Hello, M&V, and welcome to the Bipolar Forum,
Sometimes, the cure can be worse than the illness, and I'm speaking now of so many sundry medicatons that are used and used excessively, in my view, in trying to stabilize a chemical imbalance in the brain, and that's what Bipolar illness is: a chemical imbalance.
When I first saw a psychiatrist many years ago and was prescribed lithium, I was told not to use alcohol and not to drink or eat anything with caffeine in it because both of them make the illness worse. With changes in the diet and with adequate rest and exercise, I no longer take psychotropic medications, but rely on a vitamin supplement which can cross the blood brain barrier.
The medication is Deplin, a prescribed form of folate in Folic acid which can cross the blood-brain barrier to nourish and increase serotonin and norepinephrine, two of the many neurotransmitters in the brain. It is a "food medication" available by prescription only. Please ask your psychiatrist about it.
Some Bipolar patients are unable to use folic acid because they are missing the necessary enzymes to metabolize folate derived from folic acid and must rely on a form of folate that can cross the blood-brain barrier. (Genetic testing is required to know if one lacks the enzymes, but since it's a food, often psychiatrists will prescribe it without ordering the genetic testing since, if the patient feels better with the medication, chances are he needs it. Hence, no genetic testing is necessary. That may also be researched online.
Not everyone understands that psychotropic medications leave an acidic residue that the system must manage; and unless the kidneys are able to metabolize that acid within every 24-hour period, the patient is left with a residue that can continue to build as he (or she) continues to take meds daily. He should drink water exclusively--no sodas, coffee, tea, etc. (If he can't resist tea, drinking a small amount of milk after ingesting tea will help to lower the caffeine or tannic acid in tea.) It's best to remove it from the diet, however.
Doctors know now that bipolar illness is an inflammation of a portion of the brain and that it fires too rapidly, but they don't know yet what causes it. They do know that aspirin helps to relieve the symptoms (but not to the point of superseding prescribed medications.) It is also known that unprocessed salt helps to remove the acids in brain cells, and that helps to reduce symptoms, as well.
While you are desperately searching for the right psychiatrist (and in my view that is the best possible route to follow to obtain superior help regarding your husband's illness) you might want to begin to practice some of the known procedures for reducing symptoms.
1. Do not drink alcohol (many bipolar patients do drink because it relieves bipolar symptoms, and it's one of the worst things a bipolar patient can do.)
2. Don't use anything that contains caffeine. It makes bipolar illness worse, and it takes months to remove the damage caused by caffeine addiction for those who indulge and have a sensitivity to it. (Please read ruthhwhalen.com/caffeine for a more inclusive report on how caffeine is manipulated in the brain of sensitive people.)
3. He must get his rest. A schedule of going to bed and arising at a defnite schedule is important to try to maintain. His psychiatrist may prescribe medication for that--that's how important it is.
4. He must take the APPROPRIATE prescribed medication.
To add to that, your effort must be to serve foods that are less acidic in digestion. For example, all cheese is highly irritating to the system. Milk products should be avoided. Processed foods do not contain sufficient nutrients and they are acidic in digestion.
He should be eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat. More salads (a large one, daily ) are called for, and more fish, chicken, and lamb, are preferable to beef or organ meats. (They should be served about 4 times per week maximum.)
Please go to a website called foods high in thiols.com to learn which foods should be avoided. (Thiols are sulfur-like compounds that are acidic in reaction, and the idea is to reduce acidic ingestion and maintain a more alkaline reaction. You could also look up Alkaline reacting foods.com to learn which ones are better for a stable diet for quality nutrition.)
It is possible to reduce the symptoms of bipolar illness by changing the diet, by taking a lower amount of prescribed medications once brain the chemistry is stabilized (with the doctor's orders, of course), and by getting enough exercise and sleep. Those things do make a huge difference in how the patient controls his illness. That's ultimately what he must learn to do--to control it. One member calls it "taking a pro-active position" in regard to going into remission.
You can silently help him by preparing foods of different reactions from those currently being served,helping to get his tissues and fluids in a more alkaline state. The brain will release some of the acidity of brain cells by using unprocessed salt.(e.g. Himalayan or French sea salt). Please stop the use of processed salt in your cooking and seasoning after cooking. The taste provides a marked improvement in food flavor, as well.
Bipolar illness is not a death sentence. It is an illness that can be controlled and can alter the patient's life for a positive and healthy lifestyle if a person who is bipolar will only get into knowledge about how to help himself or herself and apply it.
This is long and bothersome, but one way to remission in Bipolar illness.
Please encourage your husband to learn all he can about how to help himself.
In the meantime, you take care of yourself and make sure that you're getting the positive input you need for your strength and endurance while you help your spouse to wellness.
Keep in touch as you wish, and I hope you locate the best psychiatrist around who will consult with your husband and make superior recommendations for his learning to enjoy life again. And it is a learning process that he will go thorugh, M&V, as he takes control of the illness.
Post Edited (It's Genetic) : 4/10/2012 4:13:11 PM (GMT-6)