, (but check your other prescriptions before taking them) and they help elevate serotonin levels. This is essentially what SSRIs are doing. It's not usually recommended to continue these herbal substitutes while on other SSRIs but they can help when medication isn't available. When I'm feeling anxious, a little bit of kava-kava can help take the edge off. Valerian root also helps one sleep if you can stomach the odor. Try to get valerian that says it's less stinky on the bottle. Also do not take too much kava-kava because it can damage the liver. Look it up. It's all easily searchable on the internet.
All of these together have helped me. I'm not saying it's easy but I get through the hard times a little easier by putting these fail-safes into my life. I also have had a lot of extra support from my family, so this helps tremendously. Everyone needs someone to talk to, and a little listening to someone in need goes a long way. I hope I've provided some useful solutions for you to consider.
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