Alternative Mental Health News, No. 55

Editor’s Comment

The day I write this I had a remarkable conversation with one of the speakers for Safe Harbor’s upcoming fourth annual medical conference on June 4-5, Non-Pharma IV, “Non-Pharmaceutical Approaches to Mental Disorders.” He is optometrist Dr. Herbert Solomon who explained to me his two decades of research in how the eyes affect the mind and how visual correction can improve anxiety, depression, “ADHD” symptoms, and other mental symptoms. He cited a book from the 1920s that laid down the original concepts behind his work.

Two days before I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Aziz Alnamani, a psychiatrist in the Sultanate of Oman on the Arabian Gulf. Dr. Alnamani has graciously offered to run a Safe Harbor chapter in his country (see below). He was telling me that most people in his country of 2.5 million people seek traditional healing first for mental disorders. They look to suggestions from the Koran, herbs, and other non-drug approaches that have stood the test of time in their culture.

And during the same time period, I have exchanged emails with Dr. Elemosho Funsho, a Nigerian physician who runs a psychiatric clinic in that African nation. He shared with enthusiasm the news that he treats psychiatric conditions and strokes in his clinic with traditional herbs, often getting recoveries in three days.

The same week we received a paper on bipolar disorder from Safe Harbor’s good friend, Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D., Ph.D., Native American author of Coyote Medicine, who teaches integrative psychiatry at the University of Arizona. He shared the story of how one woman lost her bipolar symptoms by moving in with a Native American family and gaining a different perspective.

What struck me most in communicating with these men was how MANY safe solutions truly exist for mental health conditions. And yet for decades Western psychiatry has educated the public that mental conditions are irreversible and can only be treated symptomatically through drugs.

The truth is that great hope DOES exist for those with mental disorders, if they have the desire to pursue solutions. To say otherwise not only flies in the face of the obvious, but does an unforgivable disservice to those who suffer.


It pleases us greatly to announce the creation of a new Safe Harbor chapter in the Sultanate of Oman, a mountainous country west of Yemen on the Arabian Gulf. The chapter will be run by Aziz Alnamani, M.D., respected psychiatrist and teacher at Sultan Qabous University Medical School in the Oman capital of Muscat.

Like many countries in the Middle East, Oman has felt the impact of Western culture, with junk food and a rise in diabetes (15% of the population) following.

Dr. Anamani feels there is a great hunger in his country for non-drug alternatives for mental health and he looks forward to bringing this information to his countrymen.

He is the only psychiatrist (and possibly the only physician) in Oman pioneering nutrition approaches. He has a strong interest in expanding his knowledge and we would like to encourage any physicians who may wish to share their knowledge of nutritional psychiatry with him. He may be contacted by email or phone.

His contact information is:

Safe Harbor Oman

Aziz Alnamani, MD

Box 192

P.c. 122

Muscat, Muscat 122

Sultanate of Oman

Phone: 968-99292979

Fax: 968-24493417



On March 9, Safe Harbor will hold its monthly Los Angeles support group featuring an hour of group discussion followed by a presentation on nutritional psychiatry by psychiatrist Nancy Mullan, MD.

The meeting place will not be the Safe Harbor office where previous meetings were held but will be at Glendale Adventist Medical Center.

RSVP to the Safe Harbor office at 323 257-7338.>/p>

When: 7PM-9PM, March 9, 2005

Where: Glendale Adventist Medical Center

Committee Room C

1509 Wilson Terrace

Glendale, California

(Note: Parking lot is $1-$2 – there is some street parking)


Hello friends,

Safe Harbor is launching its annual membership drive!

As most of you know, Safe Harbor is a nonprofit organization that educates the public, medical practitioners and government agencies on non-drug alternatives for mental disorders. We sponsor the world’s largest Internet site on this subject,

We are moving into our seventh year and we continue to change lives every day. Every week thousands come to our Web site for help and information. (See the success story below for one example.) In the past year, we have established Safe Harbor chapters in four other cities, including cities in India and Oman (next to Yemen on the Arabian Gulf). We continue to give well-received workshops to the public on nondrug alternatives.

