Feingold Program

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Carmy, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. Carmy

    Carmy New Member

    Hi - I'm new to this - obviously I haven't signed my profile the same as everyone else. I'll figure it out! I'm researching diet and the Feingold Program for my son who is 10 and has been diagnosed with a mood disorder, probably bi-polar and has all the symptoms of ADHD but no medications have really made a big difference. Just hoping for some feedback. Thank you!
  2. OTE

    OTE Active Member

    The book The Bipolar Child is the most comprehensive info you'll find on Childhood Onset Bipolar Disorder (COBP). There's nothing there, and I've never heard anything in any other setting, that suggests that diet affects BiPolar (BP) or any mood disorder. In a long term way anyway. Personally I'm a depressive and chocolate can make me happy for awhile! Lots of foods can affect our mood in a minor way but it won't affect the underlying illness or offer any real relief.

    BiPolar (BP) and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) are often co-morbid. So you might try the online Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) assessment for some quick insight into whether Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) is something worth looking into. With regard to Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) some people have reduced symptoms with diet changes. Particularly, gluten and casein free diets. Note that it doesn't work for all, doesn't eliminate the neurological issues of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), etc. But if your child has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) it's always worth trying as it's harmless.

    Since many BiPolar (BP) kids are "hyperactive" and diagnosis ADHD before the BiPolar (BP) diagnosis, same with mild Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids, you'll find a lot of others here who have been in the position of not having much luck with stims for ADHD. Of course, ADHD can be co-morbid with either. But if stims haven't helped... actually, they typically make a non-ADHD child more active, irritable, etc.... just as "speed" would. One diet trick I learned from an ADHD Mom is to give my ADHD kid plain Coke. For some kids it calms the ADHD kid for an hour or two anyway.
  3. Carmy

    Carmy New Member

    THank you! I should have explained more - he is on wellbutrin for the mood disorder and it has made him more stable, no rages anymore, but still quite hyper and highly oppositional and irritable at times. It cycles. Sometimes there is pattern, sometimes not. I just wonder if diet changes would help but insurance doesn't cover food and allergy testing.
  4. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    It really is important that the actual "mood disorder" be properly identified, because depending on the causes of his disorder, Wellburtin could make him worse. For instance, if he is bipolar, he should not be taking an antidepressant unless his moods are already relatively controlled by a mood stablizer. Wellbutrin can cause or increase mood cycling.
  5. transformtriumph

    transformtriumph New Member

    You may want to pop over to the Natural Treatments, where you will find more info on allergies and diet. Diet makes a big difference, as well as other changes in lifestyle.
  6. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I agree with typical teen. My difficult child is almost a easy child now that we have her underlying medical condition being addressed.
  7. OTE

    OTE Active Member

    The Wellbutrin is an anti-depressant. For many BiPolar (BP) kids this is a problem, again, pushes them into mania. For a unipolar depressive it might be Ok but again, check out the book.
  8. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I started Missy on the Feingold diet. It made a big difference. Gradually, as the diet states, I began introducing things back into her diet. I found that her biggest triggers are corn syrup (chemically altered corn starch) and food coloring. (To be quite honest, I think those things trigger easy child's too. It does with mine, but just not to the extremes and he just gets a bit hyper. I've never had raging with him.) I have even found out that too much of natural food colorants can cause problems and even the products that are found in "organic" gum.

    Feingold is going to be tough on a 10 year old. I started Missy when she was four and it wasn't so bad. She knows what she's not supposed to have now, even though she does sneak things in once in a while. I can always tell, because she either rages, gets extremely moody or gets extremely emotional.

    You can check out feingold.com and it explains the diet in more detail.
  9. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I don't know much about the Feingold Program but I would encourage you to look into diet. My daughter, diagnosed with ODD and depression, has turned into a easy child on the gluten/casein free diet. When she cheats, she shows her difficult child side again. We changed her diet for health reasons but we could tell in a few days that it was impacting her behaviour.

    She was never diagnosis'ed bipolar but her t-doctor and I thought that is what would happen. A p-doctor we consulted for a second opinion suggested it might be Intermittent Explosive Disorder. I believe, after seeing the results in my daughter, that some people diagnosis'ed with mood disorders have an underlying food allergy causing it. I don't know if that means they don't really have the mood disorder or if they really do but it can be controlled by diet. Either way, it is impossible to completely avoid the foods so the problems will still be there at times. In my daughter's (and my) case, the medications helped for a while but kept needing to be increased. Removing our trigger foods has meant I have been able to get off my a/d, and my daughter has decreased her dose by 1/2. She cheats and/or makes enough mistakes that we haven't completely discontinued hers, but we are still working on it.

    My other daughter was not diagnosis'ed with ADHD but was considered "impulsive, hyperactive, and easily distracted with attention issues" by the neuropsychologist. That has gone away now that she has eliminated gluten and casein from her diet.

