Help for Sleep When You Have Bipolar Disorder

Pohala Nurse Practitioner Julie Foster is often asked for quotes regarding her mental health work. Julie was interviewed for the following Health Central slide show on getting better sleep when you have bipolar disorder.

From the article:

Bipolar disorder responds well to a sleep plan that respects the body’s circadian rhythm. Learning to prevent mood swings by making good “sleep hygiene” choices is an inexpensive and natural way to prevent mania and depression. Sleep changes are not always easy in our very busy world, but please know that making even a few of the changes discussed here can reduce the need for certain medications and ultimately prevent mood swings.

Click here to read 9 Tips to Help Sleep With Bipolar. 

Mahalo,

Team Pohala

 

Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder and Cannabis: An Interview with Portland Nurse Practitioner Julie Foster

Julie Foster, nurse practitioner at Pohala Clinic in Portland, Oregon was recently interviewed by writer Lisa Ellis for PsyCom.net on the topic of medical marijuana, psychosis and schizophrenia. As more states and countries legalize cannabis, it’s essential that all sides of the marijuana story are told. What helps many can also cause unwanted and difficult to mange symptoms in others.  Julie addresses this topic in the article Medical Marijuana for Schizophrenia: Weighing the Risks and Benefits. 

Article excerpt:

“As medical marijuana becomes legal in more states, experts fear it will be used to treat more conditions although data is lacking and health could be harmed. But when it comes to schizophrenia, is cannabis safe, even if it is “medical”?

A growing number of people today are turning to medical marijuana (also called medical cannabis) to manage a host of health problems. But for those with schizophrenia,  a chronic brain disorder that causes periods of psychotic symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, and trouble focusing, marijuana—in any form—can actually worsen the symptoms, according to Julie Foster, a family nurse practitioner who also serves as Medical Director of Pohala Clinic, a center for integrative care and alternative medicine approaches located in Portland, Oregon.

That’s why she and many other experts recommend that people with schizophrenia or a tendency toward psychosis steer clear of all forms of marijuana.

What is Marijuana?

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Thank you,

Pohala Team

Julie Foster Nurse Practitioner in Portland, Oregon Accepting Clients with Bipolar Disorder

Julie Foster has over 20 years of experience working with people who have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. She also works with clients who are not sure if there is bipolar or if it is simply depression or anxiety.
Do you wonder: Do I Have Bipolar Disorder? 
Julie’s appointments allow for time to explore your history in order to come to a decision on what management plan will work best in your current situation. It can be a bit scary at first to think that you have a mental health disorder. Julie provides a safe environment where you can explore symptoms and come up with an answer.
Partners and Family Members are Welcome
Julie also encourages partners and family members to attend appointments so that their questions and needs can be  heard. Pohala encourages a family approach to stabilizing the mood, but as Julie makes very clear when asked about the role of family, your family is comprised of the people you choose to have in your life. They may be relatives or it may be you have found a family that is not related to your family of origin that supports your beliefs in life in order so that you can stay healthy.
How do you Help a Person Who Asks Do I Have Bipolar Disorder
Julie Foster describes her approach:
When I meet a new client who thinks bipolar disorder is in the family, I look at the whole person first. What is happening in the person’s life?  What is going on in the person’s relationships? What substances is the person using that could lead to symptoms that look like the symptoms of bipolar disorder?
It’s a very important time when someone comes to see me about mood swings It means that either they or someone close by has said,  “I think you have bipolar disorder!”  This is life changing and I  want to make sure I’m present and open to what the person is feeling.
I then ask questions about sleep, nutrition, relationships and life events.  I look at bipolar disorder as an opportunity to help the whole person. When we figure out what is going on with the mood and come up with the time of onset and the family history, it’s easier to figure out if bipolar is the actual diagnosis. From there, I explain my philosophy of the illness, listen to what the client feels is happening and come up with a plan that addresses the mind and the body.
I definitely use traditional psychiatric medications as needed, but I also supplement this treatment with natural treatments including homeopathic and herbal remedies. I am a careful study and make sure that what I recommend will not make my client more manic or depressed.
Please know that I have lived with bipolar disorder in my own family for all of my life and I’m very careful to make sure the treatments I suggest will keep a person well and not add more stress to a person’s life. I’m also open to any discussion of spiritual experiences and how there are many different approaches to mental health treatment around the world.
Please call Julie today to book a session and finally get the answers you need:
Do I have bipolar disorder?
What is the best treatment plan for the illness?
What help do I need?
How can I involve my family or partner?
And most importantly…
Am I going to be ok?
If you are a family member, Julie can work with you to get the best care possible for a loved one with bipolar disorder.
Julie’s approach is gentle and firm, based in sound medical practices that incorporate spiritual modalities. Give Julie a call today and book a session. It’s a good time to finally get help and start yourself on the road to stability.
What Julie’s clients say about her bipolar disorder work:
Julie Foster has been my prescriber and advocate for over ten years. I already knew that I had bipolar disorder when she took me on as a patient. I had written a few books and had a pretty good handle on how to manage the illness, but I often had problems with medications and wanted to know what non western treatments she could add to my regular plan. Julie is so compassionate. She understands bipolar as she lives with it in her own family. She is someone I can turn to when I feel overwhelmed with the the enormity of having this illness. She has helped greatly with my never ending sleep problems and I know I can call her at any time when I have a question. I highly recommend Julie as a prescriber and most importantly, as an overall provider for all of the problems many of us with bipolar disorder face including issues with our physical health. 
Julie A. Fast

Portland Family Nurse Practitioner Vera Vos on Science, Medicine and Spirituality

Vera Voss

Vera Vos, a family nurse practitioner at Pohala Clinic talks about the intersection between spirituality and medicine. 

