Tuesday, October 8, 2013

IV. Bipolar Creativity: Chemistry and Vitamins

Bipolar chemistry may foster creativity.

It may be that the increased brain stimulation in mania (and positive-symptom schizophrenia) helps provide that particular blend of openness, obsession, intensity, and altered perception which fuels creativity (or provides the insights to be expressed during calmer states).

Thus, methylation imbalances, heightened activity of dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, histamine, thyroid, pituitary, etc.; and/or increased receptor sensitivity to such biochemicals may contribute not only to mania or psychosis, but also, creativity.

Perhaps all "creatives" have a little bit of bipolar (or schizophrenia) in them.

Perhaps "creatives" not diagnosed with bipolar or schizophrenia also manifest some of the above chemistry, but possess greater balancing mechanisms--better defense against oxidative stress and toxins, more balanced methylation activity, more accurate metal metabolism, more efficient use of calming nutrients; stabler hormone homeostasis, etc. Or, perhaps, just more optimal intake of supportive nutrients.

Why heal?

Are  extreme moods intrinsic to creativity? Possibly, however, family members, people who have similar genetics but not evident bipolar or schizophrenia, can be particularly creative. On the other hand, studies suggest that bipolar I individuals often begin -- but do not complete -- creative endeavors.
Does one need extremes of irritability, paranoia, isolation, recklessness, and confusion to be creative?

What about a healing approach that nourishes the brain, rather than coercing it, an approach that enables the brain to optimize function with needed nutrients... Consider that the late and great Dr. Abram Hoffer, who had worked with over 10,000 patients, has said something to the effect that people who recover with orthomolecular treatment no longer have the adverse symptoms, but just seem to be more creative that everyone else.

To learn more about nutrient-based approaches, see my books, Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder, and Natural Healing for Schizophrenia, here
Buy at boragebooks.com. and you also get a free educational consult.

Reminder: The information in this blog is presented for educational purposes only, and is not intended for diagnostic or treatment purposes. If you need treatment for mood disorder or any other medical condition, please consult a knowledgeable physician.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

III. Bipolar Biotypes and Creativity

Biotype creative tendencies 

Doctors William Walsh, PhD, (2006, 2007) and Carl C Pfeiffer,  (1987, 1988), who have overseen nutrient-based treatment of approximately 20,000 psych patients each, have noted particular types of creativity associated with biotype.

Histapenia. Artistic or musical interest/creativity. (Pfeiffer 87, 88, Walsh 2006)

Histadelia.  Often perfectionist, competitive, compulsively productive and creative, highly accomplished (Pfeiffer); and frequently excels in science, business, and left brain activity. (Walsh)

Pyroluria. Pfeiffer has stated that pyrolurics are among his most original patients and that many great people were pyroluric, despite the mental anguish and physical deterioration caused by the illness.

For descriptions of these biotypes, corresponding nutrients, and relevance to bipolar, see my book, Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder.
Get a free educational consult (by phone) when you purchase from http://boragebooks.com/orderBooks.html

This is the third in a series on bipolar and creativity.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

II. Creativity / Bipolar Intersections

Temperament, cognitive style, and mood, are notably similar in "creative" individuals and bipolars (perhaps, particularly bipolar IIs). The bipolar syndrome, for example,  involves such creative characteristics as manic love of words, sexual seduction via the arts (poetry, music art, food, fashion, etc.), hypersensitivity to others, etc. (Janza 2004, Akiskal 2005, Fieve 1976, Nettle 2002, Kubie 1961)

Creatives often experience such bipolar traits as:

-- Creative surges and blocks similar to mood swings. (Kubie 1961, Fieve 1976)
-- Sudden change of mood immediately preceding creative periods (in perhaps 50%). (Jamison 1989)
-- Affective temperaments. Cylcothymia. (Nowakowska 2005)
-- Tendency to emotional problems and vulnerability. (Fieve 1976)
-- Emotional flooding; confusing, conflicting passions and ideas; unconventional or restless behavior. (Andreason 1987)
-- Overinclusive thinking, rich associations, or hypomania. (Janza 2004)
-- Reduced sleep, or sudden early waking prior to creative episodes. (Jamison 1989)
-- Unique, unconventional, eccentric, erratic perceptions. (Andreason 1987, Fieve 1976)
-- Ornamental, flamboyant (e.g., wearing red and bright colors). (Akiskal 2005)
-- Tolerance for ambiguity. (Rottenberg 2001)
-- Curiosity, risk taking, adventuresome. (Andreason 1987, Rottenberg 2001)
-- Creativity, novelty-seeking (Nowakowska 2005), impulsivity.  (Akiskal 2005)
-- Eminence, creative achievement, professional instability.  (Akiskal 2005)
-- High energy and activity. (Rottenberg 2001)
-- Excess sociability, frequent moving, different jobs. (Andreason 1987, Fieve 1976)
-- Multiple marriages. (Akiskal 2005)
-- Multiple substance abuse, addiction (Andreason, Akiskal 2005)
-- Comorbidity, irritability, anxiety, neuroticism. (Nowakowska 2005)

