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TOPIC TITLE: psychosis
Created On 6/4/05 11:02 PM
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temizo
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8/7/09 11:21 AM
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That's it from this book. I hope it helps.


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Sarah
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8/7/09 5:13 PM
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What good advice Temizo. This must have taken you a long time to type out and for that I am truly grateful to you.

Wishing you a good Shabbos.

Sarah


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temizo
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8/10/09 12:56 PM
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I'm glad you find it helpful. I hope it can help others, as well. How is everything?


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gad
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8/11/09 12:49 AM
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Sarah, how is your daughter doing?
 
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Sarah
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8/18/09 12:13 AM
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Dear All,

My daughter's psychiatrist has sent in a report to the Canadian government to allow my daughter to use Abilify as so far she has been on many meds and she still hears voices. Abilify is not available under prescription in Quebec and if the government approves it my daughter will have to pay for the medication but at least we would know if this will help her. I have heard that it is good for trichotillomania which she also has.

We are waiting.

I'd like to hear from others about their success with Abilify.

Thanks

Sarah


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Lippa
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8/22/09 4:12 PM
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Hello Sarah, a long time since we 'spoke'.
Having prescribed aripiprazole (Abilify) for several years, the most important thing to realise is that it is different from every other antipsychotic. there is usually no sedation or weight gain. on the other hand it takes a very long time to work so your daughter will need to stay on her current meds as well as Abilify for a while before stopping them. How long she stays on both is obviously up to your psychiatrist and your daughter. could be some months, though, so be prepared. hope all goes well.
 
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Sarah
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8/23/09 10:12 PM
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Thanks Dr. Lippa,

I just hope the government has the sense to let us try Abilify.

Will let you all know.


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Sarah
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11/4/09 10:35 PM
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Dear Dr. Lippa et al,

At long last, tomorrow the psychiatrist is going to prescribe Abilify for my daughter. I am really "excited".

This is supposed to help with:

1. her trichotillomania
2. sleepiness
3. her weight gain
4. lower side effects
5. and most of all I hope her voices disappear - this drug is supposed to give her more energy

I don't know how the psychiatrist is going to make the switch; whether it will be a slow process or a straight switch.

Will let you all know.

Sarah


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gad
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11/4/09 10:38 PM
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I hope it's successful.
 
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Sarah
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11/4/09 11:09 PM
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Amen.


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Sarah
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11/12/09 5:08 PM
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My daughter is the first patient of the psychiatrist to be treated with Abilify. This drug has to be paid for privately until the Canadian government approves it under Medicare.

So far we are very happy with the switch. We are taking the long route of the switch which has fewer side effects and which will take 6 weeks for the changeover.
Hope to report further good news.

Sarah


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gad
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11/12/09 7:53 PM
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May Hashem make your efforts successful.

Refuah Shleima
 
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Sarah
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11/12/09 8:38 PM
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Hi Gad,

Amen. May we all have a Refuah Shleimah.

Have a good Shabbos.

Sarah


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Sarah
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11/15/09 6:33 PM
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Begin of Week 2
    I noticed a beautiful radiance on the skin of my daughter's face.
      My daughter says she can sometimes think clearly now.
        She does not go to sleep in the afternoons like she used to.

        This is truly amazing. I am really looking forward to her being on Abilify fully.

        Sarah


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        gad
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        11/16/09 4:12 AM
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        Thank you for the good news.

        May it go from good to better, to a complete recovery very soon.


        Edited: 11/16/09 at 4:16 AM by gad
         
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        Sarah
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        11/28/09 10:39 PM
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        A Gutte Voch Dr. Lippa

        I hope you get this message soon. I will iy"H be travelling to your country on Monday night so thought I would hear from you before I leave.

        I am following up during my daughter's transition to Abilify :

        This is what you wrote:

        Sarah
        we have abilify which is called aripiprazole as its chemical name. Geodon is also a trade name, but i don't know what its chemical name is, and the trade names vary from one country to another. so i don't know if we have it in UK.
        Abilify is a very interesting antipsychotic. i have been in psychiatry for over 30 years and have never prescribed any other antipsychotic like it. firstly it rarely has the side effect of drowsiness, which almost all the others do. secondly it rarely makes people put on weight. as you know that can be a terrible problem. finally, it seems to work very well indeed in some people and not at all in other people.
        the changeover period from another antipsychotic needs to be long, and i will take several months over this.
        Hope all goes well
        Lippa

        I quote you from a report:
        The panel advised that some patients may find the first few weeks of taking aripiprazole difficult, but over the longer term, many find it better than using other antipsychotic drugs. Long term use of this drug may result in real benefits for service users, as aripiprazole has a favourable physical health profile compared to other drugs. Service users taking aripiprazole may therefore be better able to take part in social activities, work, education and cognitive behavioural therapy, all of which would contribute significantly to their quality of life.

        Hello Sarah, a long time since we 'spoke'.
        Having prescribed aripiprazole (Abilify) for several years, the most important thing to realise is that it is different from every other antipsychotic. there is usually no sedation or weight gain. on the other hand it takes a very long time to work so your daughter will need to stay on her current meds as well as Abilify for a while before stopping them. How long she stays on both is obviously up to your psychiatrist and your daughter. could be some months, though, so be prepared. hope all goes well.

        My daughter is the first patient her psychiatrist is prescribing Abilify for.

