Bi-polar Disorder

P. G. writes:

“I ‘lost’ my mind in 1997 after my third child was born. In 1999 I was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was put on lithium and Paxil. For the next two years I lived life from the couch with not enough energy to cook meals or respond to the children’s needs. I cycled every three days and dealt with almost constant horrible suicidal thoughts. There was a constant war going on in my head even though my body was made lethargic by the medications. My weight grew from 123 to 200lbs until March of 2001, when I discovered nutritional therapy.

“Originally I was interested in finding energy to be able to exercise to slow down or stop the weight gain, but to my surprise in addition to the energy I was hoping to find, my mental symptoms disappeared within just a few weeks of supplementing. I was then able to get off the medications that were making me lethargic, causing me to gain weight, and to not be able to care for my children or home.

“I have my life back, and my children have their mother back. For the past 19 months, my mind has been at peace. I’ve been able to work, and to homeschool my children. I have lost 60 of the 80 lbs I gained on medication. I have the energy and mental capability to cook, make and live by a budget, clean my home, cut my grass, and chauffeur the kids to church,  scouts, the library, playgroups, etc. We also have been able to start a family home business which is successful.”

“The manic/depressive state was assessed in 24 subjects who completed two generally accepted psychometric tests. Each patient was provided with either a three gram (3,000 mg) ascorbic acid effervescent tablet or a placebo. In the vitamin C treated group, the severity of the bipolar state was reduced within the first hour and then declined even more rapidly between the second and fourth hours. No change occurred in the placebo subset.”

(From “Antioxidants in Health and Disease: The Big Picture E. Cheraskin, MD, DMD”  (Reprinted with permission of the author and the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine 10: #2, 89-96, Second Quarter, 1995. The full text of this paper is posted at )

“Marion, age 32, consulted me (Abram Hoffer, MD) October 2 because she suffered from chronic fatigue and was unable to cope with recurrent infections. She had been diagnosed bipolar psychosis (manic depressive) and had been on and off lithium for 13 years. When on lithium her mood cycled very rapidly. In mid July she was diagnosed depression and started on an antidepressant which was very helpful. But when I saw her she told me about the voices she had heard in the past, about her paranoia, poor memory and difficulty with concentration. I started her on a dairy free diet with ascorbic acid 1,000 mg after each meal, pyridoxine 250 mg daily, zinc citrate 50 mg daily, selenium 200 mcg daily and a B complex 50′s once daily. By November 18 she was well. She had started to improve about ten days after starting on the program.”

“A man came up to me and greeted me as if he knew me. He told me I had seen him many years earlier. He was well and neatly dressed and buying groceries. He was still taking three grams of niacin which he thought was great and we discussed the best way to take it. This morning I looked up his file. I first saw him in 1976 in the intensive care unit of the psychiatric hospital. He had suffered from mood swings all of his life. His diagnosis was chronic schizophrenia. He was admitted to a chronic mental hospital in 1970 following abuse of amphetamines. After that he was admitted to many hospitals. He suffered from hallucinations, voices and visions, paranoid ideas, mood swings and was often hyperexcitable. He was very depressed. He had been in several fights, I considered him either suicidal or homicidal. He was admitted again in 1977 to another service and was not given any vitamins. Of course he had also been diagnosed bipolar. He drank a lot and used street drugs. After I saw him again I started him on niacin 1 gram after each meal, and ascorbic acid the same dose. I saw him last August 5, 1981. He had been abstinent for 17 days. His response to niacin and ascorbic acid illustrates once more what can be achieved with chronic patients if they continue to remain on these vitamins for many years.”

“A young woman brought her psychotic mother. Her mother was guided by her daughter and walked with her eyes closed. Since 1960 she was been in a mental hospital more than half of the time, and continually since 1990. Her current diagnosis was bipolar psychosis. She had several series of electroconvulsive treatments in the past and was on five different modern drugs currently. But in spite of at least 5 million dollars worth of treatment in the hospital she was just as sick as she had ever been. Her daughter had read Miss Margot Kidder’s account of her recovery ( ) , was inspired and became determined to help her mother. Had she been started on niacin in 1960 she surely would have been well in a few years and her life and that of her family entirely different. She was schizophrenic. I do not accept that bipolar patients hear voices all the time and see visions. This is characteristic of schizophrenia with mood swings. But she could have been labeled schizo-affective and the treatment would have been the same. She represents the best that modern psychiatry can do, and it is not good enough. Unfortunately because she has been sick so long and exposed to the sick atmosphere and attitudes of the chronic mental hospital it will take a long time, perhaps up to ten years or longer. But her daughter was determined she would help no matter how long it took. This case represents the real cost of sloth and inertia in the psychiatric profession. When patients recover, they get jobs and pay income tax. When they are treated with drugs only, they do not.”

(From “Vitamin Therapy for Psychosis,” by Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D., F.R.C.P.S. (Can.) posted at