(Exercising Your Mind)
On November 8, 2006 in the leading Medical Journal The Lancet– A Danish and American research team identified more than 200 industrial chemicals that may cause many brain disorders in children; much more than is recognized in conventional medicine because of lack of knowledge of the full neurological effects of theses toxins and inadequate regulation.
Referring to them as the “tip of a very large iceberg,” the team noted that some pesticides, solvents and metals are already known to cause neurobehavioral effects at low levels. Exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls[PCBs], lead, methylmercury, arsenic, and toluene during early fetal development may cause brain damage at doses much lower than those affecting adult brain function.
There are many possible contributions to symptoms that are often mis-labeled as mental illnesses and consequently mis-treated, leading to degenerated conditions. Since there are so many diverse possible causes and combinations of possible causes, it is irrational to believe that a xenobiotic, foreign to the body chemical substance will be the solution to the problem.
Nutritional Defects such as Hypoglycemia / extremely-low blood sugar, may produce “Bipolar Disorder” type symptoms, phobias, suicidal ideations, as well “Schizoid” manifestations. Without a Glucose Tolerance Test being performed, this often goes undetected.
Other mental disturbances may arise from naturally or artificially produced ElectroMagnetic fields or waves that also produce physical discomforts. These waves influence the heart’s electrical system, the brain and spinal cord, the magnetite in our cells and other ElectroBioChemicals.
Obesity, which is a type of malnutrition throws in its sickness contribution along with industrial toxins, pharmaceuticals, parasites, chronic dehydration, viruses, bacteria and some street-drugs. For the same reason that synthetic chemicals are not the solution to healing, their presence in food and manufacturing only compound if not directly cause the negative aspects of mental health.
Of greatest importance is the PsychoSocial environment and experience. Love, Understanding, Compassion and Kindness or lack of these may play a more integral part in healing or suffering than any other aspect. Neglect and other types of abuse conditions certainly take their toll on the minds and bodies of many.
Our current diagnostic equipment is either incapable of detecting these causes, or, many times the detectable sources are overlooked by failure to investigate, lack of motivation or insight, or strict adherence to narrow methods of treatment however inadequate they have proven to be.
It is often assumed that because something can not be measured by a standard model, then it does not exist or should not be measured using an innovative approach.
Not knowing what to do should not be taken as a signal to use an ineffective and possibly dangerous treatment. This defies “Primum Nun Nocere” or “First Do No Harm” as sworn by doctors in the Hippocratic Oath. It has been shown that without any invasive methods, procedures or technologies, that a great many people may self heal or heal with companionship, human kindness and compassion.
Peter R. Breggin, a Harvard Trained Psychiatrist known as the “Conscience of Psychiatry” and Author of “Your Drug may be Your Problem”, Talking Back to Prozac, the Anti-Depressant Fact Book, Toxic Psychiatry and others, has demonstrated successfully in his ongoing practice in Ithaca, New York, that therapy, empathy and Love can replace the drugs and PsychoSurgery of today’s conventional biological psychiatry practices.
Through the study of Case Histories, his private practice, available scientific research and correspondence with patients, he has made a good case in Court Litigation on behalf of damaged patients against Prozac, Paxil, Eli-Lilly, and other Big Pharma giants; proving that most psychiatric “treatments” do much more harm than good; there was evidence brought to bear that the Drug Companies “fixed the trials” through payouts. Drug therapies for insomnia, depression and psychosis often leave patients with side effects that exacerbate the problems. Weight gain, permanent parkinsonian-like tics and palsies, metabolic syndromes, toxic psychosis (in previously non-psychotic patients), addiction, violence and death are all documented results.
The danger posed by these drugs is because of the high doses and prolonged exposure. In acute emergency situations they may be very useful, but over time the constant fight for homeostasis that the body is struggling to maintain, often burns out.
My experience has shown me that most of what are labeled “mental illnesses” are transient if not tampered with by xenobiotics. There was a time before biological psychiatry when patients were discharged well at a rate between sixty to eighty percent simply by being given clean quarters, good food, a safe environment, patience and understanding. Electroshock, lobotomies, restraint and tranquilizers have made problems worse and perpetuated them.
There are people who have been prescribed Clonopin for insomnia and became addicted by extended treatment or even psychotic as a result of too-rapid withdrawal. This was the case that one woman named Roberta reported to me while she was seeking refuge with members of a “psychiatry watchdog group“. This also happened to another woman on anti-depressants who’s doctor was probably not familiar with the potential withdrawal reaction. Even the two week gradual withdrawal recommended for many drugs in the Physician’s Desk Reference will result in unfavorable withdrawal complications that may not be seen for up to four weeks later, and then last as long or become permanent.
