1

votes

Diet and depression, suicidal thoughts, and itching?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created February 22, 2013 at 5:27 PM

A friend's 16 year old daughter is going through a very difficult period. She's suffering from severe depression, cutting, overweight (sugar addiction/ sometimes eating spoons of sugar), and severe itching.

She gets frequent migraine headaches.

She's on a bunch of psychiatric drugs and has been placed in a 24/7 setting until she can be stabilized.

Obviously, the psychiatric issues are of paramount concern.

From my perspective, diet and fish oil would be a great place to start.

How can I convince the mom (who is not on board with the paleo thing) that she should make dramatic changes in food?

Any good links to info about potential food sensitivities causing severe psychiatric issues?

Any good links that might be appropriate for a 16 year old girl?

She's 16, not 6 so you can't impose a diet on her against her will: she needs to buy into the whole thing.

To me, her itching immediately suggests a potential food sensitivity.

Basically, any links or thoughts which might be relevant to her daughter would be very much appreciated.

Thanks, Mike

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on April 11, 2013
at 02:17 PM

will do, thanks!

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on February 24, 2013
at 12:03 PM

Thanks @pecan !

Cfec3fb17e6d06f984ffedc2aae54920

(150)

on February 24, 2013
at 01:28 AM

I agree with Matty. My mom was 'crazy' during my teens and then she got diagnosed with Celiac disease. Her craziness went away but I didn't realize the connection until I got diagnosed and had bouts of forgetfulness, irritability ... and severe eczema which I was born with. I never got allergy tested until my early 40s when I ended up with severe rashes all over my face and hands. I'm allergic to gluten/wheat (my side effects: eczema/brain fog/hearing loss/changes in eyesight/severe swelling), soy, dairy, + other foods. Had I been diagnosed as a kid, I would not have suffered for so long.

B7e1ad6bb9ab814b8e90bdad4a472d5e

(289)

on February 23, 2013
at 03:02 PM

Mate something happen in this kids child hood deep psychological trauma. Diet could help a little, I think there more to this stories that parents are not telling you.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on February 22, 2013
at 07:02 PM

Thanks so much. I should have mentioned that I've never met the daughter, just friends with the mom. The extent of my involvement is to hopefully point her to some links that talk about diet, food issues, and its impact on depression, etc. So, don't be concerned about suggesting various talking points, I'm not going there.

Bece741db5f5fed6bafa12e3548f973f

(715)

on February 22, 2013
at 06:39 PM

My oldest has problems with postpartum depression and when Vit D was checked she was very low.

Bece741db5f5fed6bafa12e3548f973f

(715)

on February 22, 2013
at 06:36 PM

Thanks for that four hour work week website Maarten. Never been there before, but looks like lots of good info.

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9 Answers

3
D8644ecc819aa7fb98ed93eece4befa2

(281)

on February 22, 2013
at 06:12 PM

Dear Mike, It's hard to convince someone who doesn't want to be convinced. I wouldn't try to convince the mom but the girl. She probably wants to make her own choices anyway and I believe (from experience, some may disagree) that it's hard for depression and suicida thoughts to happen when you feel supported by your parents. First of all I would really listen to why she is self-destructive, and give her space to tell about her death wish. You and her will probably recognise it's meant as an escape route, but at first it will be dark and desperate. This listening is so important because no-one really does that I'd really had to feel my death wish before I realised I just wanted an escape, and that was through telling it to other people. Then you could suggest changing her diet may be another way out. Tell her from sincerety why you think that's a good idea. If you think so. Don't try to convince her, tell her from your heart. She probably wants to be helped, but decide for herself if she takes it. This article made me decide to eat paleo-ish: http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelellsberg/2011/07/18/how-i-overcame-bipolar-ii/ If she is scientifically interested you could point her to Dr Hymann's Ultramind Solution. The science behind it is quite debatble, but it does that a lot of problems that could be caused by food. Plus the fact that this man and other treat people solely based on food and lifestyle for mental illness is somewhat triggering to say the least). I also liked this post: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2010/09/19/paleo-diet-solution/

This all being said: I'm NOT a health care practioner. I'm just an experimenter myself, with depression I developed in childhood and a history of suicidal thougths. So I??m giving you this advice from the capacity of my own experience, and I don??t take responsability for how any of the above may play out in a conversation. That being said, eating paleo-ish does relieve much of my symptoms, and I strongly believe that just eating like that for a month could change the perspective of someone who doesn't see a way out.

