Yesterday I went to see a doctor who specializes in alternative medicine. After reading Dr. Mark Hyman's book (The Ultramind Solution) I had a good idea of what I needed to do. I was hoping that this doctor could reaffirm the concerns that I had and could help me move forward. He did.
The first thing we talked about was my bipolar medication. I am currently on Wellbutrin XL, Lamictal, and Abilify. My main concern in seeing him was the fact that my pharmacy had told me that the Abilify could cause diabetes. He said the reason for that is because Abilify increases your appetite and causes you to crave sweets and carbs (wow, he was right about that). He also said that Abilify was a very aggressive anti-psychotic and that if my bipolar symptoms were not that severe he wasn't sure whether or not they were necessary. He also said that Wellbutrin is pretty benign and that is probably why I was put on Lamictal because it was not working. The Lamictal then made me really restless and anxious so they put me on Abilify. This is a problem that most people with depression experience. They put you on one med and in order to counter it's side effects they put you on another med and so on and so forth. Before you know it you are taking 5 or 6 different things and not feeling any better. I was there at one point and am fortunate to only be on 3 different things right now. However, there is mounting evidence that anti-depressants don't work and that they usually only make things worse. (Which is why there are suicide warning lables on anti-depressants)
This doctor suggested that I work with my psychiatrist to slowly (and he emphasized slowly) wean myself off the medication. He said that if I quit cold turkey I might feel better at first, but then I would crash and could have a major crisis.
The doctor also mentioned that I should try supplements as I wean myself off the medication. He gave me a plan to follow and said that there was no harm in the supplements he was giving me being mixed with my meds. He said once I was off my meds if I needed more help with the depression then I could try neurofeedback. Neurofeedback and brain mapping, "...uses computerized EEG technology to identify areas of dysfunction in the brain and then trains the brain to correct them." (http://doctorvolpe.com/neurofeedback/) He said there was a lot of evidence towards it's success and it was best to do it when I was off the meds otherwise the results won't be as easy to distinguish.
Another problem I had come to see him about was my constant fatigue. I go to bed early and when I wake up I don't feel rested and a few hours after getting up I feel exhausted. He said that it could be my liver that needs to detox. He gave me a supplement to try and told me that in his experience, and in the experience of many of his colleagues, a lot of physical problems lie in the liver. He said once doctors start paying attention to the liver a lot of problems can me solved. Here is an interesting article written on Dr. Sandra Cabot's website (she is the one who created the supplement he gave me). http://www.liverdoctor.com/index.php?page=liver-detoxification.
So, I will start taking his supplements and see how I feel. He warned me that it might be a process. I might not feel perfect at first because my body will be detoxing a lot of waste and the plan he put together me may not be exactly right for me. So I will keep everyone posted on my progress. Oh and by the way, he also recommended a gluten free, dairy free diet with lots of protein, vegetables and good fats. More on that to come.