Can Mental Health Problems Be Permanently Cured?Over the years I’ve worked with some people that had a one-off bouts of mental health problems in their life, a single bout of depression for example or a single episode of psychosis in their 20s perhaps a drug induced psychosis. These people used psychiatric drugs or natural remedies for a number of months or a couple of years and then never saw the problem again in their life. The probably are some statistics available as to how common/uncommon this is but I don’t think the statistics help us much, what I always say to people at the start of treatment is we don’t know whether you’re going to be someone that has this is a one-off or you’re going to be someone is going to require continuous treatment, let’s concentrate right now and is getting you well and then in the future time reveal how it’s going to work out for you.
At the other end of the spectrum are people like me that not only needed treatment to get well but require continuous lifelong treatment to maintain wellness; it’s like being a type I diabetic with monitoring (self-monitoring in my case or monitoring blood glucose levels for the diabetic) and then applying appropriate treatment (natural remedies that act on the brain in my case or insulin for the diabetic) they can live a healthy for life, but if treatment is stopped they could be dead within two months. If I give myself as an example I have bipolar syndrome, now today I’m completely free from mania/hypomania and the depressions and have been so for approaching a decade. To maintain this I swallow about twelve pills with breakfast and twelve pills with dinner (if you’re interested I take taurine, glycine, lithium orotate, NAC cysteine, turmeric, piperine, vitamins C, low-dose aspirin, EGCg, resveratrol, zinc, omega-3-EPA, D3, B6, a B complex, a multimineral, magnesium and occasional lecithin, Rhodiola, ashwagandha, taurine, tryptophan) see: My Mental Health Recovery for more on how I treat my condition.
Now is that a lot of pills well ‘relatively’ compared to most people yes it is a lot of pills but so what, a better question is is it too many pills? And the answer is no, emphatically no it’s not too many pills at exactly the right amount because this number of pills keeps me totally well with this maintenance treatment I have no mania/hypomania, paranoia, agitation/anxiety no mixed states, no depression, good energy, I enjoy my life and can do anything I choose to without restrictions; the most of my life the opposite was true. Furthermore once in my early 30s I stopped all my treatments and was okay for about six weeks then I went briefly manic then imploded into depression walked off into the Welsh countryside climbed over the edge of a cliff sat down on a ledge and try to overcome my fear of falling/death and kill myself. So just like a diabetic with treatment I can be very well without it I can become very ill potentially fatally ill very quickly.
Then there are people in the middle of the spectrum, they treat their condition, get well then decide to discontinue even a basic maintenance regime and after a long while (a few years) get another bout of illness. When these patients come back to see me I always explain that if you kept up a good maintenance regime you would probably never have to come back and see me, then I make the joke that you know I’m self-employed so I’m happy to take your money it’s up to you.
Unfortunately for some people despite using continuous treatment they have not yet managed to find the right balance and still experienced some problems, or the drugs they use to maintain mental health also cause unwanted side effects; my treatments give me no side-effects at all not even swallowing or digesting the pills.
New Hope for a Longer Lasting CureI’ve been treating my condition with natural remedies since the mid 80s and for almost a decade now I’ve been in complete control of my condition; I progressed through different phases. In the first phase I would hardly take any maintenance treatment my problem psychological states would return at full strength about six times a year then I would react quickly and apply aggressive treatment with natural therapies to rebalance my neurotransmitters. Eventually I got so good at doing this I could switch the condition off within a day or two, my best ever time was ten hours from initially going manic on a dancefloor to then imploding into depression and ten hours later being well again.
In the next phase I started to get better at self-monitoring and discovered that I could see a bout of mania/depression coming before it got me and could pre-emptively treat it, with my rapid cycling bipolar condition would try to hijack me six times a year but now I could see the hijacking coming and defend myself so it never got control so to speak. Instead of playing catch up and reacting after I had lost control now I was ahead of the condition and much more in control of it. To start with I had only a few hours warning to start a protective treatment, eventually however I learned to read the early subtle warning signs of my psychological state changing so that eventually I could see I was heading towards episode several days before it would happen which gave me ample time to adjust my prescription and I no longer had to use such aggressive treatment at this stage.
Going beyond Rebalancing NeurotransmittersFinally at the start of 2013 I put together a new treatment approach based on the BDNF hypothesis of mental health problems. I took a stack of remedies to increase my neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to grow new connections) by boosting the production of the brains growth promoting protein BDNF, I also did a brain training exercise to dampen down overactivity in my brain stress responses and followed an anti-inflammation diet. The goal was to intensely increase my neuroplasticity for a few months to repair damaged pathways and structures my brain and literally grow new synapses to ‘carry’ more serotonin and dopamine. It worked fantastically and since then I’ve ceased to have attempted hijacking, at the time of writing this I would have had twenty-four attempted hijacking is by now (six cycles times four years) none, literally no depression/mania/paranoia or any of the other things.