Taken mostly from my book, Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder, which see, for extensive info on nutrients, herbs, allergies, toxicity, and health factors. Get a free educational consult (by phone) when you purchase from http://boragebooks.com/orderBooks.html

This is the second in a series on bipolar and creativity. More in the following posts.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I. Creativity and Bipolar

The link to bipolar

A disproportionate number of bipolars (and families) experience heightened creativity, leadership, or spirituality -- more so than the rest of the population. Similarly, mood disorder is particularly common among individuals classically recognized as creative (Janza 2004) and may help inspire and drive the poet, playwright, or musician. (Fieve 1976)

Some of the research

In an extensive review of historical observations, biographies, scientific surveys, and psychiatric evaluations, Janza (2004) found bipolar symptoms more frequent in the "creative." Moreover, during intense creative expression, artists and writers often report hypomanic symptoms (Janza 2004), and most seem to experience a mood/creativity interaction. (Andreason 1987, Fieve 1976)

In a survey of 47 British writers and artists, Kay Jamison, PhD, (1989) found the greatest prevalence of psychiatric conditions in poets, then writers. Half the poets, two-thirds of the playwrights, 20% of biographers, 13% of painters had been treated for depression. 17% of poets had been treated for mania. All poets, novelists, and artists, 88% of playwrights, and 20% of biographers experienced intense creative episodes characterized by enthusiasm, euphoria, high energy, confidence, fast mental associations, and fluid thought. 63% of playwrights had been treated for mood disorder. 38% of the entire group had received treatment for affective illness (a rate six times that of the general population); one third of the group had severe mood swings; one fourth, intense elated mood states, 50% had taken psychiatric medications, 20% had been previously hospitalized, and 90% reported creative highs lasting an average of two weeks (a typical span for manic elation). (Jamison 1989)

Similarly, Andreason (1987) found substantially greater affective illness, particularly bipolar disorder, among 30 writers (teachers at the University of Iowa creative writing workshop) studied over 15 years. 80% had experienced a mood episode (compared to 30% in controls); 37%, major depression (17%  in controls); 30%, alcoholism (7%, controls). Most wrote during normal mood. First degree relatives also showed greater affective disorder and creativity.

In Arnold M Ludwig's biographical survey of 1005 famous persons in the 20th century, rates of psychosis, suicide attempts, mood disorder, drug and alcohol use were two-to three fold greater in writers and artists than in people successful in business, science or public life. Mania and suicide occurred most in poets. Writers and relatives had very high rates of bipolar psychosis.

Taken mostly from my book, Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder, which see, for extensive info on nutrients, herbs, allergies, toxicity, and health factors. Get a free educational consult (by phone) when you purchase from http://boragebooks.com

More on bipolar and creativity in the following posts.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Note: Histapenia series beginning

Just to let you know, I am starting a series of posts on histapenia in my schizophrenia blog: http://naturalhealingforschizophrenia.blogspot.com
The introductory post is dated June 25, and is on Dr. Hoffer's seminal work with niacin and C. Subsequent posts will deal directly with histapenia.
Histapenia is found in approximately 25% of bipolars, but up to 50% of schizophrenics -- which is why I have placed it on the schizophrenia blog.

For a compendium of nutrient-based approaches for bipolar disorder, see my book, Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder.
Available here.
You may also be interested in Natural Healing for Schizophrenia.
Available here.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bipolar nutrient research: Optimizing design

The interaction of nutrients and herbs with human health is as intricate as nature herself and presents multiple challenges to research design. Here we address ourselves specifically to bipolar research.

Important distinctions in biochemistry need to be controlled for

Effects of nutrients on other biological processes which might confound results.
And conversely, effects of individual biochemistry, epigenetics, and health on how nutrients are used.
Discerning relevant subgroups with distinct biochemical requirements and patterns of response.
Whether to use the entire complex of nutrients which work together toward a specific outcome or somehow control for the effects of using single nutrients isolated from that complex.

Sufficiently long studies

Long enough to assess nutrient benefit. Most nutrients and many herbs do not produce dramatic drug-like effects. But improvement tends to compound over the months and years.
And specificially for bipolar:
Most studies are too short to adequately account for the effects of cycling or shifts in cycling patterns.
Info on long-term effectiveness is critical* since treatments usually must be sustained for life (e.g., decades elapsed before it was realized that overuse of antidepressant drugs could trigger mania, increase cycling and worsen long-term outcome).

Moral considerations when studying bipolar

How morally can the researcher set up sufficiently lengthy controlled blinded studies involving nutrients (which are, by definition, critical to health), when he/she believes it likely that lack of those nutrient in controls could increase bipolar severity, possibly with permanent repercussions.

