Guest Blog From Lauren R. Tharp

A Simple Blood Test That Could Save You Thousands of Dollars in Psychiatric Bills

By: Lauren R. Tharp – http://littlezotz.com 

 I do not have Bi-Polar Disorder.

               But, for a while, doctors thought I did.

                                        ……………Let me explain…

 In my teen years, I was acting, well, a little “mental” as my dad would say. So, of course, I was taken to the best “mental” doctors. Various psychiatrists and psychologists hmm’d at my situation, nodding their heads, and stroking their chins: “Bi-Polar Disorder!” “Depression!” “Borderline!”

 They had all sorts of ideas about my situation.

 But why did all of my symptoms virtually disappear sometimes, usually right after a good meal? And why weren’t any of these doctors addressing my physical symptoms—like my cold hands and feet, chronic headaches, or sensitivity to light?

 Long story short, my parents took me to a general practitioner. He investigated my physical symptoms, performed a glucose tolerance test, and I finally had my answer: Hypoglycemia.

 Once I was put on a proper diet, nearly all of my symptoms disappeared! No drugs needed!

 All of those years in psychiatric offices could have been prevented with a simple blood test.

 The sad thing is; my case is not unique. Roberta Ruggiero, founder of the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation, has a similar story. She went for over a decade thinking her problem was all in her head—and was even administered electroshock therapy!—before she was finally given a blood sugar test.

 Do I blame the doctors?  Begrudgingly, my answer is “no.”

 Bi-Polar Disorder and Hypoglycemia are shockingly similar!

 Do these symptoms sound familiar? 

  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Emotional Fragility or Sensitivity (Big emotional reactions to “little” things)
  • Mental Confusion
  • Brain Chatter
  • Indecisiveness
  • Irritability
  • Exhaustion
  • Forgetfulness
  • Chatterbox (Talking more than normal—usually with a lack of “filters.”)
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Nightmares or Night Terrors
  • Antisocial Behavior or Noticeable Withdrawal from Activities
  • Temper Tantrums
  • Suicidal Thoughts or Tendencies

 That was a list of the side-effects of Hypoglycemia. They’re almost indistinguishable from Bi-Polar Disorder, aren’t they?

 However, if you’re also experiencing any of these symptoms…

 Bad Breath

  • Muscle Pain (Usually backaches)
  • Chronic Indigestion
  • Internal Trembling
  • Chronically Cold Hands and Feet
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting or Blackouts
  • Chronic Headaches
  • Light and Noise Sensitivity
  • Blurry Vision
  • Numbness
  • Excessive Sweating
  • PMS
  • Heart Palpitations

 …I would urge you to take a blood sugar test!

 Even if you’re sure you have Bi-Polar Disorder, it wouldn’t hurt to get tested. Even the best prescription drugs won’t help you to feel better if you’re a Hypoglycemic and you’re not eating right for your condition.

 On that note, I’d like to mention that Depression does go hand-in-hand with Hypoglycemia. Nearly all Hypoglycemics experience Depression—whether as an actual mental condition or simply as a gnarly “side-effect.”

It’s during these times that I like to keep a copy of Julie Fast’s Get It Done When You’re Depressed by my side. It’s helped me to continue working, even when I really, really didn’t feel like it. Whether you’re Bi-Polar, Hypoglycemic, or something in-between… Get that book!

We’d love to hear what you think, please share your comments below.

5 comments to Guest Blog From Lauren R. Tharp

  • Great article, Lauren! Hopefully it’ll persuade some people to avoid unnecessary psychiatric visits.

  • Wendy

    Lauren, ((Sorry my post is so long, I just felt I should convey as much about my illness as needed & I’m awake at 2am even though I would LOVE to sleep. I just cannot shut my brain off. I really want some help & who better to talk to than someone who has had a similar experience?))

    I have been dealing with those exact symptoms for years now. Just tonight I told a friend that I’ve been wondering if all these years it has been my hormones & could possibly be remedied & stop the psych visits.