        My daughter is in the middle of the transition i.e. week 3 completed and she is extremely drowsy but does not go back to sleep during the day whereas she used to go to sleep on the risperdal. The voices and tactile halucinations are the same. When she is occupied by doing things her thought processes are clearer. Otherwise her thoughts keep being replaced by new ones and she cannot stay on topic so she says.

        I think she is gaining more weight.

        What do you say Dr. Lippa.

        Kol Tuv

        Sarah


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        Daven to Hashem - He always listens to you!

        Edited: 11/28/09 at 10:41 PM by Sarah
         
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        Sarah
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        12/22/09 6:56 PM
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        The abilify has been raised to 15 mg and after a week to 20 mg as my daughter could still hear voices. She changed the time of day to take the medication to the night which helps her not have so much drowsiness during the day. We are optimistic that the 20 mg will be the correct dose.

        Will keep the group informed.

        Sarah


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        Lippa
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        12/23/09 6:42 PM
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        Dear Sarah

        Have only just seen your last two entries, and am sorry that you were in 'my country' (!) and we did not meet.

        As you are discovering, aripiprazole (Abilify) is different. IYH 20 mg will be enough, but some people need more, up to 30 mg. One lesson that experience has taught me is to give aripiprazole plenty of time before deciding whether a particular dose is working, because it takes longer to work than previous antipsychotics.

        She should have a refuoh shlaimoh!

        Lippa
         
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        Sarah
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        12/25/09 11:22 AM
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        Dear Dr. Lippa

        Amen. The funny thing is, my daughter woke up 7:30 a.m. the morning after the first time she took 20 mg and said she had a bad dream. Her voices were planning to leave her. She was quite confused. I suggested making a "goodbye party" but she didn't want that.

        In fact she still hears voices but I am very optimistic about this medication.

        My daughter is meeting her psychiatrist in 3 weeks. Do you think that is enough time to see if the dosage is working for her?

        I travelled to London, my birthplace. Is that where you live?

        Kol Tuv

        Sarah


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        Lippa
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        12/27/09 5:16 AM
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        Sarah
        Often it takes longer than three weeks to stabilise someone on aripiprazole, but it is sensible for your daughter's psychiatrist to review her after a few weeks, to check that there are no problems with side effects.
        Lippa (a Londoner born and bred)
         
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        Sarah
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        1/16/10 6:42 PM
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        A Gutte Voch Dr. Lippa et al,

        My daughter is now on 30 mg. Abilify which as you state seems to be the maximum dosage. I really do hope that this will help her very soon.

        My daughter does have side effects, the main one being nausea and she has stopped taking her orthomolecular meds. i.e. vitamins and omega 3. I just read that 600 mg a day of DHA is recommended for restoring energy. Also 500 mg. ribose 3 x day for a week. Then 5 grams 3 x day for 3 weeks. After that 5 grams 2 x day. It can be used as a sugar subsitute and 5 grams = 20 calories. I quote from the You being Beautiful book by Dr. Michael F. Roizen and Dr. Mehmet C. Oz.

        Have you heard about this? I must do research on it.

        Sarah (born and bred Londoner)


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        frayde
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        1/17/10 5:05 PM
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        hi sarah-
        just got onto the site and i wanted to say tht i hope things are going well. how is your daughter? how are you?? i hope u and ur daughter are ok.
        i want to recommend a book- "the center cannot hold" by elyn r. saks. its a national bestseller and it is AMAZING!!!! its a memoir of a girls life journey struggling with schizophrenia and how her life unfolds. to make a long treacherous journey short, elyn goes to college and becomes highly successful. i found it to be very inspiring and hopeful. though the illness does not leave, it can be controlled, and your daughter can with the right intervention asnd treatment lead a productive life...
        just thought id share that...


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        Sarah
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        1/18/10 8:58 PM
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        Thanks Frayde

        It sounds very interesting. I will check it out.

        We are waiting to see whether the abilify will work for my daughter.

        We are all B"H well.

        Take Care

        Sarah


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        frayde
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        1/19/10 7:35 PM
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        dont wana intrude, but was ect ever suggested for ur daughter? when i was in psych unit one time, there was a young frum boy w schiz and he really benefited from ect. today he is boruch hashem living a very productive life... maybe inquire abt it...
        im only saying this bec i care. i give u tremendous credit, and i pray that hashem give u the strength to keep fighting battles and brave the storms...


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        Sarah
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        1/20/10 10:44 PM
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        Frayde

        Electroconvulsive therapy was never recommended. I would like to hear from others who have undergone ect and what the outcome was like.

        Right now my daughter is on 30 mg abilify plus effexor xr, etc and she is very tired all the time again. The voices are still there.

        I have ordered the book you recommended and look forward to reading it.

        Thanks

        Sarah


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        Sarah
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        2/4/10 9:50 PM
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        Hi Dr. Lippa

        We are wondering how we can tell if the Abilify is working. My daughter had the last two peaceful nights this week with no voices at all the first night and very, very low voices last night.

        My daughter would like to take enteric coated Omega 3. Would you know if there is a specific ratio of EPA : DHA?

        I hope this keeps up.

        Sarah


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        Edited: 2/4/10 at 9:51 PM by Sarah
         
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        Sarah
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        2/7/10 11:19 PM
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        Hi Frayde,

        I just finished reading the book you recommended. Indeed it is a bestseller and very good reading but to tell you the truth, I was disappointed. Disappointed that Elyn had to go through so much psychosis before she realized that she has to take medication for life. It is true that she worked very hard to get to where she wanted to be in life but I was expecting there to be a better ending to this story. i.e. I would have liked to hear that medication helps totally without all those side effects.

