Since writing this article in 2007, momentous education and observation has taken place–and continues to evolve. One could argue I wrote from a naïve perspective, yet I still champion the alternative approach as superior. Pharmaceuticals, no matter how stabilizing, only treat symptoms—they do not treat cause. Despite horrific side effects, if one has a serious mental illness, regular psychiatric care and med compliance is vital! The downside of psychotropic drugs is still preferable to revolving door hospitalizations. In some cases, each psychotic breakdown progressively worsens neurological damage to the brain.
In 2012, my husband and I trained to become NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Family-to-Family teachers. In 2007, we gained a whole new world of learning and support in NAMI—how privileged we are to pass the blessings along to many others who courageously deal with unthinkable challenges. In all too many cases, the seriously mentally ill (SMI) have no insight into their obvious need for help (and often are very abusive of loved ones attempting to get help). This scenario does not arise from the SMI being stubborn, but rather the illness itself prevents them from seeing their own need—in fact, they often swear they are just fine, and insist that others who try to help them need medications! An invaluable book, I Am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help, by Dr. Xavier Amador (internationally renowned clinical psychologist) explains/researches this phenomena (anosognosia). This powerful book gives vital communication tools—a priceless resource indeed!
My ‘big dream’ is create Homes of Hope. Affordable, good housing is a HUGE challenge to find for the SMI. Many homeless and prisoners are SMI. MY ‘Homes of Hope’ dream includes providing psychiatrists who cooperate with the specialty trained TrueHope counselors. There is already much success in helping the SMI to safely transition from pharmaceuticals to Truehope orthomolecular therapy. (Yes, there are some that do not respond and need to stay on pharmaceuticals—yet a majority of SMI do respond well to this type of therapy.)
I challenge any ‘Quackwater’ to refute the obvious success of TrueHope backed internationally by 41 independent researchers, 15 universities—and a court who ruled it would be negligent to not offer TrueHope supplements to those who desperately need them—just ask those who experience liberation! I am confident that if the billions of dollars put in pharmaceutical treatment were invested in TrueHope instead, we would have far less hospitalizations and much greater success in treating the SMI. How about Insurance plans that cover Truehope? Now that would be the impossible dream come true!
Mental Health Medication Madness, 2007
Controversy rages in the battle between naturopathic and pharmaceutical treatment of mental illness. (This is true of a plethora of conditions). America is very slow to learn. In Eastern countries, many physicians have both traditional and naturopathic medical degrees. This is optimal health care, combining the best of both worlds. Since a loved one of ours was diagnosed with Bipolar, in 2006, we join forces to battle this devastating condition.
The phenomenal success of TrueHope’s EmpowerPlus is astounding. There are many helpful naturopathic sources for treatment of mental illness. TrueHope stands ‘heads and shoulders’ above the others—you will be amazed if you take time to go to their website and explore—www.truehope.com.
TrueHope was born out of tragedy—when a mother of ten, who suffered from Bipolar Affective Disorder, committed suicide on a cold January day. Two of her children were also diagnosed with the same disorder. With all known traditional medical routes exhausted, a desperate husband and father, Anthony Stephan, became a co-founder of TrueHope. With the help of a friend, David Hardy, they painstakingly honed a program that eventually brought recovery to Stephan’s children. (See details on Truehope site under ‘About us’). This also led to a Canadian based, non-profit, research group dedicated to overcoming central nervous system disorders.
It’s an atrocity that something so rehabilitative would be attacked by ‘quackwatchers’. The legal attack was so vicious; efforts were made to put Stephan and Hardy in jail. Double-blind studies that were initiated were aborted. After a five year needless delay, the studies (in the US and Canada) are now again on track. Dr. Bonnie Kaplan, a research psychologist, (University of Alberta) sings the praises of TrueHope, having significant success in her practice. Stephan’s daughter, Autumn Stringam has written a book (A Promise of Hope) about her amazing journey:
Why the negative response to something so overwhelmingly positive? Could it be the pharmaceutical companies feel their profits threatened? Hardy says, “Over ten years, thousands of Canadians have sought our help because typical drug treatments have not worked for them. In an environment where suicide is common and where some medications are now known to increase the likelihood of suicide, we are ecstatic with our success rate.” Despite the inherent risks of pioneering unprecedented mental health treatments, Stephan and Hardy are compelled to continue. Stephan says, “The court has ruled that we would be negligent if we did not continue to offer our breakthrough treatment and support to Canadians who need it so desperately.” TrueHope usage is continuing to grow and is achieving international success.