Thanks to Safe Harbor’s work, the field of alternative mental health is growing rapidly and gaining favor in the public consciousness. Last year, the United Kingdom outlawed most major antidepressants in children, and they are seriously looking at the risks of these drugs in adults. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered “black box” warnings on antidepressant labeling to warn against increased suicide risks for children and adolescents. Now, more than ever, people are seeking safe alternatives for mental health.
Success Story

I have to write to you to say “thank you” for your information. I thought I was going insane! I have for the past week been drinking Crystal Light, religiously. About four days ago, I started with a slight headache which in a few words ended up with me crying hysterically, migraine, depressed (contemplating suicide!!!!), not being able to sleep, and being upset about everything! If you knew me, this is not me. Finally, I stopped drinking it and slept for about 15 hours. I got up and felt a little bit better. I then went to drink a glass and started with a bit of a headache and then I knew that perhaps this new drink was causing something in my head. I am a nurse and remember reading something about aspartame. I started researching and I am astounded. Everything you claim, happened to me in a matter of a week and a half. I am also frightened that it caused me to change so much. I wonder if I had not stopped and figured this out if I would be dead in a month. I felt like a different person, I was a different person. Those around me saw a different person. I wish this product was never made. Thank you for your research and web site.

Our continued success depends a great deal on the donations of people like you, who want to see the field of mental health and the lives of those involved improved. By partnering with us through your membership fees, you help us to deliver:

  • 24-Hour Access to
  • “AD(H)D” Educational Workshops for Parents, Teachers, Social Workers & the Public
  • Alternative Mental Health Workshops
  • Online Bookstore & Office Bookstore
  • Online Physician & Practitioner Referral List
  • Direct Phone Consultation
  • Community Mental Health Reform
  • Practitioner Training
  • … and more!

Please provide the information requested below, print out and mail with check or credit card information to:

Safe Harbor

1718 Colorado Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90041

You may also go to and make your donation online, or call 323-257-7338 and we will take your information by phone. Safe Harbor accepts Mastercard, Visa and American Express.

Membership levels

  • $1-44: Free Monthly Ezine (online newsletter)
  • $45: Free Monthly Ezine & Bumper Sticker
  • $75: Free Monthly Ezine, Bumper Sticker & T-shirt
  • (Circle size: S M L XL )
  • $125:Free Monthly Ezine, Bumper Sticker, T-shirt (specify size) and your choice of Book:
  • No More ADHD
  • Orthomolecular Treatment for Schizophrenia
  • PLUS 10% off annual medical conference!
  • $200+: Get all of the above and a special gift … and more!


Name _______________________________________________


Address _____________________________________________






Telephone _______________________


E-mail ___________________________


Credit Card No. _______________________ Exp. Date ________


Please deduct __________ from my credit card monthly.


Thank you very much for helping us to continue changing lives every day!


Please reply to if you have questions about membership or need more information.



Two years ago, the European Union Directive on Dietary Supplements was passed as part of a larger piece of legislation called Codex Alimentarius, severely restricting access to natural health products in Europe that will take effect in August 2005.

5,000 natural products will disappear because the EU Directive classifies vitamins and minerals in Europe as “medical drugs” rather than dietary supplements, meaning they’re subject to government regulation in terms of dose and availability.

The supplements that will be available will be restricted to multi-vitamins containing no more than 100 percent of the established RDA amounts, and supplements will be allowed to be made from only 15 minerals and 13 vitamins, eliminating 40 minerals. (If you think the pharmaceutical lobbies are behind this, you’re probably right!)

How does this affect the U.S.? As a member of the World Trade Organization, the U.S. will be bound by any finalized standards put forth in the Directive. If we ignore the regulations, we would face severe trade sanctions with other WTO countries.

There are three recommended actions to take:

1. Support a case brought by the British Alliance for Natural Health to overturn the European Food Supplements Directive. Visit the Alliance’s website,, become informed and make a donation to help support this effort in Europe. A detailed action page is available for practitioners and supplement providers.

2. Contact your U.S. Senators and ask them to oppose S.722, the Dietary Supplement Safety Act and your U.S. Congressmen to oppose H.R. 3377, the Dietary Supplement Access and Awareness Act, two dangerous and misnamed bills which call for restrictions similar to those outlined in the EU. See details at Josef Hasslberger’s site.

3. Also, tell your U.S. Senators and Congressmen to support U.S. Representative Ron Paul’s H.R. 1146, the American Sovereignty Restoration Act, restoring law-making and judging power to our elected representatives and American courts.

