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-   -   Now for a serious question, are any of you bipolar? (http://www.lowcarbfriends.com/bbs/general-health-medical-issues/794020-now-serious-question-any-you-bipolar.html)

spoiltmomof2 01-08-2013 08:15 PM

Now for a serious question, are any of you bipolar?
I am newly diagnosed and currently in a mixed state. I see my doc again in 2 weeks to start a new mood stabilizer. In the meantime I'm doing my research. I found that if you are on a low carb diet that it can be helpful but that it also can mess with your psych meds. So I have to tell my dr about my diet but what if he disapproves?

My surgeon recommended this way of eating for me but my psych doc is really weird about certain things. What happens if he tells me I shouldn't be doing Atkins? I feel strongly about this and I fully intend to stick to eat.

canadiangirl 01-08-2013 08:59 PM

You need to be straight forward with your psych doctor and tell him your intentions. If he/she is negative about your choice ask for factual reason why you shouldn't eat this way. Research research and more research. Go in there knowing what you are talking about so you can correct any of his "factual' information. Research medications and know if and what may counter act with them. If you can find some info related to both Bipolar and low carb/Atkins print it and bring it along.
Wishing you the best of luck, doctors can be so closed minded at times.

LoriWants2Lose 01-08-2013 09:16 PM

I'm not bipolar, but I slept in a Holiday Inn Express one time. Seriously, though, you're an adult. Don't ask your psychiatrist if you can do low carb, tell him you are doing low carb at the recommendation of your surgeon. If he doesn't like it, there are likely dozens of other psychiatrists in your area. Find one who will respect your wishes and work with you.

Who knows, maybe the diet change will balance your brain chemistry enough that you can greatly reduce or get off the medications. Good luck.

unna 01-09-2013 01:53 AM

Low-carb has done wonders for my moods and depression. I was never diagnosed with bipolar, but I did go through a very long period of life with overwhelming suicidal thoughts. If I were you, I'd follow the surgeon's advice.

Leo41 01-09-2013 02:46 AM

The key phrase to me is 'mess' with meds. There are foods that interact badly with meds, so the OP needs to be open with her psych doctor and then made a decision for herself.

It is silly to take meds if foods may work against them and minimize their effectiveness. For example, I take thyroid hormones, and there can be no calcium within 4 hours of taking those hormones; otherwise I might as well not take them at all. Since I take these hormones (of necessity) throughout the day, I have to be careful with calcium.

A lot depends on what the problem is in terms of the meds and the diet. It's possible that the psych doctor can prescribe to address any issues that are caused by the diet. But that is something to be discussed openly with the doctor.

luvmybabyhead 01-09-2013 06:09 AM

I have very mild Bipolar Type II, so much less "intense" than other types of bipolar. But crazy is as crazy does! :lol:

My doc actually RECOMMENDS avoiding sweets and starches. He doesn't go so far as recommending LC but does recommend limiting empty carbs and other carbage. He is thrilled with my decision to do LC actually.

I am on Lamictal and have never had a problem with my LC WOE messing with them, not at all. I actually am more stable on a LC diet. My BP II is very well controlled in general with meds, but LC helps me in a way that meds have not.

svenskamae 01-09-2013 06:16 AM

I'd suggest that you ask your prescribing psychiatrist if any meds prescribed require you to avoid particular foods. I've taken MAO inhibitors for depression, and I had to avoid wine and cheese (and maybe chocolate and meats with nitrates), to avoid enhanced risk of stroke while on those drugs. But those particular foods could obviously be dropped from a low carb diet.

I've only had to deal with depression, not bipolar disorder, but I find that my mood is much more positive and even when eating lowcarb. I've had good friends who were bipolar, and they were advised to keep their lives as regular as possible--eat regularly, sleep regularly, keep regular hours and follow a routine. I would guess that keeping your blood sugars even on low carb, rather than swinging up and down, could only help you.

janetsbreeze 01-09-2013 06:46 AM

I'm bipolar :)

I do suggest speaking with your dr to see how they feel about a low carb diet. I know that for me, it's not an issue with my dr and I feel much, much better on low carb. There is some science out there that a ketogenic diet (low carb/high fat) can help control some bipolar.