Many acute withdrawal psychosis are mistaken for the original condition or as a new or developing underlying mental illness. Unfortunately, it is not commonly understood that it was the drug causing the episode, and the person may then be continued on different drugs until one is found that “works”. All too often what is seen as being the new drug’s efficacy is actually the withdrawal of the previously administered drug subsiding, and / or the new drug’s incapacitating sedation. I have been a witness to neuroleptic / antipsychotic drug withdrawal induced psychosis on more than one occasion; thankfully they recovered in about five weeks each incident.
Breggin and others have reported, and I have been witness to; that many people who use a gradual 10 percent tapering program from the medications never need medication ever again. Most of this success in this area is done by people outside of hospitals and without medical supervision though it is best to have a cooperative medical team with diagnostic equipment and other supporting factors.
Another Harvard Graduate, Andrew Weil, M.D. who is also the author of The Natural Mind, Health and Healing, 8 Weeks to Optimum Health, Spontaneous Healing and other titles, suggests that “Healed Compatriots“, or others who have overcome psychiatric illness, are sometimes the best guides to helping those still suffering to find hope and healing in their dilemma.
Weil also feels that psychiatric drugs and most types of other psychiatric treatments and Institutions only “get in the way of healing”. He even boldly states that he believes that “Psychotics“, if properly guided may be “the evolutionary vanguard of our species“. For example, within many indigenous cultures when a person experiences hallucinations, voices or other unexplained phenomenas, they are not restrained, sedated or shocked. These people are regarded as gifted and may be taught to be Shamans or Healers. At the least, they are treated with compassion and are tolerated instead of stigmatized, isolated, controlled or abused.
Biochemical / Nutritional
Human beings have been domesticating crops and livestock since ancient times. One natural effect of having certain nutrients constantly available may be that our bodies begin to scale down the cellular machinery needed to synthesize the nutrients so that these substances become semi-essential.
This is an evolutionary MUTATION. Sometimes, as with vitamin-C or the “essential amino acids” which are found abundantly in many natural foods, our bodies evolutionarily do away with the synthesizing machinery altogether. This is why vitamin-C and many other nutrients are now considered “essential nutrients”, because our bodies have intelligently taken account of how easily we obtain certain substances over time, and modified accordingly.
It is also possible that the environment has changed to a point where adequate amounts are not available. This is true even for organisms that may synthesize some of the nutrient own their own. However, this synthesized amount may still be required to be supplemented by external sources. If the optimum amount required is not met, there may be consequences in the manifestation of developmental, physical and mental dysfunction.
According to the 1968 paper published in the journal Science, by Linus Pauling called Orthomolecular Psychiatry, he cites a paper titled Genetic Control of Biochemical Reactions in Neurospora; Beadle and Tatum(1941).
This research scored the advantages of being rid of the specific nutrient-synthesis machinery to be positive, about as much as 1 percent with a comparable disadvantage of 0.09 (nine hundredths) of 1%. The difference in advantages contrasted intuitively appears insignificant at a mere 0.01 (one-hundredth).
However, liberation of enzymatic machinery for other purposes, decrease in energy requirement and cell size are possible benefits which many mathematical models may not account for. By following the inadequate regimen proposed by the USDA Food Guide Pyramid, a mutant doing away with such bio-equipment may run into many difficulties in cognition and other important functions.
The psychological experience resulting from these problems and many others is being greatly misunderstood and ignored by therapists and scientists.
One way that was once proposed as a way for psychiatrists to experience what psychosis is like and therefore have empathy for patients is the use of LSD-25. This was presented by Humphrey Osmond, M.D., a British Psychiatrist, University of London then working in Canada. Osmond was the Doctor who gave Aldous Huxley his first Hallucinogen. Huxley wrote “The Doors of Perception” about this experience from which the Band “The Doors” derived their name.
Osmond reported that fifty-percent of the subjects that he gave LSD to in the Alcoholics Anonymous Program, never drank alcohol again because they were somehow able to use the experience to kick the addiction. This was corroborated by the co-founder of AA, Bill W. -In addition, a colleague of Humphrey Osmond, whom he worked with in Canada named Abram Hoffer, M.D, Ph.D, also reported success using vitamin B3(Niacin) to treat alcoholics.
These two doctors also discovered that certain breakdown products of particular substances in the body have chemical make-ups that trigger similar reactions as known hallucinogens like LSD, mescaline and peyote, and may act in the body as such. These are metabolites of adrenaline and noradrenaline such as adrenochrome, noradrenochrome and adrenolutein.