For more information, contact the American Holistic Health Association (, the Alliance for Natural Health (, or the International Advocates for Health Freedom (


You know the horrific stories one hears of parents who kill their children due to depression? Well, I understand these people. I became so disillusioned due to a lifetime of untreated bipolar symptoms (which deepened after giving birth to twins), that I felt that the only way I could protect my children from the sheer awfulness of life was to kill them. When I turned to pharmaceuticals, under the influence of Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, and many others I found I would still get to this point of complete despair, and so I would have to quit taking them in order to save my children and to save myself from becoming yet another incomprehensible story.

Two years ago (and fifteen years since the birth of my children, years of absolute misery), I set out on a quest to make myself well on my own; whatever it took, whatever self-help came my way, whatever I intuitively attracted to I would do. This has worked for me. It started out with a spiritual component which facilitated for the intuitive component to lead me on my journey.

I was first “led” to 5-HTP and Relora (an herbal blend of magnolia and philodendron), and to practice the water cure (, and to take handfuls of nutritional supplements (mega B vitamins, B12, Omega 3, lecithin, GABA and many others and my symptoms then reduced by at least 50%. I was also led to a job in the consumer self-help/peer support industry where I get lots of emotional support from others with mental health issues. I get on the job training in peer support methods which helps with the behavioral issues of my disorder so that I can help others as well. All this together reduced my symptoms even further.

Recently, I quit taking the 5-HTP and Relora in preference for a homeopathic product called Attend (by VAXA) which is actually formulated for ADD/ADHD but works well for my bipolar symptoms. My mood changes have reduced even more.

In the summer of ’04 I met some Safe Harbor people at the Alternatives in Mental Health Conference in Denver, Colorado. What a joy to meet others who believe that total recovery from mental illness is possible. My biggest frustration had been in seeking others who share this passion with me.


Prisons in England and Wales have discovered a cheap, safe and popular alternative to sedatives to help prisoners get to sleep: Dr Stuart’s Botanical Teas.

The “Tranquillity” and “Valerian Plus” blends have proven so effective at Downview jail, Surrey, that staff have all but stopped dispensing sedatives to women inmates.

News of the teas’ benefits has spread by word-of-mouth since were first introduced at Wandsworth men’s jail in South London four years ago. “They are very, very popular with prisoners,” a Prison Service spokeswoman said. They are being introduced into more prisons and are proving a good alternative to sedatives and other prescription drugs which can become addictive.”

Prisoners in Wandsworth started the trend towards herbal teas in jail when people suffering from stress and insomnia asked the prison pharmacy to order supplies. The teas are also being supplied to High Down men’s jail, in Surrey, and Lewes jail, in Sussex.

Tranquillity is a blend of limeflowers, hawthorn berries, yarrow and fennel, and Valerian Plus is a mix of limeflowers, valerian root, hops, passionflowers and fennel.

A spokesman for Dr Stuart’s Teas said: “We were contacted by Wandsworth prison pharmacy department as the teas had been requested by inmates – especially those inmates coping with stress and sleep problems.

“The herbal tea initiative has been welcomed by prison pharmacy departments, who are keen for prisoners to enjoy the healthy natural herbal remedies rather than becoming hooked on other habit forming drugs, which are also far more costly.”

The firm delivers 11 cases of tea or 2,640 tea bags to each jail every month at a cost of £120. The tea is distributed by the prisons’ healthcare departments.


A group of researchers at Italy’s University of Messina recently completed a study of Sicilian children linking “ADHD” with maternal hypothyroxinemia (iodine deficiency in the thyroid). Iodine is a key component of thyroid hormone, used in regulating growth and metabolism.

The researchers followed the children of 16 women in an area of Sicily where iodine deficiency is common, comparing them to children in a region where iodine is “marginally sufficient.”

ADHD was diagnosed in 11 of the 16 children from the iodine-deficient area, but in none of the comparison group.

Dr. Francesco Vermiglio, who led the study, told Reuters Health that he believes the ADHD symptoms and lower IQ scores in the study group resulted from maternal hypothyroxinemia in the first half of pregnancy.

Source: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology, December 2004.


High cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, and diabetes in midlife are each predictors of dementia later in life, according to a report in the Jan. 25 issue of Neurology.

“The bad news,” said study author Rachel Whitmer, from the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, “is that these risk factors, which we know are associated with risk of cardiovascular disease, also increase one’s risk of dementia. The good news is that if these risk factors are identified in middle age, it leaves some hope that earlier identification and earlier treatment might reduce or possibly prevent dementia.”