        Take Care

        Sarah


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        Daven to Hashem - He always listens to you!

        Edited: 2/7/10 at 11:21 PM by Sarah
         
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        Sarah
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        2/28/10 5:35 PM
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        Hi Everyone

        HAPPY PURIM to all.

        In yesterday's newspaper there was a front page article on Micronutrients helping most mental illnesses. Here is the link:
        http://www.montrealgazette.com/search/search.html?q=Revolution+or+False+Hope%3F
        Here is the article.
        Micronutrients: Revolution or false hope?
        Micronutrients show promise for mood disorders

        The way we see and treat mental illness is being challenged by studies showing micronutrients have promise as treatment for mood disorders
        By ALBERT NERENBERG, FreelanceFebruary 27, 2010
        Tony Stephan's life was coming unglued.

        In 1994, the 40-year-old engineer from Cardston, Alta., thought his 210-pound teenage son might kill him.

        Joseph, 15, had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and although medicated had violent mood swings. Once a gentle giant of a kid, he would explode into violent rages.

        "He assaulted my wife. We were all afraid for our lives," Stephan said in an interview. "My son was insane."

        But that was just the half of it. Severe bipolar disorder runs in the family.

        Stephan's wife, Deborah, and daughter Autumn Stringam, 22, had also been diagnosed with the condition. Autumn hallucinated and saw "demons" coming out of a hole in her chest. Then one day, Deborah committed suicide, asphyxiating herself in the family van in a provincial park.

        Stephan was losing it. He had just buried his wife. It seemed to him his son and daughter were next. What he did to apparently save his kids - taking them off their medications and giving them micronutrients (concentrated daily doses of a vitamin and mineral formula) - is now being heralded as either a scam or a revolution.

        Stephan is not a doctor or a scientist, but a new wave of international research suggests this "regular guy" from rural Alberta could be part of a significant breakthrough in the way we see and treat mental illnesses. Stephan claims mental illnesses may not be life-long conditions but potentially treatable nutritional issues. But Health Canada, some doctors and some mental health experts have disagreed, warning against Stephan's micronutrient approach.

        Micronutrients sound like something out of a Hollywood script: A "cure" for terrible diseases discovered by the families of those suffering with the illnesses, not medical professionals. That remarkable claim is getting support from preliminary studies at universities in Canada, the U.S. and New Zealand.

        Taking risks with medication is naturally dangerous and worthy of extreme caution and this story does not suggest people with mental illnesses stop taking prescribed medication. But a new approach may be on the horizon and with the announcement of a major clinical trial of treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder with micronutrients, it's time to take a look at the bigger picture.

        Studies at three major universities have now concluded the micronutrient approach to mood disorders merits serious examination. Results of preliminary research into treating people suffering from ADHD with the Canadian treatment approach, reported in January at the University of Canterbury, caused a stir in New Zealand.

        "People ... made 'remarkable' improvements by taking a daily dose of nutritional supplements rather than conventional medicines, a trial has found," an Auckland newspaper reported.

        Now, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study - the accepted standard for testing new treatments - is taking place in New Zealand, testing Stephan's treatment on people with ADHD. (In such a clinical trial, neither the patients nor the researchers know who is getting a placebo and who is getting the treatment, so the results aren't tainted by expectations.)

        - - -

        "The normalization of the mentally ill via nutrient supplementation would be the most significant breakthrough in the field of mental illness since the beginning of time," states Bonnie Kaplan - a professor in the faculty of medicine at University of Calgary who has conducted research into Stephan's micronutrient treatment - in conference materials for Micronutrients for Mental Health, held in San Francisco in December.

        Kaplan co-authored a study with New York University economics Professor Dermot Gately, published in November 2009, examining 358 adults with bipolar disorder who were using Stephan's approach. The study showed that symptoms of bipolar disorder were "45-per-cent lower after six months" of taking micronutrients, according to their report in the journal Clinical Medicine: Psychiatry. This involved daily doses of vitamins and minerals that could be sourced from almost any drugstore.

        Although this treatment originated in Canada, other countries might be in the process of legitimizing it. But at home, Stephan has been shut down and called a fraud, a charlatan, and even accused of exploiting the horrors of his family ordeal for profit, he says.

        "There was a lot of excitement about this stuff when it first came out," said Bill Ashdown, vice-president and founder of the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, an advocacy group. But Ashdown notes sufferers of mental illnesses and their families have frequently been let down by "exciting new treatments." Could this be different?

        After looking at copies, sent to him by The Gazette, of some University of Calgary and Canterbury studies done over the past decade that show Stephan's micronutrient approach has promise, Ashdown said he liked what he saw so far.

        "The more I looked at the studies, the more encouraged I am. It's obvious this is a whole area that needs further study."

        Stephan claims that today 60,000 people worldwide are using his treatment and "80 per cent have lives that have returned to some kind of normalcy."

        - - -

        Mental illnesses will be the No. 2 cause of death and disability by 2020, according to the World Health Organization. Along with many common mental illnesses, bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder, is becoming more common. One in every five Canadians will have a mental health problem at some point in their lives and about one per cent will experience bipolar disorder, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

        Although the condition varies greatly, bipolar disorder is generally accompanied by dramatic mood swings often from depressive to manic states, which can come with psychosis, delusions and hallucinations. It is tied to elevated rates of depression and suicide. There is no known cure for bipolar disorder but many have their condition stabilized through medication, traditionally pharmaceutical variations on the mineral lithium.

