Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Comments by chris12345

Showing 9 of 9 comments.

  • That is certainly interesting Rossa. I had never heard of Dr. Tomasi. It’s good that there are some things that aren’t prohibitively expensive out there. Even regarding the weird alpha-entraining light therapy device I mentioned above, most of the similar health benefits can probably be had just by spending maybe half an hour in the sun with one’s hat off, it’s just the unique feature of getting the whole brain to enter an alpha rhythm for awhile via pulsed light that that device has (I do have one and have found it useful to me to help me get to sleep without needing quite as much drug for that purpose, but I sincerely doubt it would do anything to stop a manic state for example). I’ve read only a little bit of research papers on neurofeedback and it’s hard to know what’s really legitimate, but a lot of them do seem/allege to identify patterns that show up repeatedly in depressed or “schizophrenic” people. I only know for sure what I feel in my own brain. After dabbling with it (neurofeedback) a couple years now I am able to recognize that yes I can for short some span of time do other things with my brain (when my attention is not totally on some task) besides being stuck in some thought pattern. I wish my brain would just rest at times, but at least now it’s possible for me to just be conscious of different areas of my brain and be aware and control or imagine to some extent how quickly or slowly pockets of neurons are firing and communicating from one part of the brain to another without attaching too much significance to it — just sort of an inventory and gathering oneself of sorts. It’s like a short-lived non-semantic option of being that can break up what would otherwise be some nonstop thought pattern. And also it gives an extra moment to try to get out of some negative thought pattern and decide to do something else or figure out something possibly helpful to do. I’m sure the Buddhist monks are much better at it than I’ll ever be, but I do feel like the neurofeedback has at least given me that so far. Thanks for sharing though Rossa, I’ll make a note to look more into those modalities you mentioned sometime later.

    I used to visit this site a lot like 8 years ago when I first had problems, but haven’t much lately — just saw Eric’s article on neurofeedback and was interested in what he had to say.

  • I’ve been using neurofeedback ocassionally for the last couple years since finding a practitioner who got me set up. I was able to buy my own equipment and software for not too terrible an amount and there’s a company that does a measurement that takes about an hour to do and gives training protocols based on reported diagnoses and the measurements that were done — it’s not QEEG, it’s much less expensive and just measures within-brain variances as opposed to versus-population standards. I think the effects on my state of mind are real (beyond placebo) and can last a couple days when I do it but I doubt it will ever be an instant cure by itself.
    I’m not trying to do a commercial here, but I’ll just mention the company is brain-trainer.com.
    I think there’s probably a lot of things that have to be right first in order for neurofeedback training to work — this company for example makes a point that there are nutritional issues that people sometimes need to get solved before seeing results. I’ve also been seeing a nutritionist/psychiatrist/allergist for a couple years (all one doctor) and it’s been eye-opening how many environmental/nutritional factors may play a role in “altered”/”distressed” states. Unfortunately, the treatment one receives in psychiatric crisis (at least in my case (and I’m lucky)) is to get housed for a week or two, get drugged by people who make money by drugging you, get your insurance billed tens of thousands of dollars for less than ideal treatment and be put on your merry way given zero or very little insight into what may be real causes or solutions to the problem (and of course to go home and find that you’ve been stuck on a drug that promises to knock 25 years off your life (maybe low doses aren’t too bad, don’t really know but so far I’m still needing a very low dose)). I want to get back to the topic of neurofeedback, but before I do I want to say that one thing that helped me a lot on an emotional level was realizing and coming to learn that although the treatment is somewhat worse for people in acute psychosis than other conditions in which medical treatment is given, there is no shortage of medical conditions for which the standard of care is mostly driven by maintaining a lucrative status quo at the expense of the patient.

