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Help For Friend With Bi-polar Son
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I may be waving the flag of Gluten-free Casein-free a little high lately but given the amazing transformation in my own life I can't help but spread the word. I have two friends whose sons have bi-polar disorders. I have discussed with one of them that many people (myself included) feel that food intolerance is a root cause of mental disorder/disease. I would like to supply this mother with some information regarding the possible connection. I am looking for personal experience feedback as well as other sources for this woman to read up on ie. journals, articles, websites.

Secondly, should I speak to the other family about this possible connection? I think she would appreciate my effort but I have trouble getting my own family to listen to me even though some of them have the same problems I do and have seen my life change before their eyes.

Thanks

Ken

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I'm not sure if this would help you any or not, but here is a link to a thread I started last month: http://www.glutenfreeforum.com/index.php?showtopic=39248

It's about my son. Our doctor thinks he may be bipolar. I think he may be Celiac. We both agree that a gluten-free diet may help him. The thread has quite a bit of info in it, and some people posted articles there, too.

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I may be waving the flag of Gluten-free Casein-free a little high lately but given the amazing transformation in my own life I can't help but spread the word. I have two friends whose sons have bi-polar disorders. I have discussed with one of them that many people (myself included) feel that food intolerance is a root cause of mental disorder/disease. I would like to supply this mother with some information regarding the possible connection. I am looking for personal experience feedback as well as other sources for this woman to read up on ie. journals, articles, websites.

Secondly, should I speak to the other family about this possible connection? I think she would appreciate my effort but I have trouble getting my own family to listen to me even though some of them have the same problems I do and have seen my life change before their eyes.

Thanks

Ken

It is very important to note that most major mental illnesses are biological in origin and due to chemical imbalances in the brain. The imbalances do not fix themselves and must be managed with medication. Food intolerance may worsen mental illness and changing diet may improve mental illness symptoms, but if a person suffers from a chemical imbalance they must be under the supervision of a medical doctor and work to correct the biological cause.

Just as celiac is an autoimmune disorder and cannot be fixed with medication or surgery, but with a lifelong commitment to strict diet, major mental illness sufferers such as those with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder must commit to lifelong adherence to both medication and staying away from triggers that worsen their condition (including dietary triggers).

If you aren't convinced that major mental illness is biologically based, then you must have reliable evidence as to why so many people who have these disorders get stable and able to take care of themselves, and are able to go back to work and function in society when on medication for their conditions when previously either hospitalized, in group homes, and/or on disability.

It may be true that too many people are being diagnosed with major mental illnesses who aren't really suffering from them, but to say that a diet change will cure them is incorrect and dangerous. Any person who is suffering from depression for more than 2 weeks, from mania such as spending an inordinate amount of money recklessly and having unprotected sex with strangers, or having hallucinations and delusions should go and see their doctor for a consultation. Diet will probably not "cure" these problems, but either short-term or long-term compliance with medication IN ADDITION to a healthy diet and lifestyle will.

We know that celiac is underdiagnosed and many doctors are naive about the disorder, but we must work with our doctors to get a correct physical and mental diagnosis to get on the road to become healthy and happy.

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If you aren't convinced that major mental illness is biologically based, then you must have reliable evidence as to why so many people who have these disorders get stable and able to take care of themselves, and are able to go back to work and function in society when on medication for their conditions when previously either hospitalized, in group homes, and/or on disability.

. . .. .

Yeah many get stable enough I suppose.

I've run into a few amazing studies though, on putting schizophrenics on a gluten-free diet. Wish I had the link or the numbers, but one memorable point was that the docs themselves were flabbergasted that so many showed so much improvement.

. . . . but to say that a diet change will cure them is incorrect . . . . ..

True in many or most cases, I admit.

My own experience differs.

celiac disease & gluten CAN and DO cause mental illness.

I wish I could go into it more, but, even w/ 5 yrs gone by, I still fear just thinking about it.

Just how rare my situation is, I don't know, but let's not say no one was ever cured by diet. :)

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Secondly, should I speak to the other family about this possible connection? I think she would appreciate my effort but I have trouble getting my own family to listen to me even though some of them have the same problems I do and have seen my life change before their eyes.

Ken,

You're preaching to the choir here on that one. :) People are astonished, to say the least, about the transformation of my body adn brain since gluten removal nearly two years ago.