I am passionate about science. I love how science requires us to be rational and unbiased and I am always amazed how perfect science is, like the symmetry of shapes that repeat themselves in patterns in animals, plants, and the landscape. The language of science is mathematics and when we can figure out the right numbers, so much is explained. At the same time I value my spiritual side. We think that science and spirituality are divergent but most often they come full circle to join each other.

I did a course in mind body medicine at Harvard with Herbert Benson, one of the pioneer researchers to discover the physiological benefits of meditation. Since that time, I have had my own meditation practice. This practice helps me listen better and empathize with others.

I think my love and respect for science coupled with a practice that requires me to stop judging, valuing and, essentially, thinking and just be in the moment helps me gain a deeper understanding of my clients physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Please visit our Pohala Clinic contact page to book an appointment with Dr. Vera Vos.

Steroids, Allergies and Bipolar Disorder: Q&A with Portland Nurse Practitioner Julie Foster

Julie Foster-Pohala Clinic
Julie Foster Nurse Practitioner in Portland, Oregon

Bipolar disorder author Julie A. Fast has been a client of mine for over 10 years.   We often discuss over the counter and prescribed medications that can cause mood swings for people with bipolar disorder. She’s currently writing an article on the topic and asked me to describe my process of prescribing steroids if a person has bipolar disorder or depression and what I use instead of a steroid when helping a client who has bipolar disorder or depression manage allergies or asthma.

Julie A Fast:  Julie, When you have a client with bipolar who has severe allergies, how do you talk with them about the effects of steroids on bipolar disorder if they have an allergy doctor who wants to prescribe prednisone? What is the plan if the person can’t take steroids, but they have terrible allergies?  Steroids are known to affect the mood. For many people with mood disorders, they can cause mania and depression. 

Julie Foster: In general I do everything I can to avoid steroids in the general population whether it be for allergies or other needs. However with my Bipolar patients,  I am extra cautious. Unless I have exhausted all other options and the person is finding no relief either completely miserable or their breathing is comprised I do not prescribe.

Allergies are on the rise as we are exposed to more environmental debris and toxins and the effects of modernism on our immune systems.  Here are my suggestions for clients who want to manage allergies without the use of steroidal drugs.

  1. Look at the diet. Many allergies come from the foods we eat.  Eating a healthy diet can be hard for people with mood disorders as food is often used for comfort, but small changes can make a difference. Look for what is called a clean diet, one free of preservatives, hormones and GMO food.  When possible, limit refined sugars (look at the label and if it says high fructose corn syrup- choose something else) and white carbohydrates and go for natural fruits and vegetables. This is never easy when you are not feeling well, but over time you will feel better and will hopefully have less allergies- which was the original goal!
  2. Think about your life rhythm.  This includes the circadian rhythm of sleep and the rhythm to your work and relationships. How is the stress in you life? Our bodies are connected to our minds. A high stress level can affect the immune system that then affects our ability to handle allergens.
  3. Try healthy remedies. Homeopathic remedies including Sabadila, Euphrasia comp and Allergist.  Use Vitamin C up to your bowel tolerance (if the tummy has trouble, lower the dose) and add steaming and sweating to your daily regime.  Use an air purifier at home and try a honey remedy (Julie, explain this one- what do you do with the 1 tsp of honey?)

Julie A. Fast:   Julie, when you have bipolar disorder, it’s essential you check everything you put in your body to make sure it doesn’t lead to mood swings. How do you help clients figure out this maze of treatments and medications when they are having trouble  breathing as well as having mood swings?

Julie Foster:  Some of the herbal and supplement options for allergies can affect the mood of a person with bipolar which is why I go with the above plan first.  Congestion from allergies comes up when the body cannot eliminate properly. Another natural option for managing allergies is proper digestion.    Acupuncture is a good option as well as massage and maintenance through osteopathic or chiropractic adjustments. People with bipolar disorder and depression can find steroid free ways to manage allergies and asthma.

Please call to make an appointment with Julie Foster or another member of the Pohala Clinic professionals.

Family Nurse Practitioner Vera Vos in Portland, Oregon Shares her Journey

Vera Voss

We love the diversity of our practitioners at Pohala Clinic.  The goal is to provide a variety of integrative and functional medicine practitioners who offer specific talents in order to fit individual client needs.

In this post,  Vera Vos talks about her path to becoming a family nurse practitioner in Portland, Oregon, her medical philosophy and how she approaches her