The problem is that many bipolar drugs and a ketogenic diet do not mix, like Topamax(there is fear that it may cause undue stress on the kidneys). I think that if you and your dr monitor that, you should be fine.

But still, talk with your dr. It's not so much a matter of how you feel on this diet, it's a matter of medication interaction.

theLossgirl 01-09-2013 07:10 AM


Originally Posted by spoiltmomof2 (Post 16182285)
I am newly diagnosed and currently in a mixed state. I see my doc again in 2 weeks to start a new mood stabilizer. In the meantime I'm doing my research. I found that if you are on a low carb diet that it can be helpful but that it also can mess with your psych meds.

How so? Since I take antidepressants myself, this is something I should probably look into. Maybe we can share information we discover.

That said, I'm not bipolar, but the depths of my depression have seemed barely survivable at times starting in childhood. The only thing that ever worked (that allowed me to completely not need medication at all) was seriously exercising an hour or so a day, six days a week. Embarrassingly, I am way too lazy to do this now even though I would really like to be completely medicine-free.

But now I take Wellbutrin with a boost of Zoloft to treat major depression with moderate anxiety. It's a combination that has worked well...finally.
I did tell my therapist I do HF/MP/VLC. She was quite supportive. However, I didn't exactly tell my psychiatrist the same thing. I just said that I don't eat sugar. He just said, "I hope that doesn't mean you avoid fruit." Of course he ultimately found out I'm an LCer. And not just that, but ketogenic, but he just went with it. Didn't change the type or dosage of what I am taking at all.

If your doc disagrees with your diet choices, I agree with what other people here have said. Ask him what he recommends and why. Take notes, nod your head, and do the research yourself. Ask him if he can prescribe something that doesn't conflict with a ketogenic diet. Unless you are eating something that is not compatible with whatever you are taking medicinally (poppy seed bagels maybe? :laugh: ), it seems like low carb shouldn't be a problem at all.

Also, BIG question. You are in a self admitted mixed state. Why in the world is your doc making you wait two weeks to start on a mood stabilizer? Please keep us posted. And :hugs: . I know it's so hard, but so happy to see you getting treated.

spoiltmomof2 01-09-2013 07:52 AM

Lossgirl, I'm having to wait because I apparently have a crappy psychiatrist:(

I'm calling him again this morning and if they still can't move my appt up then I'm calling my PCP to see what they can help me with.

The article I read said something about the fact that low carb can reduce the levels of mood stabilizers which can in turn throw you into a deep depression or a state of mania.

ouizoid 01-09-2013 07:56 AM

I'm a clinical psychologist and I have worked in hospitals and had a private practice for many years. I think the mood disorders are much improved by regulation of blood sugars in some way. Additionally, many of the psychotropic medications themselves disturb blood sugar regulation, which can be very problematic for patients. I encourage you to find a way of eating that makes you feel good and stick with it.

hot-in-texas 01-09-2013 09:52 AM

Hi spoiltmom! I am not Bipolar(although my ex would surely disagree with that satement) but I have had lots of dealings with physicians, and being anxious, and not trusting them. I think you should first take a deep breath, and don't assume that the doctor is going to tell you to stop LC. I Know what it's like not to trust a doctor and to think they don't really listen to you-and some of them don't unfortuanately..but right now, give him the benefit of the doubt. Remember that YOU are paying HIM, and so he needs to meet YOUR needs. Therefore, whatever you discuss with him should be a give and take, a conversation between the two of you not just him saying this is how it has to be, and also not just you saying this is how it has to be. Hopefully he will be open to that conversation. And listen to all he has to say. Ask questions for understanding. Then if he says the meds are contraindicated for you, ask him if there is a different med or a different approach, if the LC WOE has helped you to feel better, then be sure he understands that- if he still says absolutely not, then get the prescription and decide what you want to do. And try to keep in mindwhile you are decidint
Try to be as pleasant as possible while you are talking to him because sometimes that helps...
good luck, and come back here and let us know. I wish you the very very best and am sending positive thoughts your way!

grannysmith 01-13-2013 01:15 PM

What are you taking? The antipsychotics like Seroquel and Zyprexa are murder on your metabolism, and make you crave carbs bigtime. I always did fine diet-wise with SSRIs, they tend to drop my appetite, especially at first. If your PDoc is worth his salt, he'll work with you, nobody needs sugar mood swings to go with BPD, and no one needs to gain weight.