If there's anything I can do to help, be sure to let me know.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on February 22, 2013
at 07:02 PM

Thanks so much. I should have mentioned that I've never met the daughter, just friends with the mom. The extent of my involvement is to hopefully point her to some links that talk about diet, food issues, and its impact on depression, etc. So, don't be concerned about suggesting various talking points, I'm not going there.

Bece741db5f5fed6bafa12e3548f973f

(715)

on February 22, 2013
at 06:36 PM

Thanks for that four hour work week website Maarten. Never been there before, but looks like lots of good info.

2
D8644ecc819aa7fb98ed93eece4befa2

(281)

on February 22, 2013
at 06:17 PM

Also, I'd check the following through blood tests: - Vitamin D Levels - Thyroid function

I feel that interventions like this should always go hand in hand with therapy, as in, learning ways to deal with yourself or with the world, as you need both healthy food and healthy habits. It is expected you know how to do this but the truth is a lot of us didn't have anyone to learn from. A psychologist I correspond with talks about major depression as "being unable to feel and interpret body impulses and cravings" and I couldn't agree more. This is however something that can be learned.

Bece741db5f5fed6bafa12e3548f973f

(715)

on February 22, 2013
at 06:39 PM

My oldest has problems with postpartum depression and when Vit D was checked she was very low.

1
0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on February 23, 2013
at 02:54 PM

The author of the brilliant Evolutionary Psychiatry blog ( http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.ie/ ) recently endorsed this review examining the lifestyle factors which contribute to depression (diet; sleep; exercise): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23415826

The aforementioned blog is also an excellent resource for your purposes. It focuses on dietary and evolutionary solutions to modern health problems such as depression. The author promotes a paleo-based diet.

You mentioned that your friend's daughter is overweight. Here is a post examining the relationship between obesity and depression: http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.ie/2010/10/depression-anxiety-and-obesity-1.html

Her posts on how diets lacking in animal-based fatty acids support neuronal degeneration, inspired me to start eating fish after 10 years of vegetarianism and 5 years of strict veganism.

More relevant posts:

http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.ie/2011/01/dietary-fat-intake-and-depression-risk.html

http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.ie/2011/02/sad-monkeys-hopped-up-on-omega-6-pufas.html

http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.ie/2010/06/depression-1.html

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on February 24, 2013
at 12:03 PM

Thanks @pecan !

0
74786bbe8254844304a33943290c4d6d

on April 11, 2013
at 12:12 PM

Fish oil, b-vitamins.

Above all else, Mom needs to find an 8-week MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) course in your area. She will have to pay for it, but it may be the best thing she's ever done for her kid.

Lastly, I thought I could fight depression naturally too. I was doing the paleo thang, and getting my fish oils, and b-vitamins and what not. Eventually, I had to cave and go back on anti-depressants. It was a difficult move, but it was totally necessary. Now, I don't think pills are the be-all answer to depression, but they CAN help. Once I added starches back in, I felt much better. But mindfulness meditation helped me the most out of everything. I tell everyone about it. Many schools are integrating in into their teaching to help kids stay focused and less anxious. Please tell her about it. The man behind MBSR is Jon Kabat Zinn. He deserves a Nobel Peace Price as far as I'm concerned.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on April 11, 2013
at 02:17 PM

will do, thanks!

0
3936d8e4644e08775d1fb8ee483765a0

on April 11, 2013
at 04:02 AM

Diet and depression is relevant to each other. Foods rich in protein, like turkey, tuna, or chicken, are rich in an amino acid called tyrosine. Tyrosine may help boost levels of the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. This boost helps you feel alert and makes it easier to concentrate. Try to include a protein source in your diet several times a day, especially when you need to clear your mind and boost your energy. Know how you can fight depression naturally.

