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How can I manage my mood disorder?

Q: I am a 22 years old girl suffering from mood disorders noticeably for the last 7 years and possibly since birth. I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder II, bipolar personality disorder, major depressive disorder (endogenous) with psychosis. The doctors have been mixing and giving me medications for all these problems as the exact disorder has not been clearly understood. As a result, the pharmacological treatment has been able to help me only to a small extent, and hence I have discontinued it. Are there any food items (vegetarian) that supply lithium? I don't want to take medicines. Also, please suggest me how to go about organising family therapy sessions for my parents so that they can understand my disorders and help me come out of them?

A:To my knowledge only supplement, which may be useful, is fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids, however, even with the fish oil the results are not robust and one has to take really high doses (Omega-3 fatty acids with high doses of both Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) seems to be more effective - as high as 3 gm). Further, the benefits seem to be more with depressive episodes and not so much on the manic symptoms of bipolar disorder. Keeping this in context, only therapies, which are beneficial in case of bipolar mood disorder, are medications and to some extent therapies (cognitive behavioural therapy) - a combination of these may be more effective. In your case you seem to have been given the diagnosis of bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. The symptoms of these disorders overlap substantially. If it seems that borderline component is prominent, you should consider a type of therapy called as Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, which is effective in treating borderline personality symptoms. As far as family therapy is consider, you should talk to your therapist/doctor who will help you set this up depending up on the available resources. It seems like you are looking more in terms of educating your parents in this regard and family session might be a good option.

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