Oct 22, 2015
While treatment of mental illness often involves a variety of treatment considerations, many natural supplements offer extensive treatment benefits. Supplements help regulate mood and affect and prevent the characteristic “highs” and “lows” many individuals with mental illness experience. Additionally, these supplements help eliminate harmful toxins in the body that may be contributing to illness.
What Is Mental Illness?
Mental illness is a term used to refer to a number of disorders that involve mental health. Disorders associated with mental illness typically include those that affect the mood, thinking and behavior of an individual. Several mental illnesses have been identified including anxiety disorder, depression, schizophrenia, eating disorders and specific addictive behaviors.
While specific mental illnesses manifest in different ways, many of these issues share similar traits. Common symptoms of mental illness include a pervasive feeling of sadness, confused thinking, excessive fear or worry, extreme changes in mood, tiredness or low energy, detachment, feelings of guilt, substance abuse and excessive anger. The causes of mental illness vary as well but typically include genetics, environmental exposures, negative life experiences and brain chemistry.
Natural Treatment of Mental Health Conditions
While lifestyle changes and cognitive therapy are often effective treatments of mental illness, many conditions require additional treatments. Common supplements including fish oil, magnesium and melatonin help balance the brain and nervous system, treating mental health conditions naturally.
Fish oil is a nutrient rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. These fats balance the serotonin levels, which also helps regulate an individual’s natural affect. Fish oil also helps support brain health.
A vital nutrient, magnesium plays a role in nearly 300 chemical processes in the body. A deficiency of magnesium in the body can be related to high levels of stress and poor mental affect. Using magnesium as a supplement supports mental health and treats a variety of mental illnesses.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that aids in the regulation of sleep. Used as a supplement, melatonin delivers a vital dose of mental health support. Aiding in sleep, melatonin also helps prevent sleep-induced issues.
While diet or nutrient deficiency is usually only one element of mental illness, the appropriate supplemental support offers relief and treatment of many conditions. Fish oil, magnesium and melatonin are three vital nutrients for maintaining mental health and wellness.
Remedies for Mental Illness
I'm very proud of any person with bipolar who is able to manage their symptoms, highs or lows. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2007. To say I have been to and back from hell is an understatement. I usually never post anything after an article (I was here doing research for a book), but I feel like I have to say something. Again, if something is working for you, I am very happy for you and hope that the benefits continue.
However, bipolar disorder is a disease of the brain. It has been traced down to a gene. If you have bipolar disorder you need to be carefully monitored by a doctor, preferably one that specializes in mental health. Regular therapy, even when feeling well, is also something you should do. This disorder can not be managed by supplements alone. There will be a lot of people that disagree. I've met people who believe bipolar disorder can be managed with "mind over matter."
It can not, no more than it can be by Fish Oil and Magnesium. Even if you don't wish to take a prescription medication, you should be in the care of a physician. It is simply, and frankly, to dangerous to think you can handle this all by yourself. People with bipolar disorder can be stable for years and then suffer a trigger and fall into a manic or depressive state that could be devastating.
Even though it is a mental illness (and it is a disease, not a state of mind), it still needs to be considered as though it was a physical illness. Strep throat must be treated with antibiotics, but natural, organic teas work great to alleviate the symptoms. Please consider your own health as well as the health of the people that love you before you decide to lump yourself into a category (a small one at that) of people who find supplements enough. That is all they are, helpful. They are not a long term solutions.
I hope the best for all of you.
I've had sleep problems for as long as I can remember and it doesn't help that I'm also bipolar. I've tried everything from mind tricks and herbal remedies to over the counter pills but one thing I found that seems to work like a charm is half a cup of chamomile tea mixed with half a cup of milk. The drink should be warm, not hot, so what I do is make cup of the tea by heating it in the microwave for about 2 minutes and then adding the milk afterwards allowing the tea to heat the milk. After drinking it, I'm asleep within half an hour.
My hot water tank malfunctioned recently so I had to take cold showers. At first I dreaded the idea but have since found that tepid showers invigorate my spirit and lighten my mood. I'm bipolar and have crushing depressive episodes. Believe me when I say that I feel my cold showers mitigate the effects of my dark moods and project a feeling of well being and joy throughout my whole body and mind!
