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Orthomolecular psychiatry is a branch of orthomolecular medicine that believes that specific dietary supplements and measures may be effective in treating mental illness. Specific techniques commonly employed include individual biochemical workup, dietary measures, juice fasting, supplementation of essential nutrients especially vitamins C and B-3, minerals and identifying allergies.

It has used such techniques, including megadoses of vitamins, in the treatment of alcoholism, drug addiction, anxiety, autism, depression, hyperactivity, ADHD, Alzheimer's Disease, retardation, senility, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Pioneered in the 1950s by psychiatric physician-biochemists, Abram Hoffer and Humphry Osmond in Canada, the embryonic field of orthomolecular psychiatry was further advanced by the efforts and support of Carl Pfeiffer, David Horrobin[1] and Linus Pauling.

Potentially impacting (then) conventional psychiatric markets and methodologies such as extended analysis, indefinite hospitalization, invasive procedures (e.g. electroshock) and neuroleptics, orthomolecular psychiatry is controversial. Some studies claim to it to be of no use. Mark Vonnegut discusses this regimen in his memoir The Eden Express. Vonnegut, a Harvard-trained pediatrician who practices in Boston, Massachusetts, once advocated the use of orthomolecular psychiatry but later disavowed such certainty after medical school.

As of 2005, orthomolecular psychiatry remains to be adequately tested and independently verified by conventional authoritative bodies. "Controlled studies using the orthomolecular approach have been few. Those that were done were performed in chronic schizophrenia or in populations that included bipolar and schizoaffective patients. Both of these diagnostic groups are not today considered to benefit from the orthomolecular approach. Moreover, some negative studies of high-dose niacin were done in patients who were not otherwise given general counseling for good diet...";[2] compared with a basic, modern orthomolecular regimen. [3]

Previous critics have noted that the claims of proponents are considered unsubstantiated by conventional psychiatry. Conventional authoritative bodies such as the National Institute of Mental Health[How to reference and link to summary or text] and American Academy of Pediatrics[How to reference and link to summary or text] have historically criticized orthomolecular treatments as ineffective and potentially toxic. A 1973 task force of the American Psychiatric Association charged with investigating orthomolecular claims, but instead focused on niacin monotherapeutically, [4] concluded:

This review and critique has carefully examined the literature produced by megavitamin proponents and by those who have attempted to replicate their basic and clinical work. It concludes in this regard that the credibility of the megavitamin proponents is low. Their credibility is further diminished by a consistent refusal over the past decade to perform controlled experiments and to report their new results in a scientifically acceptable fashion.<i>
<i>Under these circumstances this Task Force considers the massive publicity which they promulgate via radio, the lay press and popular books, using catch phrases which are really misnomers like "megavitamin therapy" and "orthomolecular treatment," to be deplorable.<i>

Proponents consider the APA task force report error laden with sweeping, scientifically unfounded conclusions,[5] highly politicized, and that its studies failed to use similar methods, materials and subjects as the orginal work.[6] The APA report's criticism alleges inadequate controlled trials because Hoffer quit running additional blinded tests that he had come to view as unethical <i>for his patients<i>, especially since the results of his previous double blinded tests went unheeded.[7] The APA's assertion is made despite Hoffer's claim to have run the first double blind controlled test in psychiatry, on megavitamin therapies, with a total four double blinded tests, up to 19 years before the APA task force report, as well as being supported by two independent double blinded tests [8] and an extensive biochemical research program.[9] One of the APA report's six authors, psychologist JR Wittenborn, reacting to Hoffer's specific criticisms, later re-analyzed his original double blind study[10] favorably with respect to orthomolecular psychiatry, obtaining the same result as Hoffer,[11] and never received NIMH or APA support again.[12] Wittenborn's latter report also goes unquoted by critics. Another of the APA report's authors, then NIMH member Loren Mosher, later resigned from the American Psychiatric Association in total disgust,[13] which he also called a "drug company patsy." [14]

Many orthomolecular physicians still prescribe neuroleptics, initially. However, the long term avoidance of neuroleptics is the main goal. Pfeiffer's Law, actually a dictum, states, "For every drug that benefits a patient, there is a natural substance that can achieve the same effect."

