What is the first step in transitioning from medication (with negative side effects and long term dependency) to a Holistic Bipolar Treatment?

I have been researching alternative therapy to Western Medicine for a long time. I'm 23 years old and I have been treated with various medications from the age of 12 for Depression, Anxiety, ADHD, and PTSD. I have been prescribed the same medications along with various antidepressants for about the past 7 years. I have relized that the "meds" may have worked at one time for one reason or another, but I have now reached a point where I no longer find relief from my Medicinal Therapy and I lack a proper diet and exercise routine resulting from my dependency on my "meds."

Today, I'm involved with Verbal Therapy weekly and I just began a Reiki 1 class. I have a great deal of interest in working with these alternative therapies to heal my ailments with a more lasting and natural approach. I eat poorly, work hard, take my meds, and I am not sure what the best first step to take would be. Any advice or suggestions would be a great help. Thank you for interest and time.

All the best,
Peace, Love, and Happiness

Ben's Answer:

In my experience, those who I've seen have the most success with this transition, have done so by following the program at www.truehope.com - a Canadian company that sells a natural supplement specifically for Bipolar, but is also good for depression, ADHD and other psychiatric disorders. The supplement is in the form of capsules, that are taken daily, and must be taken with regularity , just like meds. The staff there are available to give support by phone, and trained to guide you in how to safely and very cautiously taper off your meds. Each medication has a different protocol according to their system of tapering off, and transitioning to an increasing dose of their supplement (called EmPower Plus). They will work with your doctor in this process, but their method is objectionable to most psychiatrists. They do "cross tapering" - meaning they lower each of your meds simultaneously, rather than tapering and stopping one at a time.

It is very important when following this sort of nutritional approach, to support your body with a good diet - avoiding additives, MSG, artificial sweeteners, refined sugar, etc. Fish Oil/Krill oil (omega-3 fatty acids) are also always a good idea. And exercise is an important aspect of your recovery too.

Some people create their own program of supplementation, but I've seen many fail with this. You really have to know what you're doing, and have lots of support. Going off your meds without professional guidance by a doctor or comparable health expert is very risky, so be careful.

I wish you the best!

Ben Schwarcz

Comments for What is the first step in transitioning from medication (with negative side effects and long term dependency) to a Holistic Bipolar Treatment?

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Feb 11, 2010
Importance of Sleep - YES!
by: Ben Schwarcz

I absolutely agree in regards to the importance of sleep hygiene! Guard your sleep, even if it means having to occasionally use a pharmaceutical sleep aid. More than one night with little or no sleep, should be a red flag requiring quick action.

Feb 11, 2010
Sleep Hygiene: Cornerstone
by: Anonymous

Very, very, very important.

In any holistic transition, THE MOST important aspect to maintain, especially those who have trouble with hypomania or mania, is SLEEP HYGIENE.

One is ALWAYS going to have tendency for "kindling" and for rapid cyclers or those who still pole vault into mania, you must have a shamanic type self awareness of your energy at all times.

If you are going a couple of nights of poor sleep, ALWAYS fall back on a med to dampen down the kindling. This could be anywhere from a sleep aid to your standard hit by a truck anti-psychotic (Klonopin works as temporary anti-anxiety sleep aid for me and is one of the meds you can pick up and drop...poetically I call this "CLOWN PIN" as in pinning down the manic clown).

is the barometer of a life long bipolar/shamanic condition.

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