Replied by Coldwater
West Park, Fl
Posted by RAquelle (Auckland, New Zealand) on 12/04/2007
I have heard very good things about fish oils! A woman who was severly Bi polar , would go into dillusional lapses for weeks and upon taking fish oils whe has now not suffered these for 2 years now. I also have suffered mood swings ....I link with brain chemical balances (not necessarely Bi-polar) .........I feel 3 Capsules have balanced my mood very nicely. Also I find cutting out suger and white flour also helps. Remember because of what we eat etc..... the stresses in our life are given power in a way , because we get trigger easily. we all deserve lovely lifes and are entitled , and because we have strayed a distance from the natural foods that we used to consume..we have to return and relearn how to be healthy. = )
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Posted by Monique (San Diego, California) on 08/07/2008
My husband has bipolar disorder, mostly manic. He has been taking GABA (amino acid), about 3 or 4 per day, which really helps. He also takes lithium aspartate, about 5 per day, 5 mg. each. Both of these are found at our local health store. These are both calming for him, provided he takes enough. If he escalates into mania, he takes a little more GABA daily, until balanced again.
Posted by Taylor (Chicago, Il) on 09/30/2010
I haven't found any food/substance that helps with my bipolar, but a recent lifestyle change has really helped me. My doctor suggested I track my moods daily, which I do, and it helps me notice patterns and when to expect my ups and downs. Each day, write down a description of how you felt and rate your mood, from -10 being the most depressed you've ever felt, to 10 being the most manic you've ever felt. Also, record how much you slept that night, if you drank alcohol or consumed other drugs, and if you had any suicidal thoughts (no mater how fleeting- as we bipolars know, suicidal thoughts can often be... For lack of a better word... Casual, not of much concern. What matters is that your mind for whatever reason thought about suicide, no matter how severe). Keeping track like this has really helped me. Oh ya: THERAPY. It rocks. Cognitive-Behavioral therapy is ok, but I suggest using that therapy in combination with another. CBT can be difficult for bipolar people because we think abstract. Look for a therapist who's been trained in more than just cognitive behavioral. In therapy sessions, it's vitally important to tell the truth. If you are guarded and afraid you'll cry, tell your therapist, and work out a way to communicate; maybe write letters and bring them into therapy. Insist that you just can't tell the truth in normal conversation and you need to find another way. Art therapy is also great; However, I think that therapy should be more that just art therapy. I think art therapy should be used in combination with talk therapy. Also, don't be afraid to tell your therapist that you think they're wrong, or that what their saying isn't helping. They're not perfect, and you need to work as a team. Also, don't be afraid to switch therapists. Trust your gut. Also, I stumbled across an article called The 7Habits of the Highly Productive Bipolar. I've started to follow these more rigidly and it's helping a lot. Exercise and Sleep make a big difference.
-Eat a proper diet
-Incorporate Scheduled Relaxation time into your life
-Have a morning and evening routine
-Learn to be organized
-Don't take yourself too seriously
I have also found that marijuana kicks me into mania. I was in denial for a while because I like smoking and mania can be really fun, inspiring and significant, but weed induced manic episodes ultimately threw off my routine too much and put me behind in the more important things in life. So, rule of thumb... Be wary of the weed. Its ok once in a while, but the mania can last well past the few hours after smoking. It's kept me up all night and into the morning through the next day. In college, it can often be normal to be smoking 1, 2, 3 times a week- that just doesn't work if it makes you manic. Cut back. Once a month. Once every three weeks.