        - - -

        "My son was on 900 milligrams of lithium a day and was absolutely out of control," said Stephan. His daughter, who was on a mix of pharmaceutical drugs, believed her husband was plotting to murder her.

        Fearing his children were headed for oblivion, Stephan says he found something that saved his kids. What he discovered was outside medical practice, and at first glance sounds totally loony.

        While discussing new carpeting for his church basement, Stephan told his desperate story to David Hardy, an animal feed specialist. Hardy observed Joseph's bipolar condition sounded a bit like ear-and-tail-biting syndrome in pigs. Yes, pigs. Pigs often behave badly, something that can be regulated by changing their diets. Using Hardy's background in feed supplements, the two would then create a human version of a pig nutritional regimen, which they administered to Stephan's children while weaning them off their medication, which had not been effective. The supplement was heavy in micronutrients.

        As opposed to major nutrients like proteins and carbohydrates, micronutrients are the tiny trace amounts of minerals and vitamins that some believe are essential to health and balanced mental function. They include selenium, zinc, chromium, manganese, magnesium and molybdenum among many others. The theory is that people who lack certain micronutrients lose healthy brain function, and may develop mental and mood disorders. Some people simply need them more than others.

        Within about 30 days on a daily high-dosage micronutrient supplement, Joseph's symptoms were gone, Stephan says. Autumn had been in a psychotic state, convinced there was a portal to hell in her chest. After four days of treatment, she says, her hallucinations subsided. Autumn would later write a book about her ordeal, A Promise of Hope, published by HarperCollins in 2007, where she describes waking up after taking the supplements for several days: "I push my arms under the blankets to feel my chest. There is no hole. Just me, in bed with a mid-morning sun on my face."

        - - -

        "New treatments come along all the time," said Professor Hani Iskandar, coordinator of undergraduate medical education in the department of psychiatry at McGill University and a Douglas Hospital clinician and researcher in mood disorders. "It's important to be very cautious."

        New treatments do follow a clear and careful route in the medical world, and Iskandar said the micronutrient approach has yet to gain appropriate credibility.

        But in the U.S., there are now several hundred doctors prescribing micronutrients, says psychiatrist Charles Popper, a clinical associate at McLean Hospital, a Harvard University psychiatric teaching hospital.

        Dr. Scott Shannon treats adults and children with bipolar disorder in Fort Collins, Colo., and is an associate professor in psychiatry at the University of Colorado. He says he now regularly prescribes Stephan's micronutrients to those patients: "It is so much safer and effective, and it's really a shame that it's not more well known."

        Shannon says unlike pharmaceutical medications, which often cause "weight gain and cognitive clouding, the only side effects we get is some soft stools because magnesium, one of the ingredients, is a laxative."

        Shannon said he personally has treated more than 150 patients with mood disorders with the micronutrient approach.

        "I would say 70 to 80 per cent respond robustly," he said. "After two years they often don't need me anymore."

        - - -

        After Stephan's kids returned to "normal," Stephan and Hardy decided to seek scientific validation for their discovery.

        They began by approaching scientists, contacting Kaplan, then director of behavioural research at Alberta Children's Hospital. Kaplan would initially tell a reporter: "I told them to take their snake oil somewhere else."

        But in 1996, Kaplan, on the recommendation of a scientist friend, met with the two men, and they convinced her it at least merited investigation. She tried the micronutrient treatment on people who had not responded well to conventional medication for bipolar disorder, two young boys with mood disorders and explosive tempers. After taking the supplement, Kaplan said, their rages diminished.

        Kaplan was intrigued, and in 2000, began a small open-label clinical trial of 11 bipolar patients who had also not responded to standard medications. After six months, all 11 patients were both less depressed and less manic according to Kaplan's study, which was published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Child Psychopharmacology.

        Kaplan would tell Discovery Channel: "In a word, they got better. It somehow corrects an imbalance that these people are predisposed to have."

        Stephan and Hardy also met with psychiatrist Popper. After testing the Canadians' micronutrient treatment on 22 patients suffering from bipolar disorder, Popper wrote in the December 2001 Journal of Clinical Psychiatry: "What if some patients could be treated with inexpensive vitamins and minerals rather than expensive patented pharmaceuticals?"

        Of his 22 patients, "19 showed what I believe to be a positive response. (2 mild, 7 moderate, 10 marked improvement)," Popper wrote.

        "I'm in full agreement with being skeptical about new wild-eyed claims," he said in a recent interview. "But it's clear that this merits research."

        These results are still considered "anecdotal" by medical research standards, which usually require a major double-blind, placebo-controlled study like the one now under way in New Zealand.

        - - -

        Stephan and Hardy, who happen to be Mormon, in 1996 co-founded Truehope, a religious-sounding Alberta nutritional supplement company, to sell their micronutrient treatment for bipolar disorder, EMPowerplus, which they manufacture in Los Angeles. It's a mixture of vitamins and minerals that sells for about $150 for a month's daily supply. The mixture contained relatively high doses of 34 vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, copper and potassium. Truehope quickly became controversial because of its advice to clients taking EMPowerplus to go off their regular medication, due to possible side effects of overmedication.