    Getting back to neurofeedback, I took note of Eric’s comment that previous psychological defenses stopped working. It’s something I’ve had happen before with myself and it may again happen in the future. (Before it gets really bad), my own psychotic states or periods of personal psychological distress are to categorize them: intensely semantic, deeply internally argumentative. I’ve never had a period of distress where there was no thought crossing my mind. Anyway, the supposed thing about neurofeedback training, if it works, is that it can be about the brain on some level before thought or words. In my experience, intense thoughts do show up on neurofeedback as high frequencies (maybe 18-26 hz). The purpose of NF should probably not be to brainwash yourself, but to give yourself a little more control and I’ve been advised that it can take a lot of practice. If you hook a Buddhist monk or an experienced NF trainee up to NF, will it show a stronger alpha rhythm (10 hz) and control of moderate frequencies (6-16 hz) and inhibition of higher undesired frequencies? — if so then I guess it’s trainable and if it can be controlled during an NF session then there should also be control eventually outside of an NF session. Does that solve one’s problem – dunno. Want some other ways to stimulate an alpha (or other) rhythm? Try binaural beats. Again, not doing a commercial just sharing things I’ve found useful: binauralbeatsmeditation.com has well-made tracks for like $10. Want to watch a neat video of an alpha rhythm being stimulated throughout a man’s brain (look at 31:00 to get the idea) :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E63Z37O1UUc
    “Integrating Neurofeedback and Photobiomodulation for Neuropsychiatric Disorders (ISNR 2016)”
    –this is a device you can purchase for personal use if you have the funds

    Sadly, most people with psychiatric problems don’t have ~$5,000 total lying around to try out some of these things that might be useful (and really pose very little risk of harm). Since this site is mostly for people who don’t simply accept a lifetime of drug-maintenance (like me), I feel it’s worth the risk of sharing even if these things aren’t cure-alls and aren’t exactly cheap — if these things do work, a just society would offer these relatively inexpensive things to those who are suffering — that is beyond me, but I’m just offering my own experience.

    Like I mentioned above I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist/nutritionist/allergist who really has devoted much of his life to understanding as best as possible all the factors that may affect “psychiatric” conditions and we’ve worked on a lot of things. It can take a long time to successfully address enough of the many non-drug factors that can impact one’s situation and there are many, but it seems worth it to me to keep trying a lot of things intelligently and with appropriate guidance and eventually I hope it will add up to a solution. Personally, I currently think 10-20 minutes of neurofeedback / HEG training a day on average might be a good investment.

  • Just want to let you know, Dr. Steingard, that I appreciate the point of view that you bring to this website and what I see as your desire to be fair and honest and true to science and reality and individual differences. Having first-hand experience with “schizophrenia” and using neuroleptics (it’s many diseases and everyone’s different, blah, blah, blah) I do share the concerns so frequently brought up on this site re. iatrogenic harm, but I also find the evidence lacking to support the point of view that “schizophrenia” is a “lifestyle” (as Loren Mosher put it) in all cases or most cases. I’m willing to accept that at least one aspect of it is that it involves an unfortunate/poor reaction to stress, perhaps with a strong biochemical basis in my case — actually I hope so as I’m embarking on some megavitamin therapy (under the direction of an “orthomolecular” physician) –anyone interested should look up “Schizophrenia: An Orthomolecular Approach to Re-Balancing Brain & Body Chemistry” on youtube or Abram Hoffer. Neurofeedback may also be useful to look into. I generally do think psychiatry must simply be “lost in the money” (based on my disappointing encounters with a few uninspiring psychiatrists), so it is encouraging that at least a few are willing to be the leaders that should be expected of someone with an MD, so thank you Dr. Steingard for that. Having said that, if we’re looking for solutions we shouldn’t be too narrow in our search (or cling to tightly to unproven ideas).

  • Nothing new here, but it is good to at least see an MD standing up against corruption within his/her own peer group / system. In one breath you label these psychiatrists as accomplices to crimes and in the next as well-meaning but too busy. Most likely, as long as there’s a financial reward for psychiatrists to go along with an often corrupt system there’ll be no shortage of those who will — not much different than any other medical specialty or other business. Anyone who is working towards fixing these problems deserves all the credit in the world. Hopefully just exposing the truth and letting the buyer (or his/her family/guardian) beware can go a long way too.

  • I read your book Anatomy of an Epidemic shortly after my first of several psychotic breaks and hospitalizations and it, along with your subsequent posts on this website, certainly encouraged me to decide for myself to reduce my dosages and have periods of time (6-8 months) doing well with no medication. Currently I’m on a pretty low dose for a while. I just try to respond to symptoms and evaluate my condition objectively. There are people who are not capable of doing this for themselves without running into serious trouble. I’m willing to venture that antipsychotics are not the only thing that can induce deleterious brain changes or atrophy. Maybe stress can also affect similarly negative changes. Being psychotic is quite stressful and taxing. Certainly (via Dr. Greger’s nutritionfacts.org website) there’s a good deal of evidence correlating diet with measurable brain changes, supposedly beneficial or detrimental depending on the diet. I know from reading and watching everything you’ve had to say on the subject that you are focused on solutions rather than demonizing all psychiatry, but honestly this does not always come across (I’m only pointing out that reading some of your posts would tend to make a person in the grips of psychiatry all the more irate at their predicament). We would all like to see a better solution to the problem of what to do with people experiencing and susceptible to psychosis and want to know what will give the best possible outcome. I greatly appreciate your work at uncovering for all of us, the particular corruption that has been present in the out-of-control business of psychiatry. I can only count my blessings that I am not in a situation where I feel especially victimized by this business. I think you’ve made a fair point elsewhere about John Nash and the NAMI/pharma white-washing of reality to suit their own agenda in that case. There is this idea being promoted in the NYT for example that people who do well with “schizophrenia” are maintained by their “psych meds” (to use what I suspect is intended as a palatable term to be gobbled up by the dumb masses). But anyway, I’m referring specifically to this idea as being promoted by Elyn Saks, herself suffering from this condition and who supposedly has set out and found many successful people also so diagnosed most of whom apparently regard maintenance on some level of anti-psychotic as necessary for them. This is the sort of information that we as patients do need and need to be able to evaluate fairly in order to make informed decisions. It would be nice if this topic saw some coverage here on MIA. It is dismaying that hardly any effort has been made to assemble such information (NIMH?, my tax dollars not working for me), but hopefully we are headed in that direction, maybe.

  • Yeah, I certainly don’t know all the implications for glucose/fat metabolism on Zyprexa, for instance. I gained about 30 or 40 lbs in 3 months on Zyprexa at a dose of 15mg. I then changed to essentially an ultra-low fat vegan diet while still on the Zyprexa and was able to lose weight. But, soon after that, I was also reducing my dosage and lost all of the weight/fat pretty easily once I got down to a very low dosage. I don’t know how much to attribute to the diet change or the Zyprexa reduction. I guess I could be pioneering and restart the Zyprexa at 15mg to do an experiment, but… no.

    I guess we can at least agree that getting rid of the processed junk food is a good first step for anyone.

  • Essentially, yes (or at least very low meat (/dairy/eggs/added fats)). And I don’t want to veer way too far off the topic of the article (or claim any expertise for myself), but there is a lot of information about diets which have actually been shown to consistently reverse disease (heart disease, type-2 diabetes) so I guess they can’t be too unhealthy, right? If I’m allowed to mention the following names here (all physicians), I think they’re worth checking out:

    John McDougall
    Neal Barnard
    Caldwell Esselstyn

    I especially like John McDougall who has a pretty interesting book called “The Starch Solution” and a lot of free presentations on youtube, many where he rails against ineffective/harmful/questionable (but highly profitable) practices in today’s medicine. Actually, Robert Whitaker was recently a speaker at one of his (McDougall’s) conferences, so I guess it all ties together somehow:).

  • I suspect an even more useful question would be: “Are micronutrients a waste of time if you’re already consuming a healthy diet?” It would be interesting to know what proportion of the study participants might have had some nutritional deficiency to begin with or what kinds of diets were the people on who responded positively to the supplements.

    As to the issue of side effects, many/several prominent diet doctors advocating diets of the whole foods, plant-based type (John McDougall, T. Colin Campbell for instance) do caution against the use of multivitamins due to possible harm from long-term use.

    Anyway, it’s an interesting article. As a diagnosed “schizophrenic” not too impressed by the current state of psychiatry, I certainly appreciate any efforts to find better alternatives.

    I do hope that further research into supplementation aims to determine the role of dietary factors (but I’m not holding my breath). Obviously what constitutes a “healthy” diet is not
    agreed upon, but people who are serious about their health and are only hearing “Paleo”/low-carb should at least be aware that there are other (better? I think so) approaches.