When he released his self-help book offering strategies to recover from bipolar disorder in early 2018, teaching psychologist and licensed nutrition counselor Michael Rose was confident the book had the potential to help a lot of people. Bipolar Wellness: How to Recover from Bipolar Illness has done that and more.
Recently recognized with two Silver medal awards from the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and the Foreward Reviews Indies Book of the Year contest, the book has captured the attention of leading researchers in the field of psychology, particularly because of the claim that bipolar disorder is a nutritional deficiency disease. Rose, who has a high level of recovery from Bipolar Disorder according to his doctors, wants to share what he has discovered with others. Over 1,000 copies have already sold on Amazon and in bookstores.
The book includes 20 recovery-oriented chapters offering practical advice on exercise, organization skills, support groups, addictions, medication, therapy, creativity and self-esteem. In other words, the book offers a complete program of recovery, with many tools readers can use to achieve their own recovery.
The key chapter in the book, however, is on nutritional research. The book affirms that the modern diet is low in DHA, and that individuals sensitive to a lack of DHA may exhibit psychiatric symptoms. DHA or Docosahexaenoic acid is one of the omega-3 fatty acids. DHA turns on the growth of new brain cells, offers protection for existing brain cells, and enhances the ability of one brain cell to connect to the next, which is called neuroplasticity. The human brain is nearly 60 percent fat, a quarter of which is DHA.
Even if Bipolar Disorder is a nutritional deficiency disease, we don’t know enough yet to treat with DHA alone. But research does show that this nutritional treatment may allow for lower doses and fewer medications, and thus less side effects. Many patients stop taking their medicine because of side effects, so DHA holds the potential for increased compliance by making treatment feel better.
Rose insists that patients should keep taking their medications and work with their physicians to add DHA to their treatment program. Many research articles are included in the book for patients to copy and bring to their doctor so they can learn how to use this breakthrough nutritional treatment in their medical practice.
The book lists DHA brands available online and in health food stores. Also listed are prescription triglyceride medicines that have large amounts of DHA that a doctor can prescribe off-label for bipolar disorder, including Lovaza (GlaxoKlineSmith), Epanova (AstraZeneca), OMTRYG (Trygg Pharma) and Triklo (Key Therapeutics).
“I have been conducting research in this area for over 20 years and there is now abundant evidence that bipolar disorder, as well as other major psychiatric illnesses are associated with significant DHA deficiencies,” said Dr. Robert McNamara, Professor of Psychiatry in the Division of Bipolar Disorders Research at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
He continued, “As discussed in the book, there are many historical precedents for a causal relationship between chronic micronutrient deficiency and adverse physical and/or neurological symptoms and disease. Nevertheless, diet and nutrition remain a largely neglected aspect of psychiatric practice. By raising awareness of the link between DHA and bipolar wellness, Michael’s book represents an important step in the right direction.
“The public is generally not aware of research findings until they are put into the public domain. Michael’s book goes well beyond making simplistic claims and tackles both sides of the argument in a logical, easy to understand, manner. I strongly appreciate his efforts to increase the public’s awareness about the importance of DHA for the treatment and potentially prevention of psychiatric disorders including bipolar disorder.”
Dr. Robert McNamara isn’t the only one singing the book’s praises. Bipolar Wellness has won recognition in two leading national book award contests. The highly prestigious Benjamin Franklin Awards, administered by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), named the book as a Silver Winner in the Psychology category in its 31st annual contest, where panels of 162 judges evaluated over 1,500 submissions in 54 categories. The nonprofit IBPA is the largest trade association representing independent publishers in the United States.
Bipolar Wellness also won Silver in the Psychology category of the Foreword Reviews Indies Book of the Year Contest. For that program, more than 2,000 entries were submitted in 56 categories judged by a panel of over 120 librarians and booksellers. Foreword Reviews exclusively covers university and independent (non “Big 5”) publishers, the books they publish and their authors, and is widely read by bookstore owners and librarians.
Even though the basis is nutritional, Rose insists that patients should keep taking their medications and work with their physicians to add DHA to their treatment program. This may allow for fewer medications and lower doses. “We don’t know enough about using DHA at this point to use it alone to treat Bipolar Disorder. Many research articles are included in the book for patients to copy and bring to their doctors so they can learn how to add this breakthrough nutritional supplement to their treatment program.