What do you feel about the gung-ho types who insist they control their bipolar with nothing but supplements and 10 hours of sleep a night? I am getting a little upset at having to defend my choice to medicate my daughter. I don’t doubt that this DOES work for some people and that these things can be effectively used in conjunction with therapy and meds. I just get worried that people diss meds. They can be life-saving and I KNOW how bad my daughter is without them. Without them she’d probably be dead. So, no I don’t LIKE the fact that she takes them, but the alternative is worse and supplements alone will just not cut it.


Wow, so this pretty much goes hand in hand with Friday’s Post, yet it’s still a little different. As I stated Friday, I feel the same as you. I don’t LIKE that my son is on meds, but I know he needs them.

In and “ideal” world we’d all be able to control our Bipolar with supplements, therapy, extra sleep and exercise. I’m a big fan of this ideal world too. Seeing as I’m already exercising, going to therapy, and I am in LOVE with sleep and all extra hours I can devote to it. I’d just need to add in some fish oil (BLECK) for Omega 3’s and maybe some St. Johns Wart or other such natural supplements. But for me, and for many Bipolarees, that’s just not how it works for us.

I had a VERY rough weekend this past week. As stated above, I am running and sleeping as I should be. I’m taking my meds and at the same time every day. I’m following all the rules … but I still felt horrible. Thoughts of tossing the meds in the trash and other such things crept into my mind and I just wanted to hide in a hole till I felt better. BUT, I’ve been here before. And I did toss my meds in a trash and other such things. Want to know where I ended up? I’ll give you a hint. They cut the string out of my pajama pants as a “safety precaution” and the food there sucked! Yep, that’s right, I found myself a ticket to the hospital.

This time I’ve stayed on my meds despite my feelings that they aren’t working and I made it through the weekend. Even when it feels like our meds aren’t cutting the mustard, they are really the thing stopping us from breaking. Meds are what hold us together when we get in our worst moments.

Can a supplement do that? To be honest, I have no clue. But if I’m being honest (which I kinda have a habit of doing) I don’t want to find out. I don’t want to take the chances of not having a mood stabilizer to hold me together when my brain is waging a war in hopes of tearing me apart. And as for my son, I can’t fathom taking that chance with him. I don’t feel like it’s fair to go against the advice of a licensed professional just so I can try to keep his treatment more ‘natural’.

I did a little research, mainly to make sure I wasn’t spouting out opinions without knowing the facts. Here’s what I found…

One website state;

“Nutritional supplements are sometimes used to treat bipolar disorder, though it is important to discuss any changes to your treatment with your doctor. These nutritional methods are not meant to replace your medication or therapy sessions and are generally used to naturally complement these traditional approaches.”

(Read more: How to Treat Bipolar Disorder Naturally | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2088527_treat-bipolar-disorder-naturally.html#ixzz12iO6CK4n)

Another site stated that;
“…such supplements do not offer any cure for a condition like bipolar disorder, and often provide few benefits.”
But to be fair, I found just as many that stated the opposite. However, none of them could say for certain whether or not a supplemental treatment is a proven effective substitute for medications. If I could make a recommendation, completely UNMEDICALLY biased and fully in my own opinion (though I am kinda awesome and my opinions are like rainbows and ponies…though I suppose not EVERYONE likes rainbows and ponies…stupid unicorn lovers! um I mean….) my opinion would be to do both. Check with your doctor, see if you are able to supplement any natural sources with some of the meds that might be giving you or your child harsh side effects. After all, doctors are trained for this kind of thing. They know what’s best for you!

***No ponies or unicorns were harmed in the writing of this post. All opinions are completely subjective and may be torn apart at any time…in a NICE way of course. We like to play nice here!***

2 thoughts on “Unmedicated???

  1. Nice post Marybeth! I have to admit that I’m irritated when people mention more natural ways. The reason being that I tried a lot of natural things and nothing worked, which is why my son is on meds. We tried removing food coloring, we tried fish oils, we tried removing sugar, we tried exercise, etc….

    Sometimes meds are just what your kid needs. But I have to say, I don’t think I ever met a parent that rushed to put their kid on meds, it’s a scary decision that comes with risks. If something natural would’ve worked, we would be doing that today.

  2. Oh to live in an ideal world. I also get cross when people ask if I’ve tried various alternative therapies as it tells me they don’t really GET Bipolar. Maybe it’s because you can’t see it or because the treatment doesn’t make your hair fall out that the suffering is massively underestimated. I also get annoyed with people like Stephen Fry, who states he has Bipolar but elects not to medicate it as he would miss the highs. Maybe he only has highs but I think that’s an irresponsible public attitude to attest. As for St John’s wort, following is why I would not try it. From National Centre for Complimentary and Allternative Medicine.
    Key Points
    Studies suggest that St. John’s wort is of minimal benefit in treating major depression. A study cofunded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) found that St. John’s wort was no more effective than placebo in treating major depression of moderate severity. There is some scientific evidence that St. John’s wort is useful for milder forms of depression.
    St. John’s wort interacts with certain drugs, and these interactions can limit the effectiveness of some prescription medicines.
    St. John’s wort is not a proven therapy for depression. If depression is not adequately treated, it can become severe and, in some cases, may be associated with suicide. Consult a health care provider if you or someone you care about may be experiencing depression.
    Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

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