        On its website, Truehope claims its products not only help resolve bipolar disorder but also migraines, schizophrenia, depression and other conditions.

        "Yes. It got us into a lot of trouble," with Health Canada, which requires testing of products for which medical claims have been made, said Stephan, who says he believes that most mood disorders may have a nutritional basis. "We had people coming to us with depression who wanted to try our product. When it seemed to work, it was hard to say 'no.' "

        Truehope does suggest that people go off their meds, though with the help of their doctors. The obvious danger of the micronutrient approach occurs when people go off their medication because of it.

        "We try to work with people's doctors when we can. I do believe in science," he said. "But I believe in helping people, too. The mindset about mental illnesses is there's no cure for them and there never will be. I obviously disagree."

        Why would a nutritional supplement, based on one given to pigs, work on human bipolar disorder when medical science can seemingly only manage it?

        Generally speaking, common mental illnesses are seen as life-long conditions. They cannot be cured, but can be treated and sometimes moderated by modern medicine. Nobel Prize winning scientist Linus Pauling had another idea in the late 1960s. He speculated that some people have a stronger genetic-based need for vitamins and minerals than others. He suggested some mental illnesses could simply be results of failing to meet these requirements. Scientists have observed that nutritional deficiency in otherwise healthy people can quickly produce mental issues. Almost anyone will experience mood swings when very hungry.

        - - -

        Back in Calgary in 2001, Kaplan was ready to go to the next stage, and launch a major double-blind study. But in March 2001, Health Canada lowered the boom.

        "We started the study," said Kaplan. "And then I found out the formula had been stopped at the border by Health Canada. Health Canada shut down our trial. They confiscated the formula, raided Truehope's office, and ordered everyone to go off the formula," Kaplan said in an interview.

        Kaplan was floored. She said she had assumed at the very least that checking the effectiveness of the micronutrient approach was a reasonable subject of study.

        For the thousands of people already using the product, there was panic, says Stephan, as fear spread that users would be cut off.

        Tony Rider, a Toronto real-estate agent and bipolar sufferer said in an interview he was so desperate for the supplements he would smuggle them across the border.

        "I used to drive back to Canada with it under the seat of my car," said Rider, who credits micronutrients for his current stable mental health.

        A June 2003 public advisory on Health Canada's website states: "Health Canada is advising consumers not to use EMPowerplus, also known as EM Power+ and EM Power. It is a drug. ...

        "The main concern with Empowerplus is that the product is being promoted for the treatment of serious psychiatric disorders without having undergone the rigorous testing necessary for all drug products."

        Acting, it says, out of concern for the well-being of patients advised to go off their medications, Health Canada alerted the RCMP, which in July 2003 raided the Truehope office in Raymond, Alta. Truehope was charged with violations of the Food and Drug Act, for selling a drug without government approval. In July 2006, a provincial court judge dismissed the charges, ruling the firm had no reasonable legal alternative to selling its EMPowerplus without regulatory approval, accepting the defence's arguments that clients may have become ill or even died without it.

        - - -

        "Why don't they (Stephan and Hardy) just go away?" Dr. Terry Polevoy said in an interview. Polevoy is a pediatrician who operates the Acne Care Clinic in Kitchener and a fervent opponent of Truehope. He runs one of Canada's main anti-quackery websites, Healthwatcher.net, and is incensed at what he sees as Truehope's non-medical approach to treating serious illnesses.

        Polevoy, who claims Truehope is simply a scam preying on the desperation of the mentally ill, co-wrote an online exposé book, titled Pig Pills, Inc., The Anatomy of an Academic and Alternative Health Fraud (2003). Polevoy says Stephan is not a doctor, but he and his staff act like medical professionals dispensing "cures" for mental illnesses for profit.

        "It's dangerous. Because there's no proof and these people aren't scientists."

        Stephan counters that he expected opposition but he was surprised how "ballistic" it was. Not only was he targetted personally and professionally by Polevoy, but anyone who took up research in the micronutrient area was targetted, too.

        The two researchers who originally opened the door to micronutrient research regarding mental illness were both subjected to what they characterize as harassment.

        Polevoy wrote letters to deans and research ethics committees at the University of Calgary attacking Kaplan's research and conducting Access to Information requests for all her documentation. Similar letter campaigns sent to Harvard targetted Charles Popper's work. As a result, both researchers spent months defending their work to academic bodies, they said.

        "We were always exonerated," said Kaplan. "There's never been a charge upheld against any of us."

        Popper characterized the campaign against micronutrient research as "anti-science."

        "Their names were being associated with sales of the product (EMPowerplus)," said Polevoy, explaining why he targetted Kaplan and Popper.

        The Pig Pills author was stunned to hear that New Zealand was now conducting clinical trials with EMPowerplus. "I don't believe it," he said, adding he doubted micronutrients would ever gain legitimacy. "No big drug company is going to study this because there's no money in it - it can't be patented."

        Kaplan has recently moved on to an Alberta government-supported

        $ 5-million study of nutrition and pregnancy, where she leads a 16-member academic team. She said she felt the crux of the furor over EMPowerplus was that the treatment came from regular people, Stephan and Hardy, not the medical community.

        "It infuriates their critics that these people aren't doctors and they're helping people," she said.

        - - -

        David Thomas, a media-relations officer for Health Canada, said although Health Canada allows a version of Truehope's product to be sold in Canada, it still recommends against the use of EMPowerplus.