You get the picture. When slipping into a manic episode, I have found the following tips helpful:
-do not write emails, send letters, leave comments online, or call someone you normally wouldn't call because what you'll end up writing/saying is likely to be unusual, and you will regret it once you come down. If you really want to communicate, write it down, save it for later when you cool down. -don't spend money. Don't go near a store, don't look at any online shopping sites. -stay off the internet, in general
-don't go to bars/parties, and do not have sex with anyone that you're not currently in a sexual relationship with. Just go masturbate if the horny takes over. -be wary of driving, cooking, lighting candles, operating machinery... Anything that could burn down your house, cause an accident, etc. Mania leaves you pretty absent-minded. -occupy yourself with doing something you like! Don't fight the episode and try to function normally through it. Take a deep breath, admit that your manic, then go make some art, dance, sing, hang out with a friend, workout, listen to music/audiobook, etc. Similar tips for if you're depressed. Make sure to call a friend for help if you need it. If you're feeling suicidal, call a friend for suicide watch. They can just hang out at your place/you go to theirs and chill. They just need to keep an eye on you is all. I also find that taking a really hot shower or burying myself in lots of blankets and overheating can help quell the depression, like literally sweating it out. I'm considering eating a decent amount of cyanne pepper next time I'm depressed- seeing as it heats and stimulates- to bounce out of depression I feel like one needs some kind of a kick. It's probably a good idea to pick a few friends you can count on and tell them about your condition and how to handle it if you come asking for help. And something many readers might not agree with:
-Take your medication as prescribed
Now I know, no one wants to be taking pharmaceutical mind control drugs- eek!! BUT... I find that with the right medicine, taking a pill can make life a lot less stressful, traumatic, hectic, wild, depressing... Etc. I don't plan to stay on my medicine indefinitely, but I consider medicine a valuable tool to help keep you stable as you learn life skills and find a living situation that works for when you go unmedicated. I view it as the lesser of two evils. Medicine helped clear my mind, helped me in therapy to work out all the demons my mind was plagued with from years of my body kicking me with depressed phases. (self confidence, self hatred, negative attitude, etc. )
BUT.. Its very important to find the RIGHT medicine. Thats where tracking the mood becomes vital. I went through a roulette of antidepressants, anti anxiety and add drugs because I didn't have a clear picture of my own situation. Bipolar people, as a rule of thumb, are NOT supposed to take antidepressants. You can get away with a mix of a mood stabilizer and an antidepressant, but if you don't have a mood stabilizer, the antidepressant can kick you into a crazed, off the charts manic episode. Which happened to me. Not to mention that starting the antidepressant can make you uber depressed and suicidal too. Bottom line: track your moods, be wary of ANYTHING other than a mood stabilizer. ***
Love to all the bipolars out there- they say it's a "disorder", but no one has the right to label you in any way. So forget the negativity. Accept yourself and appreciate the fact that most of the general population will never know the depth of emotion that we do. For all the depression we suffer, a good day means more to us than most. For all the mania, we brim with life and energy unlike most. I consider myself blessed.
Replied by Jasmine
Budd Lake, Nj
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Tyler, Tx, Usa
Posted by Doris (Murfreesboro, TN) on 12/05/2007
My son suffered from anxiety and depression after his divorce. I read an article by George Eby about Magnesium Glycinate for depression. I bought my son some of the magnesium and after a few days he started feeling better and talked about having more energy and concentration. He took 800-1000 mgs. for a few days to build it up in his system, then backed down to 400 mgs. The Magnesium Glycinate really changed his life.
Posted by Pete1844 (Kidlington, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom) on 12/02/2010
I suffered with intermittent and sometimes severe psychiatric symptoms for 33 years, and was prescribed psychotropics such as Modecate, Depixol, Carbamazapine, Depacote, Epilim Chrono, Risperdal (Risperidone), Amytriptoline, Quetiapine (Seroquel), Abilify (Aririprazol), etc. The side effects were sometimes severe, suicidal thoughts, sedation, dry mouth, flat emotions, dulled intellect, twitching muscles etc.
After just 3 years of orthomolecular medicine through megavitamin therapy, through studying the books of Dr Abram Hoffer from Amazon, all this mayhem has been swept away. Dr Hoffer's research in Canada in the 1950s has apparently been suppressed for 60 odd years, but seems from my personal experience to hit the nail on the head, whereas the quack remedies of the UK NHS do nothing but mask and suppress the symptoms. My daily dosage from Lamberts Healthcare. Co.Uk is 6000 mgs C, 3000 mgs B3 as niacinamide, 4000 iu of D, 40 micrograms of B5, 2200 mgs of fish oil and a single B-100 complex tablet. As yet not one doctor with any authority over me in the NHS is prepared to even DISCUSS these findings. What's going on? Don't they WANT people to be healthy?
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Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Hampshire, Il, Us
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Posted by Jeremiah (San Diego, California) on 07/19/2009
I have Bipolar Disorder characterized most by Manic episodes. Some are not all that bad; they're just a pain in the ass when I have something to do or someone to meet/people to be around. Anyways, I have noticed that when I can't get to sleep at night because my Seroquel doesn't seem to want to do its job, I take Melatonin, usually at 3 mgs. to start off with, then another 3 mgs., which usually knocks me out.
