I've been strict Paleo for over a year now and I haven't been able to get off my anti-depressants. Due to stress at work I've actually started taking a low dose of Xanax (anti-anxiety) as well (when needed). I also have a script for Vyvanse (ADD meds) and take a very, very small dose when needed. I'm also on two different allergy medications. One thing I can say is that my meds actually seem to work now so that seems like an improvement, but it is not to the point where I can function properly on my own which is what I am striving for.
I'm still hooked and have even added a drug. Do I consider this a failure? Where are you guys on your health journey? Have you kicked the medicine/drug habit or been able to reduce? Anyone picked up more medicine?
asked byMeepsIsWellfed (1581)
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on April 11, 2012
at 01:10 AM
I would say that is far from failure. You'll see lots of stories here about people going off of medication for illnesses, being cured from a lifetime of blindness, and suddenly becoming the next Einstein thanks to the magical healing powers of eating Paleo.
I believe that eating paleo paves the way for health, but that there is no shame in taking medication if you have already tried alternative methods. I will probably be attacked for this...for not thinking paleo is the Almighty Answer, but I do believe that there are biological differences between humans, and some of us are just more wired to respond to certain things in our environments, from an interaction between genetics and our life experiences. We are born with variation in how our brains are wired, so what works for some may not be enough for others.
Basically, eating right isn't going to make your health perfect. You can only try to correct dopamine or serotonin on your own through diet so much.
I think it's sad to think that eating right will cure all mental illnesses. Right, okay, so how about we take all the soldiers suffering from PTSD, NOT address their emotional trauma and just feed them paleo? Will they be cured? No.
I would try to look at your life as a WHOLE and not just focus on food, assuming that it is causing your mental illness. Are you currently working on your anxiety through a therapist? That could be a great first step. Have you looked at what is different about your life lately that is causing so much anxiety? Are you getting enough sleep? Or you exercising to take care of yourself well enough? Maybe you can try meditation for a while, relaxation techniques and slowly wean off the drugs if you find that it helps you cope with life's hurdles.
on April 11, 2012
at 03:31 AM
I'm a psychologist, and I'm saddened to hear that anyone feels like a failure for needing medications to help with conditions like depression and anxiety. Nutrition is one thing, but if your brain's chemical makeup is imbalanced, then you are doing a good, good thing by helping it be rebalanced.
Is it possible that, down the road, you won't need them, whether because of therapy, psychological changes/growth, or nutrition? Sure.
But I believe that every person is put on this earth to live the happiest, most fulfilled life they can. So if taking a pill helps you live the life you were meant to live, then I believe it's actually an imperative (not a failure) to take that pill and try to live the best life possible.
on April 11, 2012
at 03:25 AM
I'm having that same problem. After 8 months of weaning off lexapro I had to up my dosage because of the returning anxiety and crying spells. I'm down to 5 mg a day for maintenance be still have anxiety and consider upping it. Don't feel like a failure. I'd rather live a happy life on lexapro than life in a constant state of stress, anxiety, guilt and shame.
on April 11, 2012
at 03:01 AM
You have an illness and are taking medications. No shame in that. I'm sorry that someone somewhere is making you feel less important than someone with cancer or some other disease that requires a lot of drugs. Don't make yourself sound like a tweaker. Work with your doctor to taper down if that is your goal.
on April 11, 2012
at 05:58 AM
I'm going to echo the other answerers and say it is most certainly not a failure. I'm assuming your diet is pretty dialed in, and that's awesome! I'm willing to bet you're benefiting from paleo in other arenas.
When it comes to anxiety, I can relate with your story somewhat; I started paleo to try and 'cure' myself (so to speak) of panic disorder and depression, and I do believe it helped, but I also utilized other behaviors and lifestyle changes, including psychotherapy, exercise, and lots and lots of self-reflection. I don't know if you've tried it, but cognitive-behavioral therapy really helps when it comes to anxiety, be it panic disorder or generalized anxiety. Also, having pills (In my case, Valium) on hand helped to make me feel more secure in certain situations, and though I didn't take them often, I did use them when I felt I needed to and they were a huge aid in my overcoming crazily debilitating panic attacks.