        "The safety and efficacy of EMPowerplus has not been shown," he said.

        Truehope claims it's caught in a Catch 22. Critics attack the company, saying it doesn't have appropriate research backing its claims, but the same critics have campaigned against that very research even taking place, Stephan says.

        Marvin Ross, a science writer and author of Schizophrenia: Medicine's Mystery - Society's Shame (2008), co-wrote Pig Pills. He says he and Polevoy got interested in the story when they attended an information session staffed by Truehope in Hamilton.

        "They were encouraging people to go off their meds," said Ross.

        In 2007, Health Canada issued another warning about EMPowerplus: "Health Canada has received nine case reports of serious adverse reactions associated with the use of EMPowerplus. ... The worsening of these symptoms could be related to taking the product and discontinuing prescription medications."

        Ross says the numbers of former bipolar sufferers who swear by EMPowerplus does baffle him.

        "I don't explain it because I can't," he says. Ross did speculate that by its nature bipolar is a condition that "waxes and wanes." People who experience a natural improvement in their condition might attribute it to EMPowerplus while it may be coincidence.

        "Take vitamins if you like," he said. "But don't go off your meds. Yes, there are anecdotes about people who have gotten well. But anecdotes don't make science."

        - - -

        Research has taken root at Ohio State University, as well as at New Zealand's University of Canterbury.

        Professor Mary Fristad at Ohio State completed a study in 2009 on Truehope's EMPowerplus, which showed positive results.

        "This report adds to accumulating preliminary evidence that further basic science and clinical studies of micronutrient supplements are warranted," says her study, published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.

        Fristad is now working on finding funding for a full clinical trial of Truehope micronutrients as treatment for bipolar disorder.

        Child psychiatrist Arnold, also at Ohio State, says Canada has missed the boat on this one. "There's been some intemperate claims about nutritional supplements in the past, which may have caused a backlash," he said. "But a lot of good people are on top of this. I think Canada missed the opportunity to be the leader in the area and now other countries are taking over."

        The formal clinical double-blind, placebo-controlled study, treating ADHD with the micronutrient approach, is now in progress at the University of Canterbury under Professor Julia Rucklidge, a former graduate student of Bonnie Kaplan. Rucklidge says she's been inundated with over 500 requests from people who want to be on the study, so they can access the treatment.

        "It's been quite amazing," she said.

        As a Canadian, Rucklidge says, she was baffled by what she called Canada's "crushing" of micronutrient research.

        "To try and shut down a natural line of investigation doesn't make sense," she said in an interview. "Right or wrong, it's in the best interest of everyone to find out."

        albert@elevatorfilms.com

        © Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette



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        Edited: 2/28/10 at 5:47 PM by Sarah
         
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        Lippa
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        Sarah
        Just seen your earlier post. You need at least two or three months to know if aripiprazole is effective at a particular dose, I'm afraid. Hope the signs of improvement in your daughter have continued.
        It seems to be mainly EPA which is important in psychosis, and she would need at least 1 Gm a day of EPA. Do check the dose of EPA very carefully on the label compared with the total dose of Omega-3: in the UK it is easy to make a mistake with this, and find out later that you have been taking only a small amount of EPA.
        sorry to sound cynical about micronutrients, but in 35 years in psychiatry I have read about one 'diet' for schizophrenia after another, they come and go, and people understandably get excited but they all turn out to be no better than placebo. If only...
         
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        Sarah
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        Hi Dr. Lippa

        Thanks for your reply. I have 2 questions.

        1. Re the abilify I quote from their website:
        FULL PRESCRIBING INFORMATION
        2.1 Schizophrenia
        Adults
        Dose Selection: The recommended starting and target dose for ABILIFY is 10 mg/day or 15 mg/day administered on a once-a-day schedule without regard to meals. ABILIFY has been systematically evaluated and shown to be effective in a dose range of 10 mg/day to 30 mg/day, when administered as the tablet formulation; however, doses higher than 10 mg/day or 15 mg/day were not more effective than 10 mg/day or 15 mg/day. Dosage increases should generally not be made before 2 weeks, the time needed to achieve steady-state [see CLINICAL STUDIES (14.1)].

        What do you make of this? Does this mean that 15 mg abilify works just as well as 30 mg? Then why take 30 mg? cost is doubled and side-effects are probably doubled too?

        2. Is there a blood test, to test the level of vitamins and minerals in the body e.g. for niacin, lithium, b6, calcium, zinc, etc. and is the food sensitivity tests that check the blood for Immunoglobulin E and IgG accurate?

        I recently read on www.scduk.co.uk/annie.htm about the scd diet helping schizophrenia patients. I do believe in diets, etc. to help alleviate positive symptoms of schizophrenia if done in combination with anti-psychotic meds.

        Best Wishes
        Sarah


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        Lippa
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        Sarah
        What suits one person will not necessarily suit another. The statement you quoted about doses higher than 15 mg being no more effective applies to the big research studies they use to get the product tested. within those results, there is wide variation between people, so one can only say that on average the 15 mg dose is as effective as higher doses. For individuals a higher - or lower - dose may well be needed.
        There are blood tests for most if not all of the chemicals you mention. I would not advise getting these tests done, as for a person withouit a gastrointestinal disease and with a reasonably normal diet it is difficult to become deficient in any of these. Many clinics will try to convince gullible people that the blood tests show they are short of zinc, magnesium etc, and will then sell them the 'missing' nutrient. Afraid I have become very cynical about this over the years.
        Regards

        Lippa
         
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        Sarah
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        Dear Dr. Lippa

        Thank you for clarifying.