Ketosis is calming to the brain, that used to be the only way of stopping seizures way back when, starving a person til they went into ketosis.

Just curious, can you stir up a manic phase with low blood sugar/ and or lack of sleep? Or knock one down with a big bowl of pasta or split pea soup?


MaryMary 01-13-2013 01:47 PM

When I first started in Jan 2001 I was taking 1/2 doz different meds for a variety of symptons one of which was mild bipolar, depression, anxiety and panic attacks. Prior to that my doctor had tried different meds some of which contributed to my weight gain. When I told him what I was doing, he was supportive and said we will keep an eye on the meds. Depakote was the one I was taking for the bipolar. I was in the 12-18 month range of weight loss when I said I don't think I need all these meds. At that point I had lost about 60 lbs and weighed around 315. So we started by reducing the beta blocker first because my pulse was low and it was hard to get it up past 85 with exercise. Every other month we would reduce one of the meds and the first few days in decreasing the amount, I would experience slight heart palpitations. But my doctor was working with me. In 2003 I asked him about Wellbutrin because I had heard it was used to help people quit smoking. I thought it would help with my addiction to food and compulsive overeating. Over time I came off everything except one dose of Wellbutrin in the AM and one dose of Ambien CR at night. I no longer take Depakote, Paxil, Corgard, Ritalin, Xanax and Fiourinal. I am still with the same doctor and he encourages me with my food plan. I drink no alcohol, eat no sugar and no grain, but I do eat protein, lots of fresh veggies and cooked ones, a fruit, herbal and decaf tea and water.

The point of this is -- there is hope. Your doctor will support you or you can find one who will. Be patient. You may lose slower because of the meds. That's okay. It's not a race but a lifetime change one day at a time. It took me 5 years to take off 200+ lbs. Today I can get off the couch without assistance, I work in a job I love, they never knew me as a morbidly obese person, I walk between 2-4 miles a day, wear a size 10 and feel alive! In Feb I turn 65 yrs old. And look forward to the next 30 yrs or more.

spoiltmomof2 01-13-2013 02:14 PM


Originally Posted by grannysmith (Post 16192783)
What are you taking? The antipsychotics like Seroquel and Zyprexa are murder on your metabolism, and make you crave carbs bigtime. I always did fine diet-wise with SSRIs, they tend to drop my appetite, especially at first. If your PDoc is worth his salt, he'll work with you, nobody needs sugar mood swings to go with BPD, and no one needs to gain weight.

Ketosis is calming to the brain, that used to be the only way of stopping seizures way back when, starving a person til they went into ketosis.

Just curious, can you stir up a manic phase with low blood sugar/ and or lack of sleep? Or knock one down with a big bowl of pasta or split pea soup?


Hmm you know, I've never really noticed. I just know that for the most part ketosis calms me and allows me to focus better. I may have to journal my eating and moods and see if I might notice a difference. Could be interesting.

solarpluvia 01-13-2013 03:27 PM

IANAD and this is not medical advice, but I've spent a lot of time taking lots of medications because they couldn't figure out my proper diagnosis. The only mood stabilizer that I know of where diet is especially important is Lithium. And it would probably be bad to start low carb after starting Lithium because low carb effects your electrolites and hydration which is vital in Lithium metabolization. But I don't think Lithium is the usual first choice these days. Lamictal is more likely, or maybe Depakote.

The atypical antipsychotics are also used as mood stabilizers, especially in the short term. Low carb, especially if you are in ketosis, would probably be helpful when taking any of these because as mentioned above they can be terrible on sugar metabolism.

For info on psych meds from smart people who take them, google "crazy meds" for a website that I find honestly useful.

I hope that you find the help you need. You might need to be persistant, and you might need to try a lot of things but if you don't give up something will help you feel better.

mountaingirl30 01-13-2013 04:03 PM

I have Bipolar II, rapid cycling type. Meds never really helped me. They'd dope me enough that I was out of it, but that's not an improvement. A few threw me into mania. And I tried them all. I gained so much weight on Seroquel and Depakote!

