Orthomolecular Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

Wikipedia defines bipolar disorder as follows:

“Bipolar disorder, also known as bipolar affective disorder, manic-depressive disorder, or manic depression, is a mental illness classified by psychiatry as a mood disorder. Individuals with bipolar disorder experience episodes of an elevated or agitated mood known as mania alternating with episodes of depression.”

On a webpage entitled ‘Hoffer’s Home Page – The Schizophrenias‘ by Dr. Abram Hoffer, MD, Phd, Dr. Hoffer describes a patient suffering from bipolar disorder and how he treated her with orthomolecular (or nutritional) medicine in the following excerpt:

“Marion, age 32, consulted me on October 2 because she suffered from chronic fatigue and was unable to cope with recurrent infections. She had been diagnosed bipolar psychosis (manic depressive) and had been on and off lithium for 13 years. When on lithium her mood cycled very rapidly. In mid July she was diagnosed depression and started on an antidepressant which was very helpful.

“When I saw her she told me about the voices she had heard in the past, about her paranoia, poor memory and difficulty with concentration. I started her on a dairy free diet with niacinamide 500 mg after each meal, ascorbic acid 1 g after each meal, pyridoxine 250 mg daily, zinc citrate 50 mg daily, selenium 200 mcg daily and a B complex 50’s once daily. By November 18 she was well.  [She was well in roughly 6 weeks!] She had started to improve about ten days after starting on the program. She was not able to tolerate the selenium.”

In this same document Dr. Hoffer describes the limited value of psychotherapy used alone in treating disorders similar to bipolar disorder:

Today psychiatrists know that psychotherapy alone is of little value. But they also know that drugs, although very helpful, do not really make schizophrenic patients normal. If, therefore, they have a patient that they really want to treat they will diagnose them as bipolar (manic depressive), or depressed, which most of them are, and can then use lithium or anti depressants. If they don’t want to treat them, if they are especially difficult, or troublesome, or have a difficult personality, they will diagnose them as personality disorders. In any event, the result is that patients who are schizophrenic, and who would respond to some treatment, are ignored and banished to the modern mental hospital of our large cities, the city streets.”

Several times in this document Dr. Hoffer mentions that many patients who are schizophrenic are incorrectly diagnosed as bipolar.

Dr. Hoffer has had great success treating patients with schizophrenia using vitamin B3 (niacin) which you can read about in the following documents:

Treatment of Schizophrenia with Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Orthomolecular Treatment for Schizophrenia using Vitamin B3 (Niacin): Six Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Studies

The entire text of this article is available here.

On another webpage on the previous site entitled ‘Mood Disorders: Anxiety, Bipolar or Depression‘, Dr. Hoffer lists the following orthomolecular regimen as being useful for mood disorders.  (Note that this is very similar to the regimen that Dr. Hoffer prescribed for his patient named Marion, above.):

“The following nutrients are helpful in controlling mood disorders (under medical supervision):

    Niacinamide
    B complex
    Vitamin C
    Folic acid
    Vitamin D
    Vitamin B-6
    Zinc citrate
    Essential fatty acids

“In contrast to anti depressant medication I have not yet seen the type of warning issued by Professor Lana Watkins PhD, Duke University, who told the Annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society held in Denver, March 4, 2006, that current anti depressants increased the risk of dying from heart disease by 55 percent.”

The entire text of this article is available here.

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