Truehope uses non-medical staff to counsel program participants. Of course they are criticized for this, even though they are well trained to know how the product works most effectively. Renowned Harvard psychopharmacologist, Dr. Charles Popper, testified in a court case that he learned from the founders to manage transitions from medications. He said, “They are the experts.” It is the desire of Truehope to involve physicians. They hope the legal and scientific climate will become more congenial to this cause in the future.
Excellent Mental Health Resources
There are excellent natural alternatives to many pharmaceuticals drugs. Damaging harmful side-effects can be avoided (or minimized). Of course, there is need for checks and balances to stop bogus or harmful products sold by unscrupulous dealers. There is great consensus research and case studies, supporting TrueHope EmpowerPlus, and what follows. If you would like to review more evidence, please e-mail me at the address below. I have reams of consensus studies from around the world. Most are in PDF format—you can open if you have Adobe reader.
If you research prescription drug lawsuits, you’ll see much about Seroquel. It has been shown to promote high blood sugar, with diabetic and pancreatic complications, amongst many other dangerous side effects. (Zyprexa, etc., has similar effects.) These are controversial antipsychotic drugs. If there are risk factors of diabetes, Seroquel exacerbates that problem. The manufacturer, by, their own admission, has issued a warning as of October, 2004. Lawsuits swirl around these controversial medications.
Several studies have shown fish oil to promote mood stabilization and marked improvement of depression sufferers and other mental illnesses. OmegaBrite is a fish oil developed by Harvard Medical School doctors. Its Omega-3 concentration is 90%, making it three times more potent than most fish oil products. Another excellent fish oil product with similar formulation is Omega3 Mood, by Country Life. These products have a higher concentration of essential fatty acids the body cannot make, and is critical to supply. (Do avoid fish oils made from large and older fish that contain a high level of toxins from other fish, crabs, sea life they’ve consumed. Fish from farms, like Atlantic Salmon, are extra full of toxins!) Independently tested, molecularly distilled formulas derived from anchovies, sardines, etc. are preferred. Other great benefits from Omega 3 fish oils—a boon to the heart and joints. Book Ref: The Omega 3 Connection, Andrew Stoll, MD—Groundbreaking depression antidotes
Another important note—There is interesting research about a link between junk food, violent behavior, and crime (double blind NIH and UK prison studies). There was a significant drop in aggressive behaviors after subjects received multivitamin, mineral, and Omega 3 supplements. (The brain is a fatty organ, and much of it is comprised of essential fatty acids.)
Observation: We took our loved one to a mental health clinic appointment. While waiting I watched a mom and young daughter eating packaged, processed junk food—a real ‘downer’ for mental health issues. (Not to mention blood sugar issues.) Later I heard other patients talking about how they would get money to buy their cigarettes. Then a staffer and patient were talking openly about her meds: Trazodone, Seroquel, topped off by Valium—the dope-dispatch method. There has to be a better way. Lifestyle is vital!
Lithium is another commonly prescribed pharmaceutical for mood stabilization. It has many harmful side effects. From a family friend, we know personally the devastating affects of long-term use. There is a product from which one can escape pharmaceutical side effect like, nausea, diarrhea, muscular tremors, increased thirst and urination, headache, blurred vision, even seizures and kidney damage. (Lithium is not known for causing liver damage as many pharmaceutical drugs do. Excessive use of many over-the-counter medications also damage the liver.)
The good news: there is a natural lithium with no known side effects, if taken in recommended doses. (See www.bipolar-lives.com/lithium-orotate.html). There was a product called Serenity developed by highly respected Dr. Hans Nieper. He has had astounding success treating depression, bipolar, mania, migraines, and much more, including non-toxic methods for treating cancer. (He is reported to have one of the highest cure rates for cancer in the medical world.) Natural mineral lithium with Orotate, (an organic “carrier”) is formulated to transport lithium to exactly where it needs to be delivered in the brain cells. Enteric coating ensures by-pass of stomach acids which releases the lithium within the cells-—this should minimize the risk for dangerous levels of lithium in the blood. (Likely because of massively overdose abuse, evidently Serenity brand is not sold, as in the past). When taking any type of lithium, it is important to have regular blood testing done to check for unsafe levels.
One of our biggest regrets is that our loved one chose to go off the TrueHope supplements–it was the best era of successful quality of life. (Many with mental illness diagnosis believe they are “cured” when feeling better.) More recently, dealing with the complex side-effects of pharmaceuticals and limited system options is most challenging. It is vital to take a lifelong management approach, which takes vast courage, great insight, and much patience.
Why are mental health practices about 40 years behind? Why are effective treatments shunned by the medical establishment? There is much more. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. Thank you. Linda Dunn