In their study, Whitmer and her colleagues collected data on 8,845 men and women aged 40 to 44, from 1964 to 1973. By looking at medical records, the research team was able to determine cardiovascular risk factors. And when the team looked at the same medical records from January 1994 to April 2003, they found that 721 patients had been diagnosed with dementia.

Each of the cardiovascular risk factors was found to be predictive. Those with diabetes were 46 percent more likely to develop dementia; those with high cholesterol were 42 percent more likely; people who smoked were 26 percent more likely, and those who had hypertension were 24 percent more likely.

“Earlier identification and treatment is really important,” Whitmer added. “Dementia is also another bad outcome of some of these common diseases.”

In a statement released in response to Whitmer’s study, the Alzheimer’s Association made these recommendations to keep dementia at bay:

* Stay mentally active: read, take a class, work crossword puzzles, play games.

* Stay physically active: walk, bike, jog, garden, practice tai chi or yoga.

* Remain socially involved: volunteer, take a dance class, travel.

* Adopt a brain healthy diet: eat dark-skinned fruits and vegetables, fish and nuts.

“This study agrees with data coming from various studies,” said Dr. Samuel Gandy, vice chairman of the National Medical and Scientific Advisory Council of the Alzheimer’s Association. “We know that Alzheimer’s begins at least 10 or more years before the first clinical signs are evident. You can’t sort of wait and try to get all these things under control when you’re 50 or 55.”


Curcumin, the yellow pigment in turmeric (curry spice), may be one of the reasons India has among the world’s lowest Alzheimer’s disease rates, according to a new UCLA-Veterans Affairs study.

Less than 1 percent of Indians over 65 have Alzheimer’s. In America the rate is 3 percent in the 65-74 age group, and dramatically higher at more advanced ages, according to the National Institutes of Health. Well known for its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is a staple of the Indian diet. These facts led study co-author Sally Frautschy to test curcumin as an alternative to anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin), which have dangerous side effects.

Dietary curcumin was found effective against injected amyloid proteins in the brains of aged lab mice, which also outperformed the control group in memory-dependent maze tests.

Additionally, when the researchers added curcumin to human beta-amyloid proteins in a test tube, the formation of amyloid fibers was blocked.

Reporting in the Dec. 7, 2004, online edition of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the research team said the low molecular weight and polar structure of curcumin allow it to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and bind to beta amyloid, preventing the formation of amyloid fibers that make up Alzheimer’s plaques.

“Unlike ibuprofen, curcumin has the additional benefit of reducing oxidative damage of the brain, which is several-fold elevated in Alzheimer’s disease and likely contributes greatly to memory loss,” said Frautschy.

“We believe curcumin will do three important things: trigger clearance of amyloid already present; reverse oxidative damage contributing to memory loss; [and] reduce toxic substances associated with chronic inflammation.”

The researchers have secured funding for a clinical trial to establish safe and effective doses in Alzheimer’s patients.

“The prospect of finding a safe and effective new approach to both prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease is tremendously exciting,” said principal investigator Gregory Cole.


Nordic Naturals, a leading supplier of fish oil and essential fatty acid nutritional supplements, has announced the results of a trial that showed beneficial effects of essential fatty acids (EFAs) on language and learning skills in children with autism and Asperger’s syndrome.

The study, completed in 2004, was conducted by Louise Patrick, a licensed speech and language pathologist, and Ronald Salik, at a pediatric clinic in Arizona. A report of the pilot trial can be found in the January/February 2005 issue of Autism-Asperger’s Digest.

The three-month, open-label study provided 18 children, ranging from 3 to 10 years of age, with daily supplemental EFAs in the form of Complete Omega, a fish oil-based EFA product from Nordic Naturals. Complete Omega (ProEFA in the professional line) is a combination of omega-3 EFAs from purified fish oil and omega-6 EFAs from purified borage oil.

The children were evaluated for increases in language ability by study investigators on Day 0 and Day 90 of supplementation; an adult who was familiar with the child also conducted an evaluation at Day 45. Language and learning skills were assessed using the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills.

All of the children displayed significant increases in their language and learning skills after supplementation. Statistical analysis, which was completed at the University of Arizona, demonstrated that the increase in scores from Day 0 to Day 90 in each of the eight areas measured had high statistical significance.

The investigators stressed the importance of fish oil purity and of beginning with the lowest possible dose for this population.


The “placebo effect” was discovered by doctors prescribing sugar pills to hypochondriac patients and getting positive results. “Placebo” is Latin for “I shall please.”