I've found for me, keeping my blood sugar stable, having optimal levels of vitamin D, exercise, sunshine, not isolating myself and time management (with plenty of down time) helps alot. Journaling and doing expressive things are helpful, because bottling things up can get ver stressful very quick. Even doing the occasional support group meeting can be helpful in times of stress. I simply don't handle stress well and my threshold is pretty low. It will trigger a swing for sure. So I've had to learn when to say when and sometimes that means making sure I don't take on too many commitments. You too probably have similar triggers that you'll have to learn to cope with. Coping, to me, is far better than taking meds that have side effects worse than the bipolar itself. Winter is hard for me usually because I get so depressed and anxious, but following my own plan and getting on Atkins again has made this one of my best winters in years.

creseis 01-13-2013 04:08 PM

When I told my psych doc that I was doing low carb, and I had done a ton of research on lithium (what I take), proper hydration, and bipolar, he had never heard of the citations I referred to, which are basically in psychology textbooks. He said that.. "Low carb is a fad diet, don't do it." He had nothing to back it up with. My advice is do your own homework, be careful of dehydration. I do find that I am more manic on low carb in general, but the lithium helps with that. FYI, I don't trust any of the newer prescription drugs for bipolar. I was on many of them and a lot of them cause problems with insulin and can actually lead to diabetes. Low carb is definitely better than eating carbs when you're on these meds. I am not a doctor, but I find that I am better informed than my own doctors on the subject of nutrition and exercise.

vanillayo 01-14-2013 02:39 PM

I am bipolar and a lot of the meds I have been on have contributed to weight gain. I gained 70lbs on lithium and around 30 on seroquel. Seroquel used to drive my sugar cravings up really high but now that I'm doing LC those have calmed down a lot. Whenever I go to see my pdoc they always check my blood sugar to make sure the seroquel isn't messing with my BG. I'm also on tegretol and trazadone and can't eat grapefruit.

someonelikeyou 01-14-2013 04:47 PM

Are there any antidepressants that are known for not causing weight gain?

solarpluvia 01-14-2013 06:48 PM

Wellbutrin isn't generally known for causing weight gain, but it is virtually never prescribed for anyone suspected of being bipolar. It can also lower your seizure threshold. Been great for me though. Prozac is also not considered to cause weight gain, but the results can vary.

The one that you want to avoid like the plague is Remeron. It has been known to cause sugar cravings so bad that people have reported literally eating sugar out of the bag. But you usually have to go through a whole lot of other drugs before they give you that one.

Depakote caused me to gain about 30 pounds, started my hair turning gray in my mid-20s, and was just unpleasant. It wasn't until after had all that happen that it was decided that I'm not bipolar, I have ADHD and really bad anxiety.

But I'm not bitter.

MaryMary 01-14-2013 07:09 PM

I agree, wellbutrin does not inrease my feelings to overeat.

creseis 01-15-2013 07:15 AM

oh I take wellbutrin sometimes, I think it's great. My pdoc said that it is often prescribed to help with weightloss. I think it gives me more energy, too. I love that stuff!

MaryMary 01-15-2013 07:50 AM

I just came from a much delayed physical and found out that my doctor has adapted a vegan program 99% of the time. The physical went great, all my numbers were good, and she scheduled the mammogram.

I explained how last year I got into the food again and for 7 weeks ate sugar and grain and gained 32 lbs, panic attacks returned. Within 1-2 weeks after putting away the junk, the panic attacks disappeared. She was happy I see my shrink every two weeks.

It had been 2-1/2 yrs since I saw her last. We are now going to make it an annual ritual.

Key Tones 01-15-2013 09:12 PM

I took care of my biopolar mother for years and have read about diet and biopolar issues.

The one thing that really sticks out for me is that Omega3 supplementation can be extremely helpful. It is more helpful if there is a deficiency. Sometimes a deficiency can mimic bipolar symptoms. There needs to be more studies.

Wellbutrin can make anxiety worse; if you have anxiety it seems a good idea to avoid.