    I’ve seen a bunch of doctors & have been told I’m bipolar, cyclothymic, have social anxiety disorder, depression. At the end of 2009 I had to quit working due to chronic neck & shoulder pain, which ultimately added another diagnosis to the list, Systematic Lupus & Fibromaylasia(which dr’s can’t prove w a lab test & I don’t beleive I have that, just that the dr didn’t want to take the time to find the true cause; it was a cop-out). Anyways, I ended up w/ a pain contract thru a pain management specialist who just put me on a bunch of very potent, VERY addicting pain meds & muscle relaxants. He routinely did bloodwork to monitor my liver function & tested my thyroid which he said came back “normal.” After developing an addiction & a run-in with the law in Nov 2011, I stopped seeing the pain dr so I wouldn’t have access to my 200 pain pills & Somas a month & quit cold turkey to save my marriage.
    I also stopped my psych meds which were Geodon, Klonopin & Ambien.

    When I was younger my mother always told me I was hypoglycemic, but I kinda think she self-diagnosed me. I did pass out a few times & she attributed it to low blood sugar. I put those claims aside until recently when I began to suffer from increaed urination & EXCESSIVE intolerence to heat. *Please bear in mind that for the rest of my life I was always cold when others weren’t & my feet would be, & still are, like blocks of ice a lot. B/c of the new symptoms, I borrowed my mom’s blood sugar meter & my blood sugar was always at a normal level. (FYI: I am adopted so my mom being diabetic is not an indicator for me & from what I know of my biological families diabetes doesn’t run in the family.)

    SO I’ve been being treated for lupus & bipolar disorder(I began seeing my pysch again & told him about my substance abuse & asked not to be rx’ed anything addictive) He put me on Lamictal (I’d taken it a couple of yrs ago & can’t remember why I was switched) & Cymbalta. I felt that the Cymbalta was the cause for my increased irritability & severe mood swings so he tapered me off of my 60mg a day dose when I saw him on July 9. I think I may still be very irritable from getting off of it & I am VERY sensitive now. Sometimes I just feel the need to cry & I do with no reason to be upset. I feel so crazy!!!

    I’m currently RXed:
    Psych dr:200mg Lamictal & Vistaril(just began to actually use it when I have worse anxiety[it's ever-present] or can’t sleep. Not sure that it helps) Rheumatologist: Plaquenil(lupus med) & 10mg Flexeril
    And I take birth control. I hate to admit this, but I have began to take percocet again. My physical pain is still there & sometimes it takes the edge off.

    I’ve been told that I have an auto-immune disease & they believe it’s mild SLE Lupus, but it isn’t written in stone. [I recently had a urinalysis come back with 1+ protein & the rheumatologist wouldn't tell me what it meant, just to go to a kidney dr which really pissed me off, so I will be finding a new rheumatologist when we get insurance again. My chiropractor told me it has to do with acidity in your organs & I really do need to see a dr for more lab work.]

    I wish I could find out once in for all WHAT is medically wrong w/ me. I am SO socially withdrawn & don’t interact well with others. I can be very hateful & have no impulse control. I don’t even notice that my words are so harsh & have been sat down by a former boss to address this, causing me to admit to being bipolar.

    Since my blood sugar levels were normal when I mointored them, is there a chance for Hypoglycemia? Any insight you or other readers could give me would be awesome & I would be very thankful. I appreciate you for sharing this blog w/ info to rule out an incorrect dx & for simply reading my post.

    Stay strong & thank you!!!

  • Darryl Musa

    Blood tests can reveal the overall health of your body, therefore, it is necessary to get a blood test at least once a year. :..`*

    Warmest regards.

    • Blood tests change depending on your meds- or if you are even on meds.

      If on meds, Lithium and Depakoe need tests. You need to get a thyroid check when first diagnosed. Vitamin D level, testerone level and other tests suggested by your health care professional can really help. A naturopath HCP or psychiatric nurse practitioner are good choices here! Thanks for the reminder Darryl. Julie

  • My sister had the same problem and she was also improperly diagnosed. As a clinical social worker I always ask the family to have see their physician first and get blood work done before they see a psychiatrist. Diet is uber important. My sister turns into a hell-beast when she doesn’t get proper nutrition or becomes dehydrated. She recently discovered that she was hypoglycemic also. Diabetes does run in our family, so that was a concern.

    However, mental illness symptoms do go in cycles. So you can be absent of symptoms for a few days/weeks and have a sudden onset. Do not think diet or low blood sugar alone is the answer. Human beings are complex creatures and our systems can be easily imbalanced by environmental reasons (stress, allergies, lack of sleep, relationships), genetic, diet…and the list goes on! But this information is quite helpful Lauren, and well researched. I hadn’t thought of looking into Fibromyalgia. My sister’s father had it, so she may need to look into that as well. Thanks for the excellent post!

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