I definitely feel for you and want to reiterate that doing what you need to do in order to mitigate your anxiety and depression in no way makes you a failure of any kind. Keep at it (and possibly look into therapy, if you feel that'll help!) and I'm sure you'll have a brighter future ahead of you.
on April 11, 2012
at 01:01 AM
While it doesn't work for everybody because it's difficult to get it right, Paleo-ketogenic has more impact towards a better mental health than plain Paleo (because the body fully switches to ketones to feed the brain, by changing the chemistry). Fermented foods, offal, coconut oil, home-made goat kefir etc are a must in such a treatment to get the best out of it.
on November 24, 2014
at 04:11 PM
This is about 2.5 years after the original post but I thought I'd add a bit of insight...
Many people try to do the Paleo "diet" and usually find at least SOME benefit. However, I think that some people don't go far enough, both in the diet AND the "lifestyle".
Firstly, I would suggest that everyone read Dr. Terry Wahls' book, "The Wahls Protocol". Actually, it is a book written for MS patients who have often sought medical help without much benefit. Its intention is that by pushing the Paleo diet/lifestyle to the limit, many people will find improvement in their health that they would not find in doing it half-heartedly. Dr. Wahls, herself, found only modest improvement in her auto-immune condition when first starting on Paleo.
One of the things that she strongly suggests, indeed, it is core to her instructions, is to everyday eat, 3 cups of leafy greens, 3 cups of coloured vegetables/berries (carrots, beets, blueberries etc.) AND 3 cups of sulphur-containing veggetables (the brassias, cabbage, onions, garlic etc.) Sulphur-containing vegetables are SOOO important to many whose illnesses have cascaded and overwhelmed the body's ability to create glutathione to detoxify and recuperate.
To the average joe, this much (original measurement is uncooked) SEEMS un-doable, until you realize that if you stop any sliding into the cheat-zone (you know... too many paleo brownies with honey and maple syrup that zaps your appetite, and trying to mimic breadstuffs and carbs with too much almond flour) and you REALLY FOCUS on what our distant ancestors ate as your template, AND you get reasonable levels of activity in your day, THEN you find that it is not so hard afterall. You'll be hungry when you should be hungry and you'll have no problem eating that much vegetation. :-)
The other area that people lack, is in "organ" meats. For some reason people shy away from liver, heart, kidney, tongue, gizzards, etc. Get over it! Organ meats contain various nutrients that just aren't in other muscle meats! PERIOD! If you in a year eat the equivalent of a few animals in the amount of meat you consume, then, using simple math, you should be consuming substantial amounts of these organ meats! If you're not then you are selling yourself (your body) short! I even suggest to people that they find a particularly trustful source for safe meats and eat at least SOME liver raw! I find that it actually tastes MUCH, MUCH better than cooked, mealy-textured, dry, tough, fried liver!
The same goes for bone broth. Get yourself a slow-cooker and have bones, from mammals, poultry, fish etc., going often. THEN you can turn some of those organ meats and hard to consume vegetables into VERY yummy stews and soups.
Once you move beyond your Standard American Diet COMFORT ZONE and take your diet and lifestyle to new levels then, no doubt, many people still struggling with body and mind health issues will find further improvement.
Other core areas that people skimp on are sleep and exercise. If you are changing your diet but still flopping on the couch to watch TV when you'd be better off going for a hike, or later in the day, dimming the lights and slipping into bed long before midnight and getting 8 or 9 hours of sleep, then you cannot expect complete healing of body or brain!
These are just a few ideas for taking a Paleo LIFE further! Most people don't get enough sun! Vitamin D from the sun does the mind wonders! Many people don't get enough play and laughing time with family and friends. That, too, helps your brain heal! Creativity in the form of artistic endeavors, building and crafts and hobbies does AMAZING things to help keep mental balance. OFTEN overlooked.
I hope that my suggestions can help some readers here, attain just a few more steps up, on the ladder to a healthy, contented life. :-)