    My older daughter started the girlfriend/CF diet when she was 10. I am very indulgent with junk food as long as it is girlfriend/CF so she doesn't feel deprived. She is extremely compliant especially for an ODD child! I think the Feingold diet is more restrictive so I don't know what "junk" or kid food is available.

    Instead of testing for allergies, you could completely remove the suspected food for a while and then re-introduce to see if you notice any changes. The top 8 allergens are wheat(I would eliminate all gluten, not just wheat), milk, soy, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts.
  10. Carmy

    Carmy New Member

    Thank you for all the input - how do I even begin a gluten free diet?? That is what overwhelms me. I once again wasn't clear about my son. He has been diagnosed bi-polar by his psychiatrist but she just wanted me to set aside the label and not get too focused on the label itself, hence the mood disorder "label"! He has really stabilized in many ways on the wellbutrin. Didn't see a big difference on tri-leptal, nor all the adhd medications, which is why I'm considering diet now. But it just overwhelms me to know where to begin and what to take out and since I'm probably habitually feeding him things that are "easy" what do I replace the easy foods with? I know I do need to change my profile too - I'll get to it eventually! I'm glad I found this website though!
  11. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    To do a gluten free diet, you will have to read labels and possibly make a lot of unprocessed food. You have to eliminate all wheat which will be clearly labeled, rye, oats, and barley which can be listed as malt or hidden in natural flavoring.

    For breakfast, you could do eggs, grits, most sausage or bacon (read the label), some yogurts, milk, juice (but watch out for natural flavor), Fruity or Cocoa Pebbles cereal

    For lunch, lunch meat and cheese, fruit, potato chips (check the label), Fritos, Cheetos, some fruit rollups or fruit snacks, Jello pudding, Tyson chicken legs

    For dinner, meat (but if already seasoned or marinated, read the label), rice or potatoes, veggie

    Also most ice cream, a lot of candy, popcorn, hot dogs, hamburgers

    Those are all easy, regular foods. If you end up doing it long-term, you can make bread, cakes, cookies, waffles, or pretty much anything. A lot of the baked goods that you can buy are not very good, so I wouldn't start with those or you could scare him off the idea.

    We saw a change in a few days for my daughter but I'm not sure it is always that quick. It sounds difficult but once you figure out what he can eat, it isn't that bad and if it works, you will not mind the extra trouble. You can read more about the diet at www.glutenfreeforum.com.
  12. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    "Thank you for all the input - how do I even begin a gluten free diet?? That is what overwhelms me. I once again wasn't clear about my son. He has been diagnosed bi-polar by his psychiatrist but she just wanted me to set aside the label and not get too focused on the label itself, hence the mood disorder "label"! He has really stabilized in many ways on the wellbutrin. Didn't see a big difference on tri-leptal, nor all the adhd medications, which is why I'm considering diet now."

    I would never discourage anyone from trying diet changes or considering what might be considered non-traditional causes of the behaviors we see in our children. These behaviors have many different causes and thus many different "cures" or treatments. The big problem is finding out what's wrong with our individual children.

    That said, you posted that your son is "stable" because there are fewer rages but then go on to describe his (increased?) cycling. If he is cycling, he is not mood stable and that is true espeically for a child who has been secretly diagnosed bipolar.

    Stims will not help a bpkid who is not mood stable on a first line mood stabizer. They will likely make him worse.

    I'd bet the farm that your son was not on a therapeutic dose of Trileptal and wasn't on it for the weeks or months that it takes for mood stabilizers to work. But I won't bet that if he was he would have gotten stable. Just being on a first line mood stablizer (if we are considering Trileptal that) at a therapeutic dose for the appropriate period of time is not a guarantee that it will stabilize moods. What mood stablizers usually do is reduce the number of mood swings and lessen their severity, not eliminate them. And, unfortunately, they all don't work for all people; Trileptal may be the wrong one for him. Or he may not be bipolar.

    And finally, Wellburtin is not approved for use by children nor is it recommended, let alone approved, for use to treat bipolar disorder. In fact, psychopharmacologist, the American Psychiatric Association and the FDA warn against using just antidepressants to treat bipolar. The doctor's advice to set aside the bipolar "label" and call it something else is not good medical advice because she isn't properly treating the disorder she's diagnosed.
  13. Carmy

