Checking Vitamin D Levels is Recommended for Patients with Bipolar or Schizophrenic Symptoms

Several studies show an association between schizophrenia and low levels of vitamin D. To date, there are only few studies about the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in patients with bipolar disorder. The scientists responsible for this study conducted in the Netherlands aimed to show that vitamin D deficiency is more prevalent among patients with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorders than among the general Dutch population. Most studies have been conducted with hospitalized patients but this study only included outpatients.

The results of this study showed that vitamin D deficiency was 4.7 times more common among those with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or schizoaffective disorder than among the Dutch general population. Given the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, the researchers believe that outpatients with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or schizoaffective disorder should be considered at risk of having low levels of vitamin D. Annual measurement of vitamin D levels in psychiatric outpatients with these disorders seems to be justified to maintain bone health, muscle strength, and to prevent osteoporosis.

Source: J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2016 Dec;36(6):588-592.

Hormone Pellets for Depression

Hormone pellets are tiny solid pieces of hormones, about the size of rice grains, comprised of either estrogen or testosterone. They are inserted under the skin on the side of the buttock, under local anesthesia. They reside in the layer of fat beneath the skin, from which they are slowly absorbed. They secrete constant amounts of hormones into the bloodstream, day and night, for 3-5 months, and sometimes longer.

Hormone PelletsI have been inserting hormone pellets into menopausal women, and into men with testosterone depletion, for a dozen years. Of all the methods of hormone restoration the pellets are the most potent, because blood levels do not fluctuate as they do with other formulations. Throughout their adult lives, women have experienced hormonal ups and downs related to ovulation and menstruation. Hormonal variations have incurred transient emotional changes in many women, manifested as anxiety, depression, insomnia and loss of libido. Often these emotional changes are aggravated with the onset of menopause, and relieved after bioidentical hormones are prescribed.Continue Reading

Nutrient Therapies and Mental Health

A soon-to-be-released book, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Treatments in Psychiatry, by Stradford, Vickar, Berger, and Cass, lists a number of nutrient therapies found to be beneficial for mental health problems.

  • Niacinamide– for Alzheimer’s disease treatment and prevention- up to 6000 mg daily.
  • Methylation supporters– affect dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin to impact memory, mood, concentration, and sleep.  These include folic acid or tetrahydrofolate, B6, B12, and SAM-e.  Folic acid may be low in depression or schizophrenia.  Vitamin B12 may improve depression and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.  Vitamin B6 in a dose of 100 mg daily may improve PMS, and improve IQ in children with developmental disorders.  SAM-e, also a methyl donor, can help depression in a dose of 400- 1600 mg daily.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids, especially DHA, are beneficial for depression, bipolar disorder, as well as schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.Continue Reading

Serotonin and Depression

Massive research has been undertaken to identify biological causes of mental illness.  Business enterprises exist purporting to measure neurotransmitter substances with the intent of guiding drug or nutritional therapies to alter the body’s neurochemical production.  I have long been dubious about this testing, seeing no predictable benefit.  A similar opinion was offered in JAMA, June 22-29, 2011, page 2580:

“…there is precious little evidence that serotonin, the depressogenic substance in fashion, has anything to do with depression either.”

Walter A. Brown, MD, Dept of psychiatry, Warren Albert Medical School of Brown University, Rhode Island

Allan Sosin, MD

Lifestyle Therapy of Emotional Illness

WomanAnxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and other mental problems are common and often difficult to deal with.  They can create disability and impairment in family structure as serious, and expensive, as most physical illnesses.  In our current state of knowledge, therapy mainly involves prescription of sedatives and other psychiatric medications. Drugs, however, do not address cause, have many side effects, often are not effective very long if at all, and are replaced or complemented by other drugs.  Frequent side effects are a worsening of the primary condition, fatigue, loss of memory and concentration, loss of libido, increased incidence of accidents and falls, weight gain and diabetes.

In children and adolescents, prescription drugs are often preceded or followed by the use of street drugs.  It is uncertain whether prescription drugs promote the use of street drugs because they themselves are addicting (Adderall, Ritalin), fail to achieve sufficient effect, or create a habit of using chemicals to improve an unpleasant state of mind.  In our practice we see many adolescents and young adults who self-medicate with street drugs or alcohol in addition to taking prescribed psychiatric drugs.  We try to get them off all mind-altering substances.  The process often takes months.

It is better to address emotional problems with lifestyle therapies than with drugs.  It is a safer and more effective approach.Continue Reading

ADD Responds to an Elimination Diet

KidsAttention deficit hyperactivity disorder affects 5% pf children worldwide. It is often diagnosed by teachers who have difficulty managing certain children in class, and leads to the prescription of drugs that alter behavior, particularly stimulants such as Ritalin or Adderall. These drugs are addicting, related to amphetamines, and cause physical growth retardation, as well as emotional dullness. Parents are often loathe to submit their children to these drugs.

The Finegold diet, a program that restricts the intake of sugars, food colorings and preservatives, has been found effective in managing a number of children with ADHD symptoms. A recent paper (Lancet, Feb. 5, 2011, pp.494-503) offers similar results, and encourages that the first treatment for children with ADHD should not be with drugs, but rather with dietary management.

One hundred children, 4-8 years of age, diagnosed with ADHD or oppositional-defiant disorder, were enrolled in a placebo-controlled trial. The elimination (few foods) diet consisted of rice, meat, vegetables, pears and water, complemented with specific items such as fruits, potatoes and wheat. If children did not improve after two weeks, the complementary foods were eliminated. Children were assessed by their parents, teachers and pediatricians.

Seventy eight percent of children who completed the elimination diet phase had improved. Two thirds of these children, after being placed back on unrestricted diets, reverted to their prior behavior.Continue Reading

Kava For Anxiety And Stress

Kava is a dietary supplement used to relieve stress, anxiety, tension, as well as sleep impairment and menopausal difficulties.  It grows in the South Pacific, and is commonly used by natives for social and recreational purposes.  In 2002 the FDA offered a consumer advisory that kava might be implicated in the development of liver injury.  Several nutritional supplement companies stopped offering it because of legal concerns.

It has since been learned that properly chosen and processed kava components are safe and effective, and unlikely to produce liver injury.  “…compelling evidence suggests short-term safety and efficacy of kava as an anxiolytic herbal drug” (JAMA, November 17, 2010, pp. 2174-75).

The kava product should be a water-based kava extract derived from peeled rhizomes and roots, of at least 5 years of age, with a daily dose not above 250 mg.  Under these conditions, kava has proven extremely safe.

Dr. Allan Sosin

Will New Psych “Bible” Make Everyone Crazy?

Is anyone normal anymore?

An updated edition of the medical reference doctors use to diagnose mental illnesses could include a range of brand-new disorders, including some that describe thought patterns and behaviors that have long been considered mere quirks or examples of eccentric behavior.
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Dr. Allan Sosin podcast on psychiatric drugging

Dr. Allan Sosin recently did a podcast interview with Citizens Commission on Human Rights on psychiatric drugging. In this interview, Dr. Sosin talks about the harmful effects of and alternatives to psychiatric drugs. Click here to listen to this podcast.