But the very sad thing is, it's hard to make people listen. I was talking to a very depressed friend (lifelong depression, BTW) a couple of months ago adn said, there has been incalculable change in my life from gluten removal, why not give it a try. And he said something like........oh yeah, like that is really the answer to my depression. :( He's been on every medication, and is still suicidal. I also have been on every med, and life has transformed.

People have to want something desperately to make a dramatic and disciplined change. I would have cut off my legs at the time of dx if I thought that would have helped my lifelong depression and mania. Instead, I just had to cut out gluten. :)

It is very important to note that most major mental illnesses are biological in origin and due to chemical imbalances in the brain. The imbalances do not fix themselves and must be managed with medication. Food intolerance may worsen mental illness and changing diet may improve mental illness symptoms, but if a person suffers from a chemical imbalance they must be under the supervision of a medical doctor and work to correct the biological cause.

Well....those imbalances happen for a variety of reasons. IN my case, it was GLUTEN, and a genetic susceptibility to its opiate effects, pure and simple. So, I must respectfully disagree about requiring management with medication......it is certainly ONE factor in mental health recovery.........but, in my opinion, a VERY MINOR factor. In my case, and in the case of many, gluten IS the biological cause of depression, shizophrenia, and bipolar disorders. Period.

I have been on pretty much every single psychotropic there is, since the age of 18, and I'm now 45. It is impossible to explain how bad things got in the last five or so years before Celiac dx, but I actually may write a book about it one day, as those in my life have urged. IN the few years before Celiac dx, I wasn't absorbing ANYTHING, so not even able to benefit from medications. Meds worked on me only sporadically throughout my life anyway, since I was often "stoned" from wheat....they didn't matter too much. Even on high doses of lithium or Tegretol or Depakote or Lamictyl or you-name-it combined with every antidepressant known to man, life for me was constantly erratic, and the spector of suicide lurked 'round every corner.

My life's crusade, in fact, seems to be turning into promoting the awareness of gluten removal for mental health.............but it's VERY hard to make those in the medical field, who seem largely SOLELY driven by the easy habit of dispensing drugs - HORRIBLE drugs - realize and accept this.

Now......lest you mistake me, please know that I am NOT anti-medications, and am still on a maintenance dose of meds - - 50 to 75 mg. of Seroquel for sleep (used to be 400 - 500) and Effexor - 75 mg. every other day. Will taper to every three days and so on. If I need them, I WILL stay on them or resume taking them if necessary. Should that need evidence itself....I would say that it's due to my neuro-circuitry, from LIFELONG depression, sadness, and suicidology, which routed these deep patterns in my brain...that is, sadly, how I am "wired."

Those who have known me all of my life are gobsmacked by the change.......but since pharmaceutical companies are not pushing drugs for Celiac.......and since Celiac is known mainly as a bowel issue........the fact that wheat and gluten are NEUROTOXINS to those susceptible (by many estimates, at least 50% of the population) will remain largely unknown in the medical community.

An egregious, tragic shame.

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Tom - I dont want to write a long response about my own problems with depression and anxiety but I have never been able to describe that part of my life with out feeling the "willies" come back so you are not alone in not wanting to "get into" it. Thanks for your response!

DingoGirl - Are you the same person who responded to my crazy (but accurate of course) theories about Van Gogh? Thanks alot for the hope you will give my friend with your response.

Trillion - This is a tough subject and I respect your feelings about the matter. I certainly have no basis in fact to make any arguments one way or the other on this subject. The only response I have is that it is hard for me to believe that depression and mental illness is a trait that would survive evolutions hammer. I have to think that this disease, like so many of the others we discuss on this site, has its roots in a modern agricultural system and is therefore a new problem for mankind. Can you imagine the stress of being a caveman? How would depressed cavemen have survived evolution. There must be another answer or a deeper answer than it is simply chemical. I know that this may be offensive to you and I mean no disrespect. Thank you for your response!

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Hi Ken,

My son who is 22, and a college senior went gluten-free this past June. In the past 4 years he had become unrecognizable. Mood swings, phobias, almost like a wall went up, and there was no reaching or reasoning with him. Covered in DH, he reluctantly went gluten-free.

