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Introduction to the Relationship Between Parasites and Depression / Anxiety
As someone with a graduate degree in psychology, I can hardly believe that parasites have never been mentioned as a possible cause of mental illness. After spending several months questioning my own sanity recently, and then realizing that all my strange moods and feelings of dissociation were from a parasite infection in my intestines, I felt it might be helpful to write up a few things for people who might be wondering if depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or just about any other psychological disorder could possibly be the result of a parasite infection.
When I was a teenager, I believed I was bipolar. In fact, I still believe that I was bipolar as a teen. I tried to kill myself twice. Emotionally, I was way up and then I was way down. Now I wonder if I just needed a parasite cleanse. The symptoms of parasite infestation can mimic the symptoms of bipolar disorder. In some cases a parasite infection can cause a vitamin B12 deficiency that leads to a variety of symptoms. Anyone who thinks they have a parasite infection can benefit from taking a vitamin B12 supplement to overcome deficiency symptoms.
I mean, I don’t want to oversimplify things. My parents were crazy. I love them, but they weren’t equipped to work with teens and that contributed quite a bit to my teenage funk. But I’ve watched my 15 year old daughter and listened to her “crazy talk” over the past few months while our family has been ill with intestinal parasites. As we’ve started getting better after doing our parasite cleanse, I have to wonder how often rebellious teens are actually struggling with systemic problems that could be easily remedied with some herbal wormwood and black walnut tinctures and dietary changes. As a parent, if teenage angst was actually caused by roundworms or hookworms, you’d do parasite cleanses every six months like clockwork, wouldn’t you? Well, it was only two generations ago that parasite cleanses were standard procedure in most households. And you know what? Teens were still teens but they weren’t as troubled as they are today.
I have friends in their 40’s right now who regularly make Facebook posts about their clinical depression or anxiety. I know enough about them to wonder if parasites are actually the problem. One of my friends regularly cycles through depression. Her brother suffered from clinical insomnia. Both could be caused by parasites which means that both could be cured with natural home remedies for anxiety or depression. If you’re suffering from one of these problems, it might be worth it to try a parasite cleanse. Herbs like wormwood are known for treating depression and herbal remedies won’t make you as sick as prescription medications for intestinal parasites.
Wormwood is one of the most powerful anti-parasitic herbs available, but it’s also a well-known anti-depressant (at least among herbalists). My own experience with parasites and depression is all I need to convince me that anyone suffering from depression should do some kind of parasite detox before resorting to toxic prescription medications. In graduate school I learned that depression and anxiety are theorized to be two different expressions of the same problem and so, one could surmise that wormwood would also help those suffering from anxiety.
Right before we realized that we had a parasite infection, I sat at my desk feeling awful and I thought about death. I wonder if I’m dying. I said to myself. The window was open. It was sunny and beautiful outside. I wondered how I could wonder something like that and not care. If I’m dying then…I’ll die. I said to myself. I was so foggy headed, weary, and worn-down from headaches and just feeling icky all the time (mentally and physically) that I could honestly say I was clinically depressed.
But I’ve also felt anxious at times. It depends on the time of the day. Foggy thinking would often give me anxiety because when my thoughts are muddled I feel like I can’t handle anything. Like I couldn’t put together a simple To Do list to complete things such as laundry or dinner let alone more complex tasks like work. I would say that over the years as an adult, I’ve struggled with anxiety far more often than depression. My husband and I would often joke about our GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder). Often, our anxieties were irrational, but we couldn’t help but worry nonetheless. Now I wonder if we were just having a flare up of parasites. Some experts have theorized that symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder may actually be caused by human parasites.
Last year, our family took a big trip. We traveled from Denver, CO to Iceland and then to South Africa, and back to Iceland through 11 different countries over three months. This isn’t unusual for us. We travel a lot. But when we got back home in February, I kept saying to my husband that I couldn’t wrap my head around what season it was at home. In actuality, what I was trying to describe were dissociation symptoms. But the feeling of dissociation is really hard to describe when you’re actually feeling it. As soon as I stopped feeling dissociated, the word “dissociation” came to mind (because I have a background in psychology). I was able to say, “I had dissociative symptoms.” But before that, I just felt…out-of-sync with myself. Like I was standing beside myself all the time, reaching out for help but never getting what I needed.
I believe that the symptoms of dissociation may be specifically attributed to a vitamin B12 deficiency and iron deficiency that happens when parasites are living inside your gut and feeding off your nutrients. In actuality, the vitamin B12 deficiency and iron deficiency often lead to anemia which makes it difficult for oxygen to get to the various organs that need it, in particular, the brain. In my experience, feeling anemic and being at ultra-high altitudes are very similar. In both instances, the dissociative symptoms have to do with a lack of oxygen getting to the brain and other organs.