Additional issues specific to bipolar research

Manic participation may be sporadic, or end abruptly, perhaps leaving only people with milder manias in the study.
People commonly do not report hypomania or mania; and researchers can readily mistake hypomania for signs of health.
Bipolar reactions to minor stressors, even the study, can distort results.

Biases favoring pharmaceuticals

Horrobin (2002) points out that 40-60% of subjects typically drop out of six-to-eight-week studies of psychiatric medications, mostly to avoid side effects. So info on drawbacks is lost, and the data is slanted toward positive outcomes.
Effects of drugs, polypharmacy,  and drug withdrawal are not readily teased out from effects of illness. Medication rebounds, for instance, are often construed as bipolar deterioration (e.g., in many early studies, lithium was withdrawn abruptly in controls, a practice now known to promote mania).
The common protocol of comparing a new medication to one already in use presumes a lack of flaws in the original studies -- a notion often not borne out.
The high cost of large double-blinds skew the body of research away from substances like vitamins, which are unlikely to return enough profit to encourage much funding. Abramson (2004), moreover, finds research financed by drug companies is five times more likely (than if funded more impartially) to uphold the company's drug-of-choice.

The value of open naturalistic, longitudinal studies

So while double blinds (with optimal controls) will always have their place, the complexity of factors involved, and the need long studies, have led a number of bipolar researchers (both mainstream and orthomolecular) to increasingly value open, naturalistic, longitudinal studies. Particularly when backed by periodic biochemical tests (and, as relevant, genetic tests), this type of design particularly lends itself to exploring how bipolars fare, long-term, with multiple nutrients, tailored to health, diet, medication, evolving biochemistry, cycling pattern, etc.

For an extensively-referenced compendium of nutrient-based approaches for bipolar disorder, see my book, Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder.
Available here.
You may also be interested in Natural Healing for Schizophrenia.
Available here.

This information is presented for educational purposes only, and is not intended for diagnostic or treatment purposes. If you need treatment for mood disorder or any other medical condition, please consult a knowledgeable physician.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Orthomolecular Psychiatry: Hoffer-Pfeiffer-Walsh Outcomes

Scurvy and pellagra (see previous post) are not the only conditions in which severe mental symptoms are "cured" by vitamins.
Others include:
Wernicke-Korsakoff psychosis, associated with B1 depletion due to chronic alcoholism.
The dementia caused by difficulty absorbing and/or insufficient intake of B12.
The depression associated with lack of vitamin D and sunlight.
The depression of iron, copper, or B6- deficiency anemia.
And so on.

The basis of medical treatment: A period of sufficient intake of respective vitamins to resolve the psychosis / dementia / mood symptoms for almost all patients.

So perhaps we can extrapolate the power of nutrients to address those same symptoms in some of what is now thought of as exclusively psychiatric disorders.

Hoffer-Pfeiffer-Walsh Clinical Outcomes

To support this contention, we can look to the clinical outcomes reported by Drs. Hoffer, Pfeiffer and Walsh. Together, these three giants of orthomolecular psychiatry, treated at least 50,000 patients with severe psychiatric disorder, focusing on nutrients tailored to individual biochemical requirements, and considering, where relevant, metal metabolism, environmental toxins, and confounding health conditions. Outcome for schizophrenia, anxiety, and mood disorders was 75-85% great-improvement or recovery, in the higher range when patients were treated early in the illness. Follow-up was generally one year or longer.
Recovery (defined by Hoffer) meant that people could go back to school or work at comparable level to that at which they left off, and that they again got on reasonably well with the people with whom they associate.
Furthermore, each of approximately 40,000 of these patients were assessed with hundreds of tests of nutrients, enzymes, and health status, which correlated nutrient-induced biotype and other biochemical changes with psychiatric improvement.

ABA Subgroup

Which is not to say people get cured, in the sense that to maintain improvement those vitamins tailored to individual biochemical requirements usually must be taken for life. This is actually advantageous because, unlike most meds: nutrient benefits tend to increase slowly but steadily over time; taking many indicated nutrients tends to compound the benefit; and improved physical health is often a side-effect.
Which may have contributed to a decision by many hundreds of the above patients that they were so well they could go off the nutrients. Almost invariably, they deteriorated, then were started again on the vitamins. These situations produced an ABA (on-off-on) within-subject experimental design bolstered by several factors: (1) Most biochemical parameters (except those being manipulated by the vitamins) were as identical as you are going to get (since it was within patient). (2) During the "off" stage, the deterioration was opposite to subject expectations (which was that they were well). (3) Accompanying labs tracked biotype-related biochemistry as it related to psychiatric status.
So this ABA group produced particularly strong data.
The results for almost all patients were deterioration during B, improvement during both A stages, although slower the second time around. Improvement in biotype biochemistry correlated with psychiatric improvement.