Hoffer and Osmond have successfully treated schizophrenia, bipolar and other disorders using mega-doses of vitamin B3, vitamin-C and others. Some research shows that doses of 500-1000mg of niacin can terminate a bad trip on LSD, a synthetic indole, or, enhance the MDMA (ecstasy) experience.
I have personally experienced a calming and leveling effect when using the flush producing niacin or nicotinic acid rather than niacinamide. Osmond and Hoffer have successfully used both, but I have found as they have cautioned, that niacinamide (another type of B3) causes nausea in higher doses.
Tryptophan is a precursor for niacin, the neuro-transmitter serotonin and the neuro-hormone melatonin. Dr. Richard Wurtman of MIT reports that tryptophan shows considerable promise as an antidepressant by itself, and as an “augmenter” of antidepressant drugs. Further indications include chronic pain relief and reduction of impulsive, violent, manic, addictive, obsessive, or compulsive behaviours and disorders.
Carl C. Pfeiffer, M.D., Ph.D. saw “pyroluria” as another disturbance in biochemistry that contributed to many of the diagnoses of mental illness. His studies found that a substance called kryptopyrrol, a byproduct of hemoglobin synthesis, was binding to zinc and vitamin B6 and flushing out these important nutrients with the urine.
This deficiency is linked to ADHD, schizophrenia, autism, alcoholism, bipolar disorder and depression. Within a few weeks of supplemental B6 and zinc, the deficiency clears. Some signs of this are painful knee joints, stretch marks and white spots on the fingernails. (Not to be confused with white lines which may indicate arsenic poisoning).
It has been reported that thirty-percent of schizophrenics suffer from pyroluria. Once again, I have personally observed the supplementation of B6 and zinc not only clear up white-spots and stretch-marks, but a certain type of schizoid dementia in a 20-something year-old woman diagnosed as bipolar I, with schizoaffective disorder.
Our neurons or nerve cells have a head and tail region similar to the shape of sperm with antlers (dendrites). The head is the nerve body and the tail is the axon which sends nerve impulses. As part of the insulation for this sensory impulse system, a fatty substance called myelin is wrapped around the tail / axon.
This gives more velocity and clarity to the nerve impulses traveling along this pathway. The white matter described in the Central Nervous System is made up of these axons and myelin. About twenty-two percent of the brain is made up of this substance. DHA or docosahexaenoic acid is an Essential Fatty-Acid integral to the maintenance of this part of the nervous system.
Udo Erasmus, Ph.D., University of British Columbia, and author of “Fats That Kill, Fats That Heal” et. al. have shown that low levels of DHA cause reduction of brain serotonin levels and have been associated with ADH, alzheimer’s disease, and depression among other diseases, and there is strong evidence that DHA supplementation may be effective in combating such diseases. Humans synthesize very little DHA, but small quantities are made through the consumption of (alpha) α-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid found in hemp (marijuana), chia, flax, and many other seeds and nuts.
Demyelinating diseases such as adreno-leuko dystrophy(ALD) cause the sufferer to behave in outrageous ways that appear bizarre and sometimes violent and demented. Interestingly, ALD is treated successfully with the addition of mono-unsaturated fatty acid extracts from olive oil (oleic acid) and rapeseed oil (erucic acid).
The Founder of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute, John G. Kappas, dedicates a few pages in his many books to hypoglycemia, Abram Hoffer refers to it as Relative Hypoglycemia and the controversial Gary Null, Ph.D, New York State Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, makes reference to this as being a major factor in mental troubles. If you are not aware of how debilitating low blood sugar can be, just reference “insulin shock coma” which is a method psychiatrists used to control mental patients by overdosing them with insulin, leaving them writhing and twitching as their brains starve of their most important fuel.
The benefits of a properly executed regular exercise program are far reaching. Concentration and focus are improved, memory is enhanced, balance, stability and increased ability to cope with demanding circumstances of all types.
Exercise may be used to combat obesity which is a contributing factor to many mental and other health problems; it is used in rehabilitation of injuries, the reduction of high-blood pressure and cholesterol, for sports enhancement and self-defense. When a person’s body is healthy and strong, it is more likely to metabolize nutrients properly and be less affected by stress, anxiety or depression, provided it is properly fueled.
When a person’s resting heart rate, circulation, and respiratory capacity are enhanced through regular physical exercise, one is surely more capable of handling the obstacles thrown in the way in the form of bacteria, viruses, parasites and environmental toxins. Exercise builds confidence in many ways as the body becomes more efficient and movement becomes less strenuous. Anxiety and depression have been overcome with exercise alone, while worry and stress are easily remedied by a regular exercise program.