        Take Care

        Sarah


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        Sarah
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        Dear Dr. Lippa

        A happy Pesach to you!

        I would like to have your opinion on the following:

        I would like to know if what I am experiencing with my daughter is a sign of improvement.

        1. She is not so tired as she used to be on the other anti-psychotics.
        2. She is much more talkative. Sometimes she seems to talk out loud the thoughts she has. Is this normal?
        3. She seems to think that I have to comply right away with what she asks of me. When I explain her the next day that she was not being reasonable, she apologizes.
        4. She still hears voices but not when she is occupied outside the home.
        5. Do you think cognitive therapy can help her?
        6. She is talking about marriage for company. Her psychiatrist thinks this could work with help from both families. Have you had any pleasant stories of marriage in people suffering from mental health issues?

        Kol Tuv

        Sarah


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        Edited: 3/31/10 at 9:54 PM by Sarah
         
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        Sarah
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        In the Hamodia newspaper dated December 22, 2010 there is a NutriSpeak article by Eliezer Gruber entitled "Patients with Schizophrenia Have Decreased Levels of Glutathione..." A Conversation with Robert McMullen M.D. Part IV
        He says he uses 4 grams of NAC a day for a patient and has had remarkable outcome.

        We are trying NAC with Hashem's help and hope to report good news soon. I spoke to a specialist today about side-effects of NAC and he reported there are none.



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        channafofanna
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        hows it working?
        hopefully really well!
         
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        Lippa
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        Dear Sarah
        1. She is not so tired as she used to be on the other anti-psychotics.
        this is one of the good things about aripiprazole
        2. She is much more talkative. Sometimes she seems to talk out loud the thoughts she has. Is this normal?
        this is of course not a normal thing to do when in company, and would make her seem odd if people do not know her. It is better for her not to do this except when alone or perhaps with you. In itself it is not a symptom of mental illness.
        3. She seems to think that I have to comply right away with what she asks of me. When I explain her the next day that she was not being reasonable, she apologizes.
        Unfortunately one often sees this in a person who has required care over long periods. Either feed back right away (not next day) or perhaps see a family therapist together. It should only take a few sessions to sort this out.
        4. She still hears voices but not when she is occupied outside the home.
        a big improvement, Boruch Hashem. sometimes when voices do not go completely, the person can still manage to live a normal life.
        5. Do you think cognitive therapy can help her?
        Yes, definitely but it must be with a therapist who is trained and experienced in CBT for psychosis.
        6. She is talking about marriage for company. Her psychiatrist thinks this could work with help from both families. Have you had any pleasant stories of marriage in people suffering from mental health issues?
        Yes I have!
        Chag sameach

        Lippa
         
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        Sarah
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        Dear Dr. Lippa

        A Gutt Moed! My daughter is much, much better on NAC. The pharmacy switched her Effexor XR to the generic one for two months. My daughter has been feeling depressed on the generic medication and we switched back. She had a relapse with trichotillomania - eyebrows just before Pesach. Perhaps she was anxious over her neices and then nephews coming for Yom Tov. She behaved much better this year with her neices, reading stories, playing games, sharing, etc.

        This morning we have an appointment with her social worker to try and sort out her weekly schedule. I think the time has come for her to graduate from her groups to a more meaningful pasttime. She has shown in interest in studying something.

        Please let us have some information about the shidduchim that you know of. My daughter does not want to marry someone with the same illness as herself. I am wondering if you have any ideas in this field?

        Thanks

        Sarah


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        Edited: 4/21/11 at 10:37 AM by Sarah
         
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        Lippa
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        Dear Sarah
        Very pleased to hear that NAC is helping.
        Also good to hear that your daughter is at a stage where she can maybe move more into mixing with people in a normal setting such as studying. Just beware of one thing: concentration is impaired not just by the illness but by the meds too, and by disuse, so it is often best to start studying again with something fairly undemanding of concentration. She could also try to build up her concentration by doing mental exercises, crosswords, sudoko etc, and by attending shiurim.
        I can't supply any details of my patients' shidduchim, for reasons of confidentiality, but I would agree with your daughter that she should not marry someone with the same condition (or closely related such as schizoaffective disorder). The reason is that these conditions are to some extent genetic, ie if two people with this condition have children, the children are at greater risk of developing the condition. The risk of this if she marries someone without the condition is only a little greater than for the general population, so it should not stop her from having children, but many shadchonim think it a good idea to introduce two people with a similar mental illness, presumably so that they can help and understand each other. Your daughter's psychiatrist will be able to go into more detail about genetic risks, as they will know more about the family history and other possible risk factors, so I can't advise on her particular case.
        You should see a lot of nachas from her
        Gut moed
        Lippa
         
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        Sarah
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        Dear Dr. Lippa

        Thank you for your encouraging words. I was in London over Purim and in Manchester just before Purim. It would have been nice to discuss this further with you. At least you go on-line and hopefully others can take advantage of what I have written here.

        It has been one very long episode and hopefully it will reach a good climax in the not too distant future. I was told by the Dr. who told us that NAC is harmless that as my daughter gets better, there will be clashes between us and I do see this. My daughter is seeking independence yet relies on me for the stupidest things.