How can anyone ignore these amazing outcomes?

Altogether, we have long-term outcome on tens-of-thousands of individuals, reported from three distinct clinics, with most recovering over time, or improving greatly, and with the degree of recovery largely unheard of in mainstream psychiatry. And this, using nutrients, which, by definition, are essential to life, and which, accurately used and tailored to individual requirements, are not going to cause the heart-rending side effects we see with many psych drugs.
Now add to these outcomes the many thousands of positive studies and clinical results from all other nutrient-oriented physicians and researchers, a fertile body of research, constantly expanded by new insights and findings.
And just possibly, what we as a society will find ourselves moving towards is a way to treat the brain with all due respect to its natural processes.

For an extensively-referenced compendium of nutrient-based approaches for bipolar disorder, see my book, Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder.
Available here.
You may also be interested in Natural Healing for Schizophrenia.
Available here.

This information is presented for educational purposes only, and is not intended for diagnostic or treatment purposes. If you need treatment for mood disorder or any other medical condition, please consult a knowledgeable physician.
Warning: Changes in medication can trigger episodes which are worse than the initial illness. If changes are desired, please consult a knowledgeable doctor. Orthomolecular doctors usually add the new nutrients to the prior drug regimen. They then reduce meds in very gradual steps, and each stage, only when enough improvement on the nutrients allows it. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Power of Nutrients; Edelman article

How important can nutrients be? Can they really do much for severe mental health symptoms? Two old illnesses, whose vitamin cures have been used by modern medicine for the past hundred years, will serve to provide an intuitive glimpse into the potency of nutrients in brain function.

Vitamin C and Scurvy


Consider first, scurvy, the disease of the ancient pirates, a prolific killer of olden-day sailors on long sea voyages. Symptoms included easy bruising, internal bleeding, roughening skin, and wounds which would not heal. Teeth would loosen and fall out. Scurvy also caused profound anxiety and depression, overwhelming fatigue, insomnia and, eventually, in some cases, psychosis. Late stage scurvy often resolves into fever, convulsions, and death.
Scurvy has been known for at least 2000 years, and periodically, people have tried various fresh food cures, only to lose that knowledge in subsequent generations. In the twentieth century, treatment with sources of vitamin C caught on more universally. Sufficient C not only stems the physical changes, but also reverses the often-severe mental symptoms.
Note again: Vitamin C, all by itself reverses the psychosis and mood changes of scurvy! Interestingly, many institutionalized psychiatric patients have vitamin C levels close to that found in people with scurvy.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) and Pellagra 

Secondly, let us look at pellagra, an illness characterized classically by the 4Ds: Dermatitis, Diarrhea, Dementia and Death. That is: various skin and gastrointestinal symptoms, along with increasing weakness and depression, mood instability, aggression, insomnia, confusion eventually resolving into dementia and, in some cases, a schizophrenia-like psychosis.
In the early 1900s, liver, and then, its active ingredient, niacin, was found to cure pellagra. A few hundred mg. of vitamin B3, over several weeks, reversed the unstable mood, the irritability and violent disposition, and the pellagren psychosis.
Since then, orthomolecular psychiatrists have found niacin helpful in many cases of schizophrenia and depression, and critical in up to 90% of cases of paranoid schizophrenia.

If such nutrients can cure the severe mental symptoms of scurvy and pellagra, then perhaps they also have the power to address those same symptoms in psychiatric disorders.

About the author
Eva Edelman is a health researcher and the author of two widely-acclaimed compendiums:
For more info on these books, see http://www.boragebooks.com

NAMI/ Lane County/ Spring 2013 Newsletter

Monday, January 14, 2013

VI.d. Histamine, hyperthyroid, undermethylation

Many histadelics (undermethylated, high histamine and folate individuals) experience overactive thyroid (others, underactive). Possible mechanisms for the elevated thyroid found in some histadelias:

Histamine can increase thyroid hormone. 

Histamine triggers TRH release, increasing thyroid hormones.
The thyroid, in turn, may block histamine degradation and increase sensitivity to histamine, worsening the histadelia.*  (Mariano)
* On the other hand, it can reduce mast cells, and decrease histamine release.

The low NE activity, common in histadelia, can increase thyroid hormones.

Norepinephrine (NE) and thyroid have the same precursor, tyrosine. The relation between NE and thyroid can be reciprocal, with elevated thyroid compensating for decreased NE.  (Swann,

Autoimmune thyroid, which may be due histadelia, can initially cause sporadic hyperthyroidism.

See  VI.b. Autoimmune thyroid, histadelia and glutathione

Note: Thyroid status can also be largely independent of the histadelia.

For a wider view of thyroid, histadelia, and bipolar disorder, you may want to see my book, Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder
                available here.

To contact me, click here.