JoLi 01-16-2013 08:54 AM

I'm bipolar 2 also. Have always been able to lose weight on my various meds using Atkins or SBD. I take Lamictal and Geodon as mood stabilizers. I recently quit taking my Wellbutrin to see if I would sleep better. It did not help. I have gained close to thirty pounds since I quit taking it 3 months ago. I've also become more depressed so I'm sure I will be restarting it after I see my psych doc.

greybb1 01-16-2013 01:02 PM

I've been diagnosed at bi-polar for the last 12 years (depression before that) and the first thing I want to say is don't listen to anecdotal advice, get a Dr. that you can trust and listen to their advice. It's hard to find a Dr. you can trust, but there is one out there. You just have to find them. It is important to be totally honest with them, especially regarding what and how you eat, how much alcohol you drink and if you take recreational drugs. They won't be turning you in to the police. LOL They just need to know because they are prescribing powerful drugs.

Also, get the results from your last physical, especially blood work, and either have it sent to your psyc doc or bring them with you. Some drugs can cause changes in blood sugar and your doctor will need a baseline.

Bi-polar is not a one size fits all illness and the course of treatment is based on the individual. Not only that, it always seems like once I find a good combination, it soon stops working for me. :( Here's what I take now.

Bupropion XL 400mg (Wellbutrin) for depressions & concentration
Lamotriging 200mg (Lamictal) for mood stabilization
Sertraline 100mg (Zoloft) for depression

I also have:
Clonazepam 0.5mg (Klonopin) prn when I have an anxiety attack
Zolpidem 10mg (Ambien) for when I can't sleep. A bi-polar person HAS to get their sleep! No sleep can trigger a manic episode.

My doctor knows I'm on a low carb diet and he's happy I've been losing weight. I seriously doubt that your phyc doc will have an opinion about it unless it has an affect on the type of medication you are taking.

BTW, mixed states are the WORST! Back when I had them I wanted to cry, laugh, spend money, have sex and hurt someone all at the same time. lol

gabby169kitty 01-20-2013 03:14 AM

I was going to start a thread like this but found this one first.

I have bipolar type 2, anxiety, an impulse control disorder and others depending on who you talk to. I can cycle multiple times in a day or I've been suicidally depressed for 2+ years. Currently I am on the hypomanic side of things, which is odd because it is mid-winter and I am usually depressed this time of the year. I am on 300 mg of Lamictal, 375 mg of Effexor XR, 1 mg of Ativan and then I take 7.5 mg of Remeron for sleep. I see my therapist every 2 weeks and have an in-home person who comes once a week. I am lucky because I have a pdoc who would rather have someone change their diet and exercise more before she made a med change. My family doc is the same way and she was the one who told me to

erinmarie 09-29-2013 01:58 PM

Resurrecting this thread... I have just read a couple scholarly articles that suggest a diet composed of 60-80% fat with the remainder speed equally between proton and carbs can control both epilepsy and bipolar effectively. Incidentally, my moods have been stable ever since beginning LC. The two exceptions involved the consumption of excess carbs- and not a whole lot- but enough combined with alcohol. As simple as a breaded chicken strip full carb beer and a couple fries. Weird, but I have found enough science on the subject to understand this. Not sure how living on such a strict ketogenic diet is sustainable- though there is suggestion following Atkins alleviates symptoms as well. Just less effectively. Sigh. I'm feeling run down and was ready to start adding a few carbs back in . Guess not

Debbi 09-29-2013 07:57 PM

Hubby is bipolar/schizophrenic (not paranoid). Diet does not help or hurt him but being on regular meds is important. It has taken literally YEARS to get him on the right combo and to convince him to take them regularly. I used to make them and then give them to him and watch him swallow them - like a child. But that's what it took. Now he makes them and takes them regularly himself. He is very mellow now - no high highs and no low lows. Just kind of even - I'll take it, it is such a better life for all of us!! Meds that have worked for him: Lithium time released; Invega; Prozac; Seroquel. He also gets migraines so he takes topomax for that. It's a lot of pills but this combo has worked well for him. I believe a less carby and fried diet would definitely benefit him as far as the migraines go but he is 63 and retired and likes to go out to eat lunch every day. He loves fried shrimp, fried chicken, fried fish etc.....

Hope you continue doing well and find what works best for you!

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