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

BooksEdit

  • Abram Hoffer, Morton Walker (2002) Smart Nutrients: Prevent and Treat Alzheimer's, Enhance Brain Function, CCNM Press, ISBN 1-890612-26-X
  • Abram Hoffer (July 2004) Healing Schizophrenia: Complementary Vitamin & Drug Treatments, CCNM Press, ISBN 1-897025-08-4
  • Abram Hoffer (2004) Healing Children's Attention & Behavior Disorders: Complementary Nutritional & Psychological Treatments, CCNM Press, ISBN 1-897025-10-6
  • Eva Edelman (2001) Natural Healing for Schizophrenia: And Other Common Mental Disorders, Borage Books; 3rd Rev ed, ISBN 0-9650976-7-6
  • Eric Braverman, Carl Pfeiffer, K. Blum, R. Smayda (2003) The Healing Nutrients Within: Facts, Findings, and New Research on Amino Acids, 3rd ed, Basic Health Publications, ISBN 1-59120-037-7
  • Carl C. Pfeiffer (1988) Nutrition and Mental Illness : An Orthomolecular Approach to Balancing Body Chemistry, Healing Arts Press, ISBN 0-89281-226-5
  • Birkmayer JGD & Birkmayer W, "The coenzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) as biological antidepressive agent. Experience with 205 Patients.", New Trends in Clinical Neuropharmacology, 5:19-25, 1991.
  • Melvyn R. Werbach (1999) Nutritional Influences on Mental Illness, 2nd edition, Third Line Press, ISBN 0-9618550-8-8


PapersEdit

External linksEdit



FootnotesEdit

  1. [1] David Horrobin Bibliography
  2. Treatment of Acute Schizophrenia With Vitamin Therapy, Beersheva Mental Health Center, 2005
  3. C Dean, E Meininger, Don't be a Big Pharma Victim - Use Common Sense, NewsWithViews.com, October 20, 2005
  4. Linus Pauling, On the Orthomolecular Environment of the Mind: Orthomolecular Theory, Am J of Psychiatry 131:1251-1257, Nov 1974[2] Pauling shows Task Force neglected to examine vitamins B6 and C; overlooked positive niacin results (small test group, statistically not significant); used substoichimetric, chemically inadequate amounts of niacin to overcome spiked methionine in another test</span> </li>
  5. [3] Linus Pauling, On the Orthomolecular Environment of the Mind: Orthomolecular Theory, American Journal of Psychiatry 131:1251-1257, November 1974[4] </li>
  6. Megavitamin Therapy In Reply To Task Force Report on Megavitamin and Orthomolecular Therapy in Psychiatry. Canadian Schizophrenia Foundation. August 1976 </li>
  7. Abram Hoffer, Adventures in Psychiatry: The Scientific Memoirs of Dr. Abram Hoffer, KOS Publishing, Toronto, 2005 Review </li>
  8. Wittenborn JR, Weber ESP & Brown M: Niacin in the long term treatment of schizophrenia. Arch Gen Psychiatry 28:308-15, 1973. </li>
  9. [5] A Hoffer, H. Osmond, The Adrenochrome Hypothesis, J Orthomolecular Medicine, Vol 14, No. 1, 1999 </li>
  10. Wittenborn JR, Weber ESP & Brown M: Niacin in the long term treatment of schizophrenia. Arch Gen Psychiatry 28:308-15, 1973. </li>
  11. Wittenborn JR: A Search for Responders to Niacin Supplementation. Arch Gen Psych 31:547-552, 1974 </li>
  12. [6] Abram Hoffer, The Vitamin Paradigm Wars, Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, June 1996 </li>
  13. [7] Loren R. Mosher, M.D. to Rodrigo Munoz, M.D., President of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), Letter of Resignation from the American Psychiatric Association, 4 December 1998 </li>
  14. [8] obituary for Loren Mosher, Washington Post, July 2004 </li></ol>
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