        I am wondering how it works with shidduchim. Did your patients get set up through shadchanim? I read recently in the Mishpacha magazine that an older yeshiva bochur was redt to good eligible girls and he did not want to disclose his mental illness and declined those that he knew would reject him. He was told to tell a girl about his illness on the third date. What do you think about this? Did your patients meet their beshertes first and then disclose their illness or the other way around?

        Thank you.

        Sarah


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        Lippa
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        Sarah
        Most of my patients do exactly as you mention, ie they wait until the third date to disclose their illness, and that is what I advise. They go through shadchanim, but it is difficult to know whether the shadchan should be told everything or not. Your Rov can advise on that.
        One young man I saw some years ago did not ever disclose, and he is now divorced after the kallah's family found out, when he had a relapse.
        Lippa
         
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        Sarah
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        Dear Dr. Lippa

        I'm not surprised at the divorce. I've heard of many such cases of divorce because of non-disclosure of physical and mental illness. According to Halacha one is not allowed to go into marriage hiding one's illness.

        Is there any new medication on the market?

        Mazel Tov on the Royal Wedding!

        Shavua Tov

        Sarah


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        gad
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        As Dr. Lippa writes, it's a question for a Rav.

        But just to add perspective, here are some things that I heard:

        When it comes to things like this, people usually make a tradeoff. That is, to look for someone who also has a challenge, albeit a different one.

        To tell on the fifth date.

        Even when telling, it can be done in a way that is very brief with few details. It can be done as part of a conversation (as opposed to making a scary statment and proclamation).

        So for example, one can steer the conversation to people who have challenges. And then to say "I also had challenges, and a breakdown in hospital, but Boruch Hashem I am taking the right medication now with the right doctors, and everything's ok."

        When the date asks for details, what happened etc. one can answer, "Part of therapy was to help me forget."

        Hope to hear good news, and you daughter should find a good shidduch soon.

         
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        Sarah
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        Hi Gad

        Just saw your response. Thank you for your Brochos. Gam Lechem.

        I am concerned about my daughter's high dosage of her abilify - 30 mg. She has started to show symptoms of diabetes. Unfortunately all these anti-psychotics have lots of side-effects. I am trying to get her psychiatrist to help her cut down.

        I recently read the book "anatomy of an epidemic" by robert whitaker which explains how bad these meds are. It has been proven that in poor countries such as India which do not medicate people with mental illness, the outcome is so much better. Instead of recovering from the illness it becomes chronic and one is hooked on the medication.

        All it seems to be doing is making the government rich.

        Take Care

        Sarah


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        gad
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        Edited: 9/8/11 at 11:34 PM by gad
         
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        gad
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        Edited: 9/8/11 at 11:34 PM by gad
         
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        gad
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        Thanks for your post.

        Here are two links that argue against the book. Perhaps they will be helpful for you.

        http://carlatpsychiatry.blogspot.com/2011/01/robert-whitakers-anatomy-of-epidemic.html

        http://www.miwatch.org/2011/04/anatomy_of_an_epidemic_by_robe.html


        Maybe you can mention your concerns to the therapist.

        Personally, I think that if medication is not used, the results could be catastrophic G-d forbid. And although there are sometimes side-effects and disappointing outcomes, nevertheless it seems clear that modern medicine, including psychiatry, has been instrumental in saving and enhancing many lives.

        And in general, the Torah tells us to listen to the doctor.

        As for India, it would probably need to be studied in detail to determine the exact cause(s).

        Of course there is always room for improvement. And I think that I read that people are interested in doing studies on this, in order to investigate further.

        Hope to hear good news soon.

        May you and your family have a kesiva vichasima tova for a good and sweet year.
         
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        Sarah
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        Thanks Gad.

        I will look into these links.

        Best wishes for a k'siva v'chasimah Tovah to you and all Klal Yisroel.


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        Sarah
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        It's almost a year since I last posted. This Friday we have an appointment with the psychiatrist who kept my daughter on 30 mg abilify for this length of time. The abilify doesn't work well. My daughter still hears nasty voices. She has put on lots of weight.

        Is there any new anti=psychotics on the market that anyone can recommend?

        Also my daughter is afraid of anything spiritual since she got stuck on saying Brochos in Shacharis for most of the morning. She says she begged Hashem to make her better and then she had this psychosis. What should I be telling her and how should my daughter handle this? The psychiatrist says that my daughter needs exposure therapy.

        Looking for any advise.

        Thanks

        Sarah


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        Lippa
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        Dear Sarah

        So sorry that your daughter has not done better on aripiprazole. She has also taken olanzapine (Zyprexa) and risperidone without success, I think. Maybe it is time to think about clozapine?
        Lippa
         
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        gad
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        Quote

        Originally posted by: Sarah
        Also my daughter is afraid of anything spiritual since she got stuck on saying Brochos in Shacharis for most of the morning. She says she begged Hashem to make her better and then she had this psychosis. What should I be telling her and how should my daughter handle this?

        davening serves two puposes:

        1. we connect to G-d. (the word tefila means connection)

        2. we ask for our needs. but there is no guarantee that we will always get everything we ask for.
        a child constantly asks her parents for things, but she doesn't always get everything she asks for.

        still, it says: posaiach es yodecho, umasbia lichol chai rotzoin - You (G-d) open your hand, and You give every living thing what they want.
        meaning, that eventually G-d will give everyone what they need, and want.
         
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