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Friday, May 30, 2008

More News on the Bipolar Front: Can It Be Treated With Micro-Nutrients?

This article published last year in Bloomberg.com that I ran across on the Safe Harbor newsgroup recently (a newsgroup dedicated to alternative mental health solutions), indicates once again how disorders such as bipolar may be successfully treated with the use of supplements (micro-nutrients and amino acids, etc.).

J&J, Pfizer Profit on `Juvenile Bipolar Juggernaut' (Update3)
By Rob Waters
Sept. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Sales for children of antipsychotic medicines made by Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca Plc and Pfizer Inc. have exploded, fueled by a 40-fold increase over nine years in the number of children diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

The number of prescriptions for children doubled to 4.4 million between 2003 and 2006, according to data provided to Bloomberg by Wolters Kluwer NV, a drug-tracking company. The sales added to revenue for J&J, the world's largest producer of health supplies; Pfizer, the world's biggest drugmaker; London- based AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. of New York.

The expanded use of bipolar disorder as a pediatric diagnosis has made children the fastest-growing part of the $11.5 billion U.S. market for antipsychotic drugs. Some experts say the treatments are bringing needed help to troubled kids, while others call it a fad that is exposing children to serious risks, including weight gain and diabetes.

Bipolar disorder, once known as manic-depression, used to be seen as a serious, enduring condition that kept adults mired for weeks or months in a deep depression, then sent them flying into a manic phase of similar length. In 1994, researchers began broadening the definition and including children.

Thirteen-Year-Old's Diagnosis

Thirteen-year-old Brian Sherry of Dallas was diagnosed as bipolar in 2005 after becoming manic while taking antidepressants for irritable bowel syndrome and anxiety. Doctors prescribed the antipsychotic drug Geodon and two other pills. The regime would work ``for a few days,'' then stop, Brian says, so doctors kept boosting his dose. His rages grew, as did his weight.

Children 4 and Younger

Growth was most dramatic in the youngest children. Last year, 20,280 prescriptions were written for children ages 4 and younger, a fivefold increase over 2003, Wolters Kluwer said. For 5- to 9-year-olds, prescriptions rose almost sixfold to 710,937.
Psychiatrists studying bipolar disorder in children said its chief hallmark is explosive anger.
``We're not just talking about typical kinds of mood swings that adolescents have,'' says Demitri Papolos, a Connecticut psychiatrist who wrote the popular book ``The Bipolar Child'' and has discussed it in magazine articles and on ABC television's ``20/20.'' ``When they get really depressed or angry, it's really extreme, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.''

Brian's Manic Episode

Brian Sherry, the Dallas 13-year-old, had a manic episode after a school band trip in May 2005 that left him ``talking real fast, unable to control the flood of thoughts coming into his head,'' said his father, Duane Sherry. The Sherrys were contacted through a patient advocacy organization and plan no legal action in connection with Brian's treatment.

Arnold Mech, a psychiatrist in Plano, Texas, diagnosed Brian with bipolar, obsessive-compulsive, social anxiety, generalized anxiety and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders. Mech prescribed Geodon and the Pfizer antidepressant Zoloft, along with Lilly's Strattera, a non-stimulant attention-deficit drug. To counteract the sedating effect of Geodon, he added Cephalon Inc.'s Provigil, a drug that promotes wakefulness.

Over the next seven months, Brian had only fleeting relief from anxious, angry moods and rages, he says. The drugs made him so tired he could barely function, his father says. Duane decided to wean his son off the medicines and start him on a regimen of vitamins and herbal supplements.
Since the switch, Brian says his moods and his relationships with schoolmates are better.

``The biggest thing was it kind of slowed down my thinking process,'' he says. On the medications, ``I would make very rash decisions and get in trouble at school. When you slow down and think things through more rationally, it really helps.''

Bipolar Underdiagnosed

Mech, citing patient confidentiality, declined to discuss the Sherry case. He said bipolar disorder has been underdiagnosed in the past and that more doctors, including primary-care physicians, now recognize it.
Read entire article here
Read the blog (Discover and Recover: Discover Alternative Treatments - Recover Optimal Mental and Overall Health) written by Brian's father Duane Sherry here
Read Gianna Kali's bipolar blog (Bipolar Blast: Beyond Meds) here


  1. Thank you for running this piece on our son Brian.

    He has been symptom-free of "bipolar" for over two years - on a natural program - nutrients and herbs.

    I've since put together a website that offers suggestions on alternative methods for achieving mental (and overall) wellness.

    It is non-commercial, and simply a resource site to help people get started on the road to recovery.

    Is recovery from "mental illness" possible?

    You bet it is!
    Don't let anybody tell you otherwise!

    Duane Sherry, M.S., CRC

  2. Hi Duane,

    Yes, I've been reading your posts to the Safe Harbor List, and I've also got your blog up on my sidebar as one of the blogs I read.

    It's wonderful to see how many people are now actively disseminating information about alternative treatments for disorders that continue to be treated chemically by the great majority of physicians and psychiatrists.

    The pity of it all is that there are so few professionals willing to go the alternative route.

    Here in southern Spain, when bipolar or schizophrenic clients walk through my door, I have enormous difficulty finding any kind of support for them of the type you refer to in your writing.

    Nevertheless, thanks to people like you, at the very least they have the possibility of reading about the course others have taken, their difficulties on such a path, their successes, and can then make up their own minds whether they wish to pursue such a course.

    Thanks for commenting!