Sunday, November 13, 2011

Recovered - No Longer on Psychiatric Medications

In No Longer Bipolar / No longer Schizophrenic - Recovered, In Remission, or Misdiagnosed ??? we discussed  how to wrap our minds around the fact that many individuals, with alternative, complementary, functional, and/or biomedical  therapies no longer have severe, persistent, and supposedly life-long symptoms of Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective, Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety--and they are NOT on psychiatric medications.

"Recovered" is not a part of the usual paradigm of those involved in severe mental illness. Only "in recovery" is.

So what exactly IS "recovered"? And what is a real-life example of this?

I like this definition from Recovery From Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders:
QuestionWhat does it mean to recover?
Answer:    Full recovery means having regained a meaningful life, no longer having a mental health disability, and no longer being in need of any sort of mental health treatment. This definition of “full recovery” should be contrasted with the definitions used by some who suggest that recovery should be thought of as learning how to have a better life, while continuing to be mentally ill and needing treatment such as [psychiatric] medications.
So, here is a simple case of how it works in real life.
You hopefully have already read the more complicated real-life case of my younger daughter in It's Not Mental (the book) (discussed later in this entry).

My older daughter had intractable, teen-onset treatment-resistant, ultradian cycling Bipolar Disorder for 13 years. She had been in and out of psychiatric hospitals. She is now fully recovered (see: Bipolar and Off Meds - Part1 and Bipolar and Off Meds - Part2.)
  • She had hypothyroidism, but was on a minimal amount of thyroid hormone – her endocrinologist refused to raise her level above the bottom-most number of “normal” because, after all – it ISnormal.” It didn’t matter that she still had symptoms of hypothyroidism and even psychiatric textbooks suggest trying a higher level (some people respond to slightly above “normal” range). There are various reasons a person’s available thyroid hormone may not work, such as low vitamin D, progesterone, omega-3s, antithyroid antibodies, ineffective thyroid transport mechanism etc. (see here for more: Brain Health: The Thyroid Connection).

  • A new GP entered the picture. Changing her thyroid medication to the prescription dessicated form (Armour Thyroid, which contains T1, T2, T3, T4) and raising the level to borderline hypERthyroid immediately helped mood, reducing depression and lethargy, and increased cognitive function. However, from her psychiatrist's point of view, this was irrelevant to her "bipolar" diagnosis. Since her psychiatric symptoms had existed in spite of low but “normal” thyroid level, her psychiatrist only said, “I don’t understand.” This then, was still not considered a “medical cause” for her psychiatric symptoms even though the medical intervention lessened the symptoms. 
  •  She got on a micronutrient supplement (EMPowerPlus by Truehope) which worked better than the antipsychotic she had been on. The antipsychotic had just caused Tardive Dyskinesia (she was also on her base mood stabilizer-- an antiseizure medication).  With the addition of the supplement, she no longer needed as much mood stabilizer and started overdosing on it. However her psychiatrist insisted that her onset of classic overdose symptoms could not possibly be due to overdosing on the mood stabilizer and absolutely did not want to try lowering the dose. She eventually insisted he help her safely lower it. He did, and the overdosed symptoms immediately subsided.
Still, there was more she needed.
  • She changed her diet, healed her gut (see  Gut, Brain, Bacteria, and Behavior), went through the terrible withdrawal symptoms from slowly getting off the psychiatric medication. She had to come off the medications since she no longer needed them, and she was overdosing on them as her body healed.
  • To remove all... ALL... symptoms.. the last of her intermittent brain fog, occasional negativity, hypoglycemia, etc. she had to get off all grains (other grains have small amounts of gluten) and be careful to eat some protein with every meal. 

She was left with NO… ZERO… bipolar symptoms.

She has never looked back, no longer considers herself to have bipolar disorder, and no longer has what we thought of as “bipolar personality.” 
But there is no medical diagnostic code for a problem with casein affecting brain function… although there is that ICD code for an unspecified encephalopathy (see ICD-10 vs DSM-V).

Still, the “mainstream” medical system does not recognize casein as possibly affecting the brains of some individuals even though extensive research showing food-related causes (mostly gluten and dairy) dates back over 30 years with new research frequently being published in the medical and scientific literature. And Dr. Doris Rapp, MD--Specialist in Environmental Medicine wrote a book decades ago about allergies and chemical causing symptoms exactly the same as we label "Bipolar", "ADHD", "OCD", "perseveration", "OCD", "ODD" and simply, bad. (See books below.)

I suppose this is because a pharmaceutical company does not have a pill to treat it. After all, deficiency in methylated folate (vitamin B9) was not recognized until a pharmaceutical company came out with a pill – Deplin – which is just methylated folate (vitamin B9). Of course though, it is still for “Depression” and “Bipolar Disorder” which is huge business. And, since it is for a “psychiatric” illness, doctors do not even need to test the patient for a methylation problem, a genetic variant (MTHFR/MTRR), or for a deficiency.

And by the way, by not testing, they may also miss a methylated B12 deficiency (a pharmaceutical company does not own a patent on a pill yet like they do with methylated B9).  This and other problems can be easily picked up with nutrient testing from labs such as Sepctracell, especially combined with others from other innovative laboratories (Metametrix, Genova Diagnostics, Great Plains Labs, etc.).

So, with no psychiatric medication, no bipolar symptoms, but on higher dose of thyroid medication plus a dietary change, what is that daughter’s bipolar?
  • A misdiagnosis? If so, what is her diagnosis since we do not have one for (autoimmune reaction to) casein affecting the brain?  
  • In remission as long as she stays on the diet change?  
  • It can’t be called “in remission” because “remission” is the current absence of illness/disease or symptoms without currently being treated for it.  
  • Cured? 
  • Who cares? – They are all labels anyway. 
And what about the younger daughter? Assuming you read the book: "It's not Mental" – remember what the psychiatrist said? If she still didn’t have the symptoms of schizoaffective in five years he will consider her to “just not have schizoaffective.” But, “No, it was not a misdiagnosis.”

Then where did the schizoaffective go? And if it was "schizoaffective" – not a misdiagnosis:

Why aren’t all psychiatrists looking for the CAUSE of the symptoms?
Or at least using an integrative, biomedical treatment approach to get the treatment closer to the core of the symptoms?
Why aren’t the “regular” physicians treating this way?
Why will insurance not pay for these incredible tests and Integrative, inexpensive, health-promoting treatments?
  • Is it really because pharmaceutical companies like keeping us sick and on multiple medications for life? (This is highly lucrative for them$ They are not "evil"$ It is also not a "conspiracy" since it is done blatantly--we just choose to ignore it as a society$ They are just businesses$)
  • Is it because doctors cannot just hand out a prescription pill for the stock DSM diagnosis which is easily done based on symptoms rather than digging deeper? 
  • Is it because the psychiatrists are quite constrained by financial considerations - a 15 minute "medication management" consult and what insurance will pay for?
I do not have the answers, because whatever answer I give, there will be others saying “No, no, no…”

I hope this gives you food for thought, and I would be happy to know your opinions.

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Last Updated: 13 November 2011

2 comments:

khel Sahitya Kendra said...

I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!….. I’ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work

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