I started using my BDNF/neuroplasticity boosting treatment in my practice in 2013 one year after trialling it on myself and straight out of the box it began to help people regain their mental health and maintain it long-term. I’ll admit I fell straight into the obvious mistake of thinking this treatment would work for almost everyone but I quickly learned when to use it and when to stick with working on the neurotransmitter balance instead, but still it’s great to have a new approach and one that can produce such long-lasting effects. For more information on this treatments the Repairing and Making the Brain Healthy
Please contact me if you’re interested my BDNF/neuroplasticity boosting treatments.
07941 331329 (in the UK)
+44 (7941) 331329 (international)
Going Further to Rewire the BrainThe other thing you can do to make really long-term changes in your mental health is rewiring your brain with meditation and relaxation brain training (MRBT).
A course of just eight weeks of meditation has been shown to have lasting structural changes in the brain although on my MRBT program I recommend at least 40 to 50 hours brain training to obtain significant lasting improvements; to achieve this requires twenty-five minutes of MRBT training a day for at least fifteen weeks.
Specific meditations focus activity in specific regions of the brain and this exercise stimulates growth and change in the wiring and structure of the brain just like doing exercises in the gym develops specific muscles. With focused MRBT we can develop and change the brain in the ways we want, mindfulness meditation for example strengthens the ventral prefrontal cortex which increases the brains ability to automatically switch off anxious thoughts.
Performing MRBT when you are in an anxious or depressed state can be immensely difficult, many people find their mind becomes hijacked by their problem psychological state as soon as they attempt to induce a meditative or deeply relaxed condition; to combat this problem and get things started I’ve developed the technique of preloading natural remedies with serotonin and GABA boosting effects shortly before performing the MRBT exercise, sometimes this is sufficient to enable the person start doing the exercises sometimes it isn’t and you just have to wait until you’re well enough to engage in MRBT exercises to receive their benefit.
Brain scans have shown enlargement and increased activity in people with anxiety, PTSD, OCD and depression; the amygdala is the brains burglar or smoke detector alarm sensing danger and triggering a stress response. When the amygdala becomes overactive or too sensitive it fires unwanted anxious/panic signals into the brain and body. An intensive programme of mindfulness meditation practice has been shown to decrease the size and activity of the amygdala.
For what I call dopamine deficient depression using drugs to get high and alleviate depression I teach kundalini meditations that help person to raise their energy and get a natural high.
Please contact me if you’re interested in either my one-to-one or group meditation and relaxation brain training classes.
07941 331329 (in the UK)
+44 (7941) 331329 (international)
Combining brain training exercises to rewire the brain with remedies that assist the process better resultsMy latest treatment approach is to do a course of intensive MRBT that stimulates neurones to grow new connections whilst at the same time taking a stack of supplements to boost BDNF production and increase neuroplastic changes in the brain. This combination treatment should I believe produce even better and longer lasting changes than either treatment done alone.
See: Meditation for Mental Health Problems.
Chemically Assisted Amygdala Reprogramming Therapy and Exposure Therapy for anxiety, PTSD, and OCDAs already mentioned the amygdala is enlarged and overactive in the brains of many people with mental health problems and mindfulness meditation can diminishes the size and overactivity in the amygdala making mindfulness meditation a useful stand-alone treatment for anxiety spectrum disorders; but the problem can be that the amygdala has become incorrectly programmed or hyper-sensitised to a space backspace specific triggers, you want your smoke alarm to be triggered when it detects smoke but imagine having a smoke alarm that was incorrectly functioning and signalled danger every time you do some cooking, this would be to hyper-sensitive. An incorrectly programmed amygdala may trigger a state of panic at just the thought of germs in OCD or groups with social anxiety or spiders or sounds with PTSD.
The good news is that we can reprogram or retrain the amygdala with exposure therapy. The way I apply this therapy is to initially prepare the brain with a course of mindfulness meditation to strengthen the ventral prefrontal cortex and down regulate overactivity in the amygdala; the ventral PFC is the region of the brain that gives us the ability to control and switch off our fear responses even when we are exposed to negative events or thoughts.
After the preparation phase we can begin the chemically assisted amygdala reprogramming and exposure therapy: an hour or so before the therapy session you preload your brain with antianxiety natural remedies to induce a calm, safe and nonanxious state; then in a deeply relaxed hypnotic state we use our mind to imagine challenging or exposing ourselves to a predetermined manageable challenge or very mild trigger. Chemically assisted therapy has been successfully used on PTSD by the American Marines, they used MDMA or ecstasy I use a legal combination of phenibut, ashwagandha, theanine, taurine, passionflower and 5 HTP or tryptophan instead.
Please contact me if you’re interested in my chemically assisted amygdala reprogramming and exposure therapy.
07941 331329 (in the UK)
+44 (7941) 331329 (international)