Then end of August, he decided he couldn't go back to school without seeing a Dr (pysch) because he wouldn't be able to concentrate at school. Well the Dr immediatly deemed him bi polar, and put him on meds. My heart sank, I knew that once he had healed, he would be ok. 2 weeks after he started taking the meds, his pressure began rising. So he stopped taking the meds. He felt he was lost, but.... Around the end of October, something amazing happened, my son began to emerge...I could hear the old him in his voice, that feeling of doom began to slowly leave him.

A couple of weekends ago, he came out from school to watch the football game with my husband. I just sit there, holding back tears, watching him talk to my husband...My son is back. I speak from experience, diet can heal, I have seen it with my own eyes.

From the day my son was born, I always knew something was not right with him, too many allergies, too many high fevers, too many strange rashes, and constant stomach aches. Unfortunately, I couldn't help him, until they found out what was wrong with me.

Being young has such an advantage... they heal much quicker...thank goodness!! :)

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:lol: Ken - yes, 'tis I, the very same. I loved your theory, BTW. We have been discussing Van Gogh's gluten- and absinthe-driven insanity just the past couple of days on the Silly thread (but.........it IS pure silliness and madness over there, lest you think that it's a serious discussion).

Janet - what a wonderful thing to hear, about your son. :) This makes me so happy. My mom went through a lifetime of hell with me......finally has the daughter she saw glimpses of, and always knew was there.......

Laura - thanks for that link - I didn't even know that was there!

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Laura - thanks for that link - I didn't even know that was there!

Yes, Laura, thanks for that link. I hadn't seen those articles yet! BTW, I love the new pic/avatar.

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Hi Ken,

My son who is 22, and a college senior went gluten-free this past June. In the past 4 years he had become unrecognizable. Mood swings, phobias, almost like a wall went up, and there was no reaching or reasoning with him. Covered in DH, he reluctantly went gluten-free.

Then end of August, he decided he couldn't go back to school without seeing a Dr (pysch) because he wouldn't be able to concentrate at school. Well the Dr immediatly deemed him bi polar, and put him on meds. My heart sank, I knew that once he had healed, he would be ok. 2 weeks after he started taking the meds, his pressure began rising. So he stopped taking the meds. He felt he was lost, but.... Around the end of October, something amazing happened, my son began to emerge...I could hear the old him in his voice, that feeling of doom began to slowly leave him.

A couple of weekends ago, he came out from school to watch the football game with my husband. I just sit there, holding back tears, watching him talk to my husband...My son is back. I speak from experience, diet can heal, I have seen it with my own eyes.

From the day my son was born, I always knew something was not right with him, too many allergies, too many high fevers, too many strange rashes, and constant stomach aches. Unfortunately, I couldn't help him, until they found out what was wrong with me.

Being young has such an advantage... they heal much quicker...thank goodness!! :)

Janet - \

Couldnt help but read and respond to your post. I feel I have been in the same boat as your son, but I have only begun to suspect gluten has been my problem. I have the same problemsbut notice they go away a few days after, after much trial and error during the past few months. I would be antisocial, have mood swings and say things off the cuff that I shouldnt be saying. I notice I feel like a kid again when I am off of the stuff. I am glad your son is back and pray for me that I have the same results.

Jim

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This post is a bit late, but oh well. I always thought I was completely alone in this, but I have type 1 bipolar and gluten intolerance or celiac's. I had the BP dx for a few years and thought that explained how my life had taken such an awful turn in Junior High/High School. Yet I looked at most bipolars and saw that sometimes, they were normal, whereas I was Chronically ill and depressed. Even while manic there was a sense of fatigue (anemia). The vomiting and stomach acid, the horrible health and pain all over my body. You think Van Gogh may have had Celiac's, look at Friedrich Nietzsche! Any biographical information talks about his terrible digestive problems and miserably failing health. His dry eyes and inability to eat almost all foods.

Anyways, I got lucky and heard about Celiac's from my mother's friend. I wouldn't have lived much longer, cycling as I was, unable to do much of anything in life.

I've been getting stricter and stricter, and I've been on a diet (I have many other food intolerances, unfortunately) for several months now. I now have periods of normality, which is something very new to me. I haven't had an episode in 2 months, which is great! I'm not cured of it, but I'm a completely different person now, even though I have various residual problems from years of bad diet.

I should say that lithium drastically changed my personality as well. Medication can work, but I prefer to stay away from it, for various reasons. Frankly, I'm an artist, and hypomania is very beneficial to my work. Bipolar disorder can be quite beneficent if you have the proper career for it. Fish oil is very effective as well.

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