Let's talk brains, antibodies and mental health.

I saw my psychiatrist in July and we discussed autoimmunity and mental health and she finally admitted what I already knew: that some mental health problems, from depression through to severe, treatment resistant bipolar, schizophrenia and psychosis, can be due to antibodies attacking the brain.

In fact, around 9% of patients suffering from a psychiatric illness will have anti-neuronal antibodies damaging their brain tissue. It's far more common than we realise!

The worlds leading immunopsychiatrist Professor Belinda Lennox of Oxford University recently emailed my psychiatrist with the following statement:

We have found that about 9% of people with psychosis have an antibody that might be responsible for their illness, both men and women, and it is certainly worth testing for these. However for the other 91% of people we know that the sooner that treatment is started, the better the longterm outcome. 

There are many types of antibody that can lead to psychiatric problems and psychiatrists have known about this for over 20 years. My psychiatrist even covered this as a med student at university in the 1990's! She explained that the problem is that detecting antibodies is one thing, treating them another. The diagnostic criteria simply doesn't exist and therefore psychiatrists aren't able to diagnose, nor treat autoimmune psychiatric diseases, even if they suspect it.

The result of this lack of diagnostic criteria is that psychiatry only works with 'descriptive labels' and 'pills to mask symptoms'. It's a bit like an oncologist saying that a 'stage 2 primary oestrogen receptor positive breast cancer' that requires hormone therapy treatment is instead a 'lumpy breast growth that makes you feel ill' and requires nothing more than a tranquilliser to stop the patient complaining about it! That's pretty much where we are with psychiatry.

I've emailed Prof. Lennox myself and learned that anti NMDAr antibodies, anti LGI1 antibodies as well as one of the anti tissue transglutiminase antibodies (similar to the one that can lead to celiac) can all cause psychiatric problems. There will be many others too. These can be detected by analysing the cerebral spinal fluid through a lumbar puncture as well as an EEG to look at brain activity. Sadly I've not encountered a regular psychiatrist who would think of doing this.
While strong steroid based immune suppressants can help treat this, they have terrible side effects, possibly worse than the mental health problem they are treating, and doctors are reluctant to prescribe this unless the patient has life threatening seizures or becomes severely disabled.
But we know there is another way - The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).

Doctors and pharmaceutical companies have little or no interest in diet and lifestyle so no one is going to recommend cutting out grains and inflammatory foods to treat bipolar disorder! Instead we get pills designed to do one thing - shut down parts of the brain to suppress the symptoms.

** It's very important that no one stops psychiatric meds if you're taking them, as this can be dangerous, and perhaps 90% of severe mental health problems have nothing to do with autoimmunity so AIP may not help. **

If you, or someone you know, is suffering from psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar or depression, I would encourage you to try AIP, especially if you have any type of autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue. It took me years to figure this out for myself and it cost me so much. I wish I'd done this decades ago and avoided the hospital admissions, drugs and madness I endured. AIP costs nothing and is perfectly healthy if done right. There is nothing to lose, and everything to gain. At the very least your body will thank you for all that healthy food you'll be eating.

Until this becomes part of medicine our doctors won't talk about it. It will be pills or nothing and this has to change! Lifestyle is everything and we all deserve to be happy and healthy, even if the pill manufacturers, food industry and all those that profit from and subsidise them don't want it.
My psychiatrist told me she won't be helping me diagnose my illness, nor will she be referring me to anyone, as there is no one with the skills out there for me to be referred to. Instead she asked me to research this myself and tell her of my findings so she can learn from me, and I'm doing just that. I've registered for a ground breaking clinical study that will look for brain damaging antibodies but it may be too late to find them - AIP has already fixed me.

For now, our mental health is in our hands - we're 100% responsible for our own health; no one is coming to save us