In article <3556b21f.68727...
@deltanet.com (Daric Priest) writes:
>On Sun, 10 May 1998 23:46:42 -0500, PJ <pja...
>>Has anyone tried St. John's Wort for Bipolar and if so how does/did
>I tried it when I was stranded without my Prozac over the
>holidays. It seemed to help with my depression for a period
>of a month and a half, then it didn't seem to help at all.
>My clinic, which had been monitoring my little experiment,
>told me that they had seen several others realize the same
>result from trying St. John's Wort. Temporary.
>There was a long-time member here, however, who reported
>good, long-term results. Lindsey, you still out there???
Hi everyone. Larry here.
I'm BP2, and I've been taking SJW for about a year now, maybe a little longer
with good results. I know I could have entered into a period of spontaneous
remission anyway, so it's tough to generalize from an experiment with one
subject. Here's my story.
In September 1996, I started to slide heavily into depression. There is a 100%
incidence of bipolar in male family bloodline, and I had already had the Aha!
experience upon reading the diagnostic criteria in the DSM IV, but my family
doctor chose to put me on Prozac, and I started cognitive therapy. I couldn't
handle the way Prozac made me feel, so he switched me to Paxil after about six
weeks. About four weeks later, I was hospitalized after falling into the black
hole of depression. I was activated, couldn't sleep, but depressed as hell.
Suididal ideation (no plan) was a constant visitor. After three weeks they
kicked me out, and again switched meds to Luvox. I started to really hum on
this stuff, and by January 1997, I was in a full-blown manic psychosis. Believe
me, LSD is a far better high.
I stopped taking Luvox, and was put on lithium. They had a little trouble
finding a therapeutic level for me, and in the meantime, I fell back into
depression. When the lithium finally kicked in, it worked, in a manner of
speaking. I wasn't depressed really, just numb. Apathetic. But also, I had
extreme difficulty remembering things, even forgetting what I was saying
half-way through a sentence. I'd be standing in front of the bathroom sink with
my toothbrush in my hand, and I couldn't remember if I was about to brush my
teeth, or just finished. I basically lost my higher cognitive functioning.
After three "experiments" going on and off lithium, I realized that I could not
tolerate it. So, I decided to try SJW, without telling my doctors what I was
I can't remember when this started, but it was April or May last year. Within
four weeks, my family doctor began to remark upon the positive change in my
affect. I was talking in a lucid manner. Once in a while, I was actually
smiling. I just gradually kept getting better, until in July, I could work
again. I've been very gentle with myself over the ensuing months, gradually
taking on more and more responsibility, as stress is a trigger for me. I've had
a few minor setbacks, in the form of rapid-cycling mood swings, but these were
of very short duration (and entirely new to me). But overall, I've just kept
getting better, until today, I'm working full-time, off welfare, and fully
enjoying life (a feeling I cannot recall for a very long time). I've been
monitored along the way by my family doctor and my pdoc (who I told about SJW
fairly early on). I'll take their meds if I need them, but this is the biggest
holiday from symptoms I can recall, and I haven't needed that kind of help yet.
Was it SJW that has had this effect? Who knows. I also have learned to get rest
when I need it, to eat well, to exercise regularly, to self-monitor my mood
state routinely, and adjust accordingly. I've done extensive research into
orthomolecular psychiatry, a branch of medicine that tries to "treat" mental
disorders with nutrition. I take a variety of nutritional supplements that have
been identified as having a psychological impact on depression. Its akin to
fire prevention, rather than putting out the fire, as with conventional
treatment regimes. I know of a BP1 who found SJW to be intolerable, as it
induced mood swings, so this may not be useful for everyone here. But, I also
know of a BP1 who claims to have completely controlled drug-resistant major
mania with the nutritional approach. Again, an experiment with one subject. But
I have formed an hypothesis that the genetic transmission of mood disorders may
involve a sub-clinical malabsorption syndrome that when chronic, expresses
itself in neurotransmitter disruption. Whether it's truly nutrient
malabsorption, or ineffective enzyme synthesis of neurotransmitters, or both, I
have no idea. By why else would nutrient therapy have *any* effect? Just my
Anyway, I still take SJW every day, because it hasn't been shown to be
ineffective, and I have had no side-effects. I won't tinker with what seems to
work. This is *my* story, and as James has said so many times, YBMV.