Bipolar and physical health

Okay, I don’t have a link to connect you to this information.  I got it directly from my psychiatrist, though.

I don’t have the world’s healthiest diet.  I do try to eat better when I have the money to buy groceries, though.  In the past year, though, I have come up extremely deficient in Vitamin D and Vitamin B12.  At my last appointment, my doctor told me that he thinks I might be having issues with another vitamin’s breakdown chemical.  Apparently the Folic Acid that is so important for pregnant women is also important for neuropsychiatric meds to work.  Since a fairly large portion of the populations doesn’t break this chemical down efficiently, there’s a pretty good chance that I don’t have it or I have very little.  The chemical is L-something Folate (just going to call it L-Folate after this).  Not only do I have a good chance that my body just doesn’t produce it, he also told me that my Lamictal interferes/uses it up.  Yay.  Icing?  My lithium will not work without it.

So we are working on getting the prescription for the L-Folate filled, but my insurance is being obnoxious about it.  (What is the difference between a drug and a medical nutritional supplement, anyway?  I still need a prescription for it.)

Until then, I am trying to improve my eating habits and taking my medicine and vitamins consistently.  Because I take Lithium, I do know that the vitamins and my medicines should be completely separated (preferably by a minimum of 4 hours from what I understand, but ask your pharmacist about your own medication).  So, starting today, I am going to be working on eating better and taking my vitamins daily.  I’ve been better about taking my medication at the same time every day since I set my cell phone to go off twice.  It goes off once at 9 to tell me I need to make something to eat, then it goes off at 10 to tell me to take my medication.  I only have one more alarm on the cell phone, but it will be set with the time for me to take my vitamins.  I will tell you that the times for all of this might seem off to people, but during the week I work 2nd shift.  I need the timing to be convenient whether I am working or not. 

So the point behind all of this:

Ask your doctor about anything that assists or interferes in the action of what you take.  Make sure you tell your doctor about everything you take, including vitamins and herbal supplements.  Make sure you see your GP once a year to get a regular blood test run to make sure your physical health isn’t affecting the way your medications work.  For those of us that have separate physical ailments beside the bipolar, please ask your doctor how each condition can influence the other.  For example, chronic pain can trigger depression in anyone.  I have no idea how it affects those of us with a mood disorder, but it’s a good question to ask.

We need to take care of ourselves as well as our bipolar.  We might even find a link between our physical health and our mental stability.  (Or we might not, I am in no way a doctor, nor do I claim to be.)


~ by theartistryofthebipolarbrain on February 10, 2012.

5 Responses to “Bipolar and physical health”

  1. Most of us don’t have the healthiest diet. I know I try to be encouraging, and I know that (typically) cooking / eating with friends gets you to be healthier. It’s so much easier for me personally to just grab something fast when it’s just me. When I have to consider family / friends, cooking suddenly seems much more attractive.

    Have you considered cooking larger meals on weekends, enough to ensure 1-2 servings left over so you have cooked meals to eat the rest of the week, instead of falling back on a bad habit I happen to share with you?

    Either way, *hugs*, be good dearest Shoshi. =)

    • One of the reasons I want to get the apartment cleaned up is to make this easier. I want to be able to invite people over and cook together. Since my kitchen is so large, we could potluck. 🙂
      And the next time you visit, I will need to cook for you.

  2. I think you’ve touched on something very important here. Aside from the fact that people’s diets are so convoluted and people are so confused about what is good and what isn’t and what they really do need to eat that I think everyone should sit down with a nutritionist at certain points in their lives to figure it all out, I think that people trust their doctor’s way too damn much and need to start taking responsibility for what happens inside of their own bodies. So people, ask freaking questions. Tell the doctor what you’re taking. Even if it’s OTC or vitamins. And do your own research as well. Don’t rely on the doctor because they’ve got years of school behind them. They’re still just people and you’re still responsible for knowing everything that you put into your body.

    • I agree that asking questions is vital. I actually am lucky because my psychiatrist has a secondary specialty in pharmaco-something. I don’t have his card in front of me right now. (And since I am all comfy in bed, I am not getting up to get it. 😉 ) It does mean that he is super aware of how all of this works together. You can bet, though, that when I go in to talk with him, I ask a ton of questions. I do the same thing with my GP. Whenever I am given medication, I always make sure the doctor knows everything I am on. Additionally, whenever I am given a new medication, I talk to the pharmacist as well to make sure there isn’t anything I should know about separating the meds due to one interfering with the action of the other or other side effects of taking multiple medications.

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