Connection between depression, epilepsy and nutrition

Posted by erinorb @erinorb, May 23, 2016

My 21 year old son is very sick. His history involves him being very sensitive as a child (emotionally, mentally and physically) which manifested itself in numerous ways. His emotional sensitivity lead to him becoming a vegetarian at 14. Throughout high school he exhibited mild anxiety and sadness and saw a counselor but didn’t get a formal mental health diagnosis. At about 17 he started to display gastrointestinal issue – diarrhea and stomach pain. He went through a battery of tests during which nothing was found. Shortly after starting college he was diagnosed with depression and social anxiety and put on meds. Less than a year later he developed seizures and was put on more meds. He continues to suffer from chronic depression and epilepsy. As his mom I just can’t help but think all these health issues are related. Because he’s an adult we are not involved in his medical care and there is no cooperation among the doctors he sees – psychiatrist, neurologist and family practitioner. Help! Am I grasping at straws or is there some credence to my suspicions that all this is related?

@erinorb, though I don’t have challenges with epilepsy, I agree with @blooms44 and @beauti2000 and @dawn_giacabazi that given the difficulties experienced, pharmacogenomic (PGx) testing may be very beneficial. I originally had this testing done at Mayo Rochester, and it has helped me significantly. PGx tests actually saved my life.

My GI issues have been associated with anxiety in the past but more recently my IBS issues were associated to medication-metabolism issues. And we learned from these PGx tests that many medications didn’t work for me, including psych meds, because of my genetic drug polymorphisms. If he continues to have the challenges of depression while on medications, his metabolism of his medications could be negatively-affected by his other medications, or he could have polymorphisms that prevent his body from metabolizing the medications as intended, or both of these things could be happening. In the absence of psych meds, regular walking and using a light box are very helpful for me.

I had my first set of nine genetic tests performed via a blood draw at Mayo Rochester in March 2016, and then I had another set of 22 pharmacogenomic tests performed by OneOme (a Mayo Company) in March 2017 via mail order (gum swab). (Mail order pharmacogenomic testing company options depend on the state you live in, though there are workarounds for this. I live in NY and OneOme isn’t certified in NY, but since I have doctors in MN, a state that has certified OneOme, my Mayo docs were allowed to order the tests for me and have it sent to me.)

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I am epileptic (now controlled by lots of meds), intelligent, anxious, depressive, 83 years old, extrovert. My seizures started at age 45 when I started practicing law, big pressure. They stopped when I retired. My moods are directly related to my physical activity level, i.e. the more activity I get, the better I feel. No relation to diet or alcohol. I have hemochromatosis, well controlled. Now seizure free for 8 years, tapered off carbmazepine, feel so much better mentally. I am Canadian, the medical system is incredible, no charge for hospital visits! Suffer from diarrhea, don’t know why, use Immodium otc.

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@billbees

I am epileptic (now controlled by lots of meds), intelligent, anxious, depressive, 83 years old, extrovert. My seizures started at age 45 when I started practicing law, big pressure. They stopped when I retired. My moods are directly related to my physical activity level, i.e. the more activity I get, the better I feel. No relation to diet or alcohol. I have hemochromatosis, well controlled. Now seizure free for 8 years, tapered off carbmazepine, feel so much better mentally. I am Canadian, the medical system is incredible, no charge for hospital visits! Suffer from diarrhea, don’t know why, use Immodium otc.

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Welcome @billbees! You mention that you’ve successfully tapered off carbamazepine, but that you’re epilepsy is controlled by lots of meds. Are you taking other meds for epilepsy? Interesting that your moods have also improved since tapering off carbamazepine. What physical activities do you do?

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