Mental Health and Alternative Remedies

As part of my treatment, my psychiatrist as me on supplements of both B vitamins and evening primrose oil. I take them faithfully, but I’m not sure they’re worth the time and nausea.

My blood panels showed moderately low levels of vitamin B12. Not deficient, just on the lower end of the normal range. So my psychiatrist told me to take B vitamins. B12 deficiencies can cause a range of psychological issues, but I wasn’t deficient, so I’m not sure what effect taking this supplement has. I haven’t noticed any changes that can be linked to taking it – the only change in my mood is linked to starting on lithium. So I take it, but am I wasting my money? Also, it’s a huge tablet that tastes bloody awful.

The evening primrose oil was one of the first treatments my psychiatrist started me on, along with the abortive trial of venlafaxine. I’ve been taking it all this time, but again, I don’t see any results from it. There are no studies at all that show any efficacy for it. And I really don’t know whether it’s worth it. It has one unpleasant side effect – it makes me burp. A lot. And combining that with the bloody awful-tasting B vitamin makes for a very unpleasant experience. If I’m feeling nauseous for any reason, adding in the evening primrose oil makes me feel very ill indeed.

I’m not a believer in alt-med. I like my treatments to have a decent grounding in science. But I’ve taken these supplements faithfully, because that’s what the doc told me to do. I don’t know what to think of that – he’s highly qualified, very good at what he does, so he must know something about this, right? I’m not so sure. He says that some of his patients manage without any meds at all, just fish oil or evening primrose. I don’t know what to make of that either. Maybe they didn’t need meds at all? Or maybe the oils do something. I don’t know.

I don’t enjoy taking these, and I suspect that I may be wasting my money, but I don’t feel like I can question what the psychiatrist says.


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