Placebo pills are used in clinical trials to determine what part of the test result is simply due to getting a pill from a doctor. But the term “sugar pill” is a misnomer these days, according to a recent Health Sciences Institute e-Alert:

“The fact is, drug companies make their own placebo pills for research purposes, and for each individual study they create a unique placebo formula – sometimes including ingredients that match ingredients in the drugs being tested. But the contents of placebos are never revealed.

“Before conducting human trials for drugs, pharmaceutical companies are often fully aware of many of the side effects of the products they’re testing. So, for instance, if a drug is known to cause dizziness and nausea, the drug company running the test may want the placebo to have the same side effects. And they have an explanation for this. They say the placebo should mimic the drug being tested so that the control group of the experiment will have side effects similar to the placebo group. Without that, they claim, the results of a blind study would be compromised.

“There are plenty of gray areas to debate in that logic, but for the moment let’s focus on the idea of what they call an ‘active placebo,’ designed to mimic the side effects of a tested drug. And with that in mind let’s look at an advertising campaign for a popular allergy medication. In the TV ads, when the moment arrives to list the side effects, the voice-over says, ‘The most common side effects – including headache, drowsiness, fatigue and dry mouth – occurred about as often as they did with a sugar pill.’

“A sugar pill? Really? Just what kind of ‘sugar pill’ were the researchers using that caused headache, drowsiness, fatigue and dry mouth? Sounds to me like a sugar pill with a little something added. But they want us to believe that this medication will produce side effects no more serious than what you’d get with a TicTac.”

For a free e-Alert subscription, see



How would you like to improve how you relate to others and become more energetic at the same time without having to purchase anything? Here’s a surprising truth – one of the most powerful weapons to enhance your life is your own tongue!

A powerful pep zapper is distress over troubled relationships! Worrying about them can quickly siphon off needed energy. So why not try a more effective way to resolve these problems?

Here’s a simple five-point plan for improving relationships and increasing your energy level at the same time.

1. Practice speaking encouraging words instead of negative ones.

Concentrate on the qualities in other people that you can affirm and dwell on those things instead of on their faults. This alone should do wonders in relieving stress in your relationships.

Doctors know that prolonged anxiety harms you, but healing words can soothe stress and a peaceful mind leads to improved physical health too. What we say can have a permanent effect for good or for evil. Think back in your own life when someone encouraged you. You still remember what they said, don’t you?

We store in our minds in a kind of mental art gallery what others have said to us. What words of yours would you like to have permanently installed in someone else’s mind?

2. Avoid fueling verbal fires.

When someone starts to blow up all over you, be careful about your response. Why burn your relationship house down with your own mouth? Try spraying water on an argument with calm words instead of using a flame-thrower.

How many marriages have been destroyed when in a fit of anger people spew out hurtful accusations to one another that are never forgotten. You might as well punch a hole in a feather pillow and let the feathers fly all over the place and then try to collect them one by one! You can’t get back the damaging effects of those hurtful words either.

Want to free yourself from an entrapping verbal situation? Practice waiting a while before answering someone when you’re angry. Then carefully choose what you are going to say. Your reply could well be remembered for the rest of the other person’s life!

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1 NKJV).

3. Don’t be a motormouth.

Listen more than you talk and think about what you’re going to say before you say it. Don’t just blurt out whatever is on your mind. People who constantly chatter on and on about themselves and their opinions strain their relationships. If you enjoy monopolizing conversations, think about what other people may be experiencing when they’re with you.

Also, the more you talk, the more likely you’ll be to put your foot in your mouth. That’s known as “foot-in-mouth disease!” So think before you let something out that you’ll regret saying.

4. Nip hurtful speech in the bud by carefully choosing your thoughts.

If you could put what you’re thinking on a CD, what would you entitle it? Thought patterns will come out sooner or later in your conversations.

Abraham Lincoln is remembered as being one of the United States of America’s greatest presidents. But he experienced many failures along the way. These failures were in the areas of formal education (which was very limited), business, farming and in obtaining desired political offices. If Lincoln had thought of himself as a loser when he failed so many times in life, he would have been unable to fulfill his destiny.

5. Pray for healing words to tap the Source of wisdom.

Consider praying about what you are saying. Here’s a to-the-point prayer:

“Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips” (Psalms 141:3).

Want to have a better life? Choose better words! Start afresh today to create beautiful art-word exhibitions in other people’s minds with loving and caring words.