I have also tried Chamomile Tea with positive effects, but since I suffer from enuresis (bed-wetting), I have had to discontinue, because even if I take my medication for enuresis, I still go, which normally wouldn't happen otherwise.
That is not to say that I don't recommend Chamomile Tea. I would actually highly recommend to anybody, except if you have enuresis, even if you take medication for it.
Replied by Pluto
Posted by Arlene (Findlay, Oh) on 07/16/2007
I have been using extra virgin olive oil (Walmart brand). My psychologist told me about this after studying Native American history. I am bipolar. I have noticed increased metabolism, teeth tightening, weight loss of 12 pounds since starting the oil pulling June 1, 2007. I have so much more energy, teeth seem to be whitening. A clearer mind. The weight loss has been the best for me.
Posted by Garden Girl (Northport, N.Y.) on 11/17/2014
Oral Chelation (for mercury) for Bipolar Disorder
my son has suffered from bipolar I for 4 years. We have tried every kind of doctor imaginable...supplements helped short term and medication makes him suffer severe depression so is not helpful except for acute psychosis. He started oral chelation using DMPS(Andy Cutler Protocol, read Amalgam Illness) and he is doing great in a few short months. He has been hospitalized 9 times in less than 2 years so his disorder was extreme. He has had no episodes...no mania...no voices...no anxiety...no depression. He chelates for 3 days and then off for 3 days(round). With each round he becomes more like his old self. It is a God send. It took me 4 years of research to realize it was mercury poisoning. He has no amalgam fillings but I have a mouthful..mother passes to infant...then his vaccinations and he ate sushi(tuna) every day at college. And WHAM!!!! Started acting stranger and stranger by the day. Now, like his old self. Read the book. Also there is a yahoo group Frequent Dose Chelator Group...they help you through it. You can order all the chelating agents yourself through South Africa. It is a miracle truly. Living Network has all the products....it is extremely important to follow directions. Mercury is dangerous...even detoxing is dangerous. Never have DMPS IV....oral is safe and effective.
Posted by Willow (New York) on 08/20/2011
Hi, I have been reading the comments about mental illness and some people curing themselves with Ortho Molecular medicine.
I have a 10 year old son that is on Risperdal. He has been taking this for 2 years. We just did some blood test and his prolactin levels are very high. This is a direct cause of the medicine and can be a sign that there is a tumor on the pituitary, thyroid problems. If he remains on this drug he will develop breasts and it will lactate. Needless to say I am desperate for help to get him off this medicine.
He suffers from mood disorders and has anger issues. He is brilliant at school (a year ahead) He is not violent at school but can be at home. He says he holds in his anger until he gets home. Anything can make him angry. It is not alway rational.
I wanted to try the Ortho Molecular Method to treat him. However, I do not know the correct dosage of medicine (Niacin etc.. ) to give him. Can anyone suggest anything. We have spent all of our money on expensive drug pushing psychiatrist.
Thanks in advance for your comments, Willow
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Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Downeast, Maine, Usa
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Edison, N.j. Usa
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Posted by Jane (Bloomington, In) on 12/19/2011
I have had anxiety, manic depression, and an array of other mental and emotional disorders and I have been trying different kinds of meds for a long time and, honestly, I have discovered NOTHING like this. Rhodiola has not only given me more energy and skyrocketed my mood, but I has also decreased my appetite, medicating a binge eating disorder that I struggle with and kept my fingers and toes warm and active despite my stuggles with poor circulation. I am so ambitious and I feel like a new person. I don't know what more to say about this magic supplement, other than it reminds me of the effects presented in the movie, LIMITLESS.
Replied by Gean
Posted by Nicholas (Edison, New Jersey, Usa) on 09/03/2011
I was emotionally unstable for 8 years running from one therapist to another getting no results. In 1984 I discovered yoga breathing and by my second session I was HEALED... No more emotionally unstable. This kind of breathing has many different names: rebirthing, conscious breathing, connected breathing, cosmic breathing, vivation, and psychiatrist Stanislav Grof named it holotropic breathwork.
As a yoga breath therapist I have recently healed a young lady of bipolar disorder. My site is www.thespiritualkey.com .
Replied by Silvermist
Downeast, Maine, Usa