Parasites are not responsible for all mental illness. I’m not proposing that a parasite cleanse is a cure-all for every ailment in the annals of human history, but rather that it can’t hurt to do a parasite cleanse if you either don’t feel like your doctor’s recommendations are meshing with your own sense of what’s going on in yours or a loved one’s body or if you’ve tried everything else and nothing else has worked. There are a variety of different ways to do a cleanse if you can’t take wormwood or some of the other recommended herbs for some reason. Acupuncture is an option too because the needles used by acupuncturists produce a slight electrical current when they’re inserted into the skin. Some experts on human parasites recommend slight pulsations of electricity (carefully calibrated and regulated) to kill parasites. If you hate needles, don’t worry, most acupuncturists can do needle-free therapy using a small electronic device that delivers electricity in tiny doses.
Perhaps one of the reasons why acupuncture has been so successful as a general health-promoting practice is because the slight electrical charge created while needles are inserted into the skin kill parasites. It’s a theory and maybe not even a good one, but right now, since medicine and science refuse to acknowledge parasites, I’m throwing everything I’ve got up onto the web.
And finally, I want to note that pinworms are a veritable epidemic in public schools. These worms can be transmitted through the air or by touch which means that they’re easily spread in an environment like public schools or daycare. Take a quick look at the pinworm symptoms provided by the MayoClinic below:
1) Pinworms often cause no symptoms
3) Restlessness or Irritability
4) Intermittent abdominal pain or nausea
5) Itching of the anal or vaginal area
But when it comes to pinworms symptoms, children may express and experience discomfort differently than adults. Children may not realize that they have insomnia, for example. But they may be really tired during the day. Now take a quick look at these symptoms of ADHD in children:
1) Doesn’t pay attention to details
2) Makes careless mistakes
3) Can’t stay focused
4) Does not listen when spoken to
5) Has difficulty remembering things and staying organized
6) Loses stuff
The above symptoms sound a lot like iron deficiency or B12 deficiency anemia but I’ll talk about that more in my article about ADHD and Parasites.
I recently read a study that talked about ADHD and sleep problems. Most children who have been diagnosed with ADHD also have issues with falling asleep or staying asleep. Some ADHD experts went so far as to speculate that children were suffering from ADHD because they had to wake up with an alarm rather than awakening naturally. Children don’t always feel “tired” when they don’t get enough sleep. In fact, they often become “hyperactive”. Also of note is the fact that one of the most popular prescription medications for ADHD is Ritalin, an “upper” (which can cause serious side effects like the development of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder for example). Because many uppers have the opposite effect on children (kids may calm down when given caffeine, for example) it stands to reason that children who are tired would behave as though they’re wired. Indeed, a child with a pinworm infection may feel restless and irritable in class and cause problems because they have parasites crawling in and out of their anus to lay eggs all night. But your child won’t come to you and say, “Hey mom or dad, I feel restless and irritable in class. I think there’s something wrong.” Pinworm infections are really common. If your doctor has diagnosed your child with ADHD, consider the possibility that your child has parasites instead. There are natural remedies for ADHD that’s caused by a parasite infection. But why wouldn’t your doctor tell you about parasites? Read this article to find out.
The good news about parasites is that they can be cured with natural remedies that you can buy at Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage, or Amazon. I hope that if you’re reading this you feel inspired to not give up on your health issues, but to find the cause. Sometimes, big problems can be solved in the simplest ways!
UPDATE: Mucuna pruriens is a bean that grows in Central America and Southeast Asia and it has been used effectively to increase dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain. 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) can be used with Mucuna to further boost serotonin levels in depressed or anxious individuals. I haven’t written about the use of Mucuna pruriens and 5-HTP for depression and anxiety, but I’ve included an article below that talks about Mucuna and 5HTP for addiction treatment. I’ve worked with clients who used Mucuna to successfully overcome addiction to substances like meth and addiction to social media. They were both addicts because they had an underlying depression or anxiety.
Much of the research on Mucuna and 5HTP also talks about depression (since many addicts are actually self-medicating for depression) and these two plant-based treatments can really change your life! I take Mucuna daily and I’ve taken 5HTP on a daily basis at times in my life as well. Mucuna is related to Senna and both of these plants help keep the intestines moving when you’re treating yourself for parasites. Mucuna, however, also helps fight parasites. It is a mild anti-parasitic. So, if you’re suffering from depression, ADHD, or anxiety, consider giving Mucuna a try as part of your anti-parasitic protocol. Start slow at about 1000 mg per day and work up to 6000 mg per day if you feel like you need it.
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