    Carmy New Member

    Oh wow, I'm really overwhelmed now. He was on trileptal for several months and we didn't see a huge difference. The psychiatrist focused on the fears and anxieties he had and they have gone away anyway. Maybe he isn't truly bipolar if wellbutrin has stabilized him. When I say cycles, I mean he is extra irritable for a while and then "easy going" for a few days and then back to irritable. Almost always really hyper. Bouncing off the walls is what I say often in this house. I just don't even know where to begin or what else to ask the dr. about. We just had a six month visit with her, we have to drive two hours each way to see her, and felt that for the most part he was doing okay. She wants to try to get him off of wellbutrin in the summer when he's out of school, but last time we tried he got more irritable. We just do not know what to do! It is so hard - I want to try to change his diet, but there are so many things to try, it's hard to know where to start. Thanks for all the input!
  14. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    I can say driving 2 hours each way is not really unusual. Lots of people here travel to get quality psychiatrist care and decent treatment. I am in IL also and I go 2.5 hours each way to psychiatrist. The secret is that if the psychiatrist IS good------the travel time turns out to be a great investment becuz if the psychiatrist is good-------you get that time spent traveling back into your life in so many many ways------as in less outburts, less rages, less meltdowns, less medication changes, less school problems etc. and as things get better you often can reduce the frequency of visits.
  15. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    You know, it really hard to talk about this stuff. We use a lot of the same terms to describe our kids but sometimes it turns out that we don't mean the same thing.

    Stabilize means mood stable to me. All moods, not just depression. I can't get a grasp of what you mean by stable. Hyper can mean mania or it can mean just an excitably full of life kid.

    However, withdrawing an antidepressant can in and of itself cause mood swings unrelated to the reason the antidepressant was prescribed. This is known because people who have been given antidepressants for reasons unrelated to depression or mood disorders (there are many, many reasons people are precribed antidepressants), they have the same issues during withdrawal as people taking the drug for depression and mood disorders. Antidepressants should always be discontinued very slowly unless there is a reason why that can't be done. Even gradually reducing the dose, acute withdrawal can last about two weeks after taking the last pill; chronic withdrawal can last months.
  16. OTE

    OTE Active Member

    If you go to the natural treatments forum and the archives for that you'll find lots of info on gluten and casein free diets. As someone else suggested though, do try immediately taking him off of ALL food dyes. The Feingold or gluten, casein will take you a bit more time to totally clear from his diet. Right now read every label and if it says food dyes, don't let him have it. Tell school the same. You'll be amazed what this eliminates. Pure apple juice, grape juice, orange juice are fine. But check the label to be sure it's not good food coloring added.

    In terms of the gluten and casein free diets, many labels for the glutens in particular say gluten free. There are many websites with recipes and even prepared foods that you can buy. It's not anywhere as hard as it seems any more.
  17. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Before we knew our difficult child was indeed bipolar we changed our diet, we had always eaten healthy, but we went to a basically no high fructose,no partially hydogonated oils, no dies, no fast food, no soda, tried no dairy and try to eat mostly organic, small farm grown etc. very little meat. Did we see any changes with difficult child??? NO. But we are healthier!!! I feel good about our diets...It can't hurt to try it though, especially if your difficult child ends up not BiPolar (BP).

    Especially now that she is on medications and struggles with the weight gain... she will eat tofu and rice or soybeans with chicken etc. We do fight about the carbs and she does want more homemade goodies... But I put more whole grains or flax or nuts or sneak fruit in the snacks I bake.

    We also have to travel pretty far for our psychiatrist- from Idaho to Chicago!!! A 4 hour non-stop flight that we have to be up for at 3am and it only leaves once a day or 7 to 9 hour flight with stops...yuck. But UIC was the only place taking new patients so quickly, and our difficult child was having psychotic episodes with non-stop talk of wanting to die. Right now where I live they informed me at the hospital that we are "officially" in crisis mode regarding psychiatrists!!! We are losing one and not one is taking new patients, but I did get an in with one psychiatrist in 3 months who is 2 hours away, so I took the apt. Out of state...
    My difficult child does what is called ultra ultra rapid cycling, she cycles up and down multiple times a day, it may change as she gets older and hits puberty.

    Another good book out is "Parenting a bipolar child" Dr. Faedda It is a new book, he is out of new york.

    Hang in there and keep pushing for answers if something doesn't feel right...
  18. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    I think keeping away from red/yellow dyes can help a lot. Also having snacks throughout the day can keep hunger at bay. The problem with diets is that they demand more flexibility and adaptability from a child and can be very frustrating. When it comes to food , we don't have much control on the tastes of our kids.
  19. Carmy

    Carmy New Member

    I have read the bipolar child and the explosive child and many more - we've been seeing a psychiatrist for the past four and a half years. However, sometimes I feel like I know less now than I thought I did. I think sometimes the medications he is given that we have tried, many we have tried, are maybe not the best and they are based on our experience and opinions that may not be as clear as they should be. He really doesn't get in trouble at school for bad behavior but he has a hard time with math and being organized is IMPOSSIBLE. When I refer to him as stable, all I mean, is that we don't have the rages all day long. He is very strong willed but doesn't get physically violent and really really angry. He is much better that way. What to do what to do.