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Bipolar Disorder by an Anonymous Physician

Julie Gardener

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Bipolar Disorder by an Anonymous Physician​

About 30 years ago I was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. Lithium helped but after several years of side effects including severe nausea, anemia of emotion and so forth, I was surprised to discover that cannabis both helped restore a sense of well being and became an ally during depressive phases. In addition, cannabis brought intellectual and emotional stimulation and helped deepen my appreciation for life. Cannabis may be especially helpful for the treatment of depression in those with bipolar disorder because most antidepressants risk stimulating a manic attack a possible disaster that can result in hospitalization and a complete disruption of one's life, or worse. With cannabis I gradually found that I didn't really need the lithium as much anymore. Because virtually every manic attack is preceded by pronounced insomnia, I made preventing and stopping the insomnia my one priority. For this reason, on evenings when it was most difficult to sleep, I would take a sedative such as klonopin 5mg. At these times I consciously lessened external life stress where possible & attempted to keep a healthy lifestyle including attention to exercise & nutrition. It's been about 20 years since I've taken lithium with any regularity. The combination of cannabis & an occasional klonopin has enabled my transformation from a frightened victim to one in control of a potentially devastating malady.

Unfortunately the mental health experts assisting in the treatment of my condition back then reinforced my spouse's thinking of cannabis as the cause of the problem the antithesis of the truth! Their lack of understanding & appreciation for the potentially profound therapeutic effects of cannabis was counterproductive both for me personally & I suspect for others as well. And here, I certainly do not mean to suggest that those with bipolar disorder suddenly drop their lithium & take cannabis instead. Some manic attacks are particularly refractory to pharmacological intervention & one peculiar difficulty for the manic is possible loss of objectivity. In my opinion there is a definite need for further exploration of the role of cannabis in the treatment of bipolar illness (as well as many other medical conditions). There's also a need for this information being made more readily & openly available (as this URL is currently doing). What statistical analysis & the experience of others will bear out, remains to be seen. This is simply what's worked well for me & has helped enable me to work productively for years as a physician.

In the fifteen hundreds we had the Inquisition, today we have Cannabis Prohibition a problem for both physicians & their patients.

Source: Comments and Observations
 
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