I have been training fitness and martial arts clients for nine years now and know from observations, testimonials and research, that my clients fare much better after the program of exercise has begun and new health is earned. Many of my clients have completely rid themselves of hypertension medication, anti-depressants, sleep-aids and have renewed professional, social and romantic lives. Personally, I find great joy and confidence in the fact that my 29 year old body is continuing to grow ever more supple and efficient with each new natural enhancement method I use.
Drugs / Herbs(?)
The following are from personal observations, research and experiences.
I have used many readily available herbs such as goldenseal, black walnut and olive leaf for parasite cleansing and general detoxifying. The results in clearing out my system and not feeling dragged down and invaded has produced a very significant improvement in my perspective on life and my mood has been most joyful.
I do not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes and I have experimented heavily with both as well as with marijuana. No good and much illness has come to me being an athlete and bookworm while using spirits and tobacco. In contrast, marijuana has provided much benefit and I am still discovering new ones every day.
Andrew Weil, M.D. has said that Marijuana may be “useful for certain kinds of therapy” in the documentary “The Hemp Revolution.”
another Harvard Grad, Lester Grinspoon, Psychiatrist and Author of Psychiatry, Marijuana as Medicine, Marijuana Revisited, Drug Control in a Free Society and Psychedelic Reflections says not everyone can use marijuana this way, but those who make an effort to do so may learn to use marihuana therapeutically.
I have been self medicating my severe and formerly violent mood-swings successfully, on and usually off for many years using Marijuana. I have not once managed to continue on a self destructive cycle while under the influence of marihuana.
Usually when I eat or smoke cannabis, I become more aware of my surroundings and more able to focus, study, read, write, create music and exercise which are my favorite things to do. I am able to reflect more deeply and use the experience to productively remedy any mishaps I may have caused or feelings I may have hurt.
I have recently read some of Dr. Grinspoon’s work and have noted that he and others have reported successful self-treatment of bipolar and other anxiety related disorders with marijuana. Since then I have collected many anecdotal reports of similar effects.
Interestingly, the anxiety that is reported from the use of cannabis was experienced by me every time I smoked until I got a legal recommendation, suggesting a PsychoSocial component to that undesirable side-effect. it may also be because of the fact that it sometimes raises heart rate, but this is so mild and harmless for the great majority of people it is hardly noticeable.
I have a doctor’s recommendation to use cannabis therapeutically for “chronic osteoarthritic pain” caused by previously broken hand, wrist and ankle bones sustained from fights and contests. Even though I have been able to significantly reduce the pain with proper hydration (drinking more water) and nicotinic acid (vitamin B3), cannabis is a perfect compliment with the added side benefit that my mood is stabilized when need be. Incidentally, I am “high” right now and I have been writing this entry “free-flow” for the past twenty-three minutes without the benefit of notes.
Hyla Cass, M.D., Graduate of the Toronto School of Medicine and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA School of Medicine and author of Natural Highs, 8 Weeks to Vibrant Health, St. John’s Wort, A User’s Guide to Herbal Remedies and other books suggests that many herbal preparations and other supplements from naturally occurring substances not only help to heal mental conditions, but may also be a way to experience inspired states of consciousness safely in place of using caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, sugary snacks and marijuana to get you through the day.
She also utilizes nutrition and other safe, natural and the most benign methods possible; adhering to the Hippocratic Oath of medical doctors: “First Do No Harm“. Dr. Cass is very approachable and will often call or email you back the same day you make contact. She does it herself instead of an assistant!
There are many simple devices such as bio-feedback, gadgets that operate on a similar principle as lie-detectors, which may be connected to an output that renders the input signals into audio clicks or video representations of frequencies and cycles, which may be interpreted and used to guide your emotional reactions to respond as you condition. There are similar devices used all over integrated with computer technology, artificial intelligence and in the form of games useful in relaxation and stress reduction as well.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) uses the electromagnetic induction process of rapidly changing magnetic fields around a subject, to stimulate neurons in the brain in a non-invasive way. Repetitive TMS or rTMS is a very effective tool used in mind mapping and has recently been used in psychiatry to treat anxiety, depression and even hallucinations.
TMS IS NOT ELECTROCONVULSIVE “THERAPY” (ECT) which is a very invasive procedure that may result in cranial and brain infections, prefrontal brain damage and a host of other problems. ECT uses up to 450-volts sent ripping through a subject’s brain.
There are many misunderstood and ignored causes and treatments of acute and chronic mental-health disorders and this is my understanding of some of the problems so far.