0
B36bbab16837fe6d60eb2b5a49a561ed

(314)

on February 22, 2013
at 07:11 PM

I am no expert in this subject, but I myself came to follow a Primal lifestyle as a result of severe anxiety issues. During my research, I stumbled across Dr. Amen, who, I believe, is really on to something with his treatment methodologies. He has some self help material that you can find in book stores, but he also has clinics across the country that specialize in helping people with the sort of issues you mentioned. He uses SPECT scanning, in conjuction with diet modification and targeted medication to heal peoples brains. You might want to check it out. http://www.amenclinics.com/ THe website has a ton of information that I found helpful during my tough times.

0
Bece741db5f5fed6bafa12e3548f973f

(715)

on February 22, 2013
at 06:17 PM

http://www.alternativementalhealth.com/articles/brainallergies.htm

Just in a quick search I ran across a paleo teen facebook page.

Foods contain chemicals, or are broken down into substances to be used by the body-good or bad. They can be healing or detrimental to the body. Is the brain separate from the rest of the body?

Through nutrition and physical therapy, I've reduced migraines to about 85% of what they once were. I'm 51 and I've dealt with them since I was a teenager. Since I was in my late 30s they've been several per week and often daily until I started looking at food triggers a couple years ago. I've been on a gluten free diet for almost 2 years and about 75% paleo for about a year. For awhile it was higher, but I've come to know what works and doesn't work for me. I've been able to enjoy a job, drive myself places (I couldn't travel for more than an hour without a migraine) and have seen a huge improvement in executive functioning-especially when I cut the sugar. I've given a couple public presentations which are totally outside my comfort zone.

I've seen teens helped by counseling with the cutting thing, but in my opinion how could some nutrition counseling hurt? I know that with my own girls, they both feel better during the sports seasons when they are working out and playing. More mental accuity, less crankiness, less menstrual tension in the house. If her self esteem was boosted by some weight loss it would be a huge plus. Obviously meds aren't doing it.

0
1c8aafb8514c1023effcdf9c1c621bbd

on February 22, 2013
at 06:12 PM

In the book "Wheat Belly" the author has an entire section on how Wheat-Gluten is the only food that humans consume that actually alter your mind due to the science of what happens upon digestion of gluten. Gluten and schizophrenic outbreaks actually have proven and tested correlations, confirming that increased gluten intake would often result in increased schizophrenic outbreaks.

Now, take everything with a grain of salt, but I think that it couldn't hurt to try. Obviously she is dealing with a very tough time in her life, and its best to try anything with any hope of working. You don't want to go on medication if you don't have to. I know way too many cases of people that killed themselves after starting anti-depressant drugs.

Cfec3fb17e6d06f984ffedc2aae54920

(150)

on February 24, 2013
at 01:28 AM

I agree with Matty. My mom was 'crazy' during my teens and then she got diagnosed with Celiac disease. Her craziness went away but I didn't realize the connection until I got diagnosed and had bouts of forgetfulness, irritability ... and severe eczema which I was born with. I never got allergy tested until my early 40s when I ended up with severe rashes all over my face and hands. I'm allergic to gluten/wheat (my side effects: eczema/brain fog/hearing loss/changes in eyesight/severe swelling), soy, dairy, + other foods. Had I been diagnosed as a kid, I would not have suffered for so long.

0
Bb7e39333e8ff711d65759c7de777bab

on February 22, 2013
at 05:58 PM

My friend's childrens' moods have been altered, for the better, being off of gluten for the past year. Before schools wanted to medicate them, but now they can sit and pay attention in class and function much better. They are under ten though, so much younger.

However, I was off gluten for a few months and did not notice a difference with my moods (I am on antidepressants). Now with Paleo I wonder if I will notice any mood differences to eventually stop taking the anti depressants.

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