Before there was psychiatry and neurology, there was neuropsychiatry. It argued that diseases of the body had internal and external factors. It’s only been in the last 20 years, since science has understood that relationship between autoimmune diseases and neuropsychiatric disorders, that the field has made significant strides.
Now it seems that there are some viable alternative therapies that are targeting these psychiatric disorders from a more organic angle. Treating symptoms such as schizophrenia, OCD, depression, bipolar disorder meant relying on monoamine–based drugs were sometimes used to promote serotonin brain function.
Pharmaceutical companies threw a lot of money into those kinds of treatments but in the late 1990’s, the well started to run dry and only half of those who took these drugs actually saw full remission. There needed to be new with just as good if not better results.
Alternative research had shown that disorders such as depression and schizophrenia had common physical causes. Inflammation and oxidative stress were the common threads between these diseases that resulted in reduced neuronal growth proteins and increased apoptosis, cell death, which led to these mood disorders.
The Importance of NAC
N-Acetyl Cysteine, NAC, is an amino acid that has been used to treat acetaminophen poisoning or reduce mucus that plagues certain lung diseases as well as cystic fibrosis. It’s also in clinical trials to help reduce symptoms of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders.
NAC has antioxidant properties that make it a good candidate to deal with the inflammatory and oxidative damage that stunted cell reactivation and neuron growth. Studies have shown that mood disorder symptoms, such as apathy and depression, have been reduced and NAC was even shown to lessen cravings for cocaine, nicotine, and marijuana.
This amino acid has opened up the potential treatment possibilities that include the use of omega-3 fatty acids and even some anti-diabetic protocols to treat the inflammation or the oxidation component in different ways.
Acknowledging and proving that there are physical causes behind disorders that were once thought to be purely psychiatric could lead to finding better treatments for other neuro-degenerative conditions such as dementia or even Huntington’s disease.
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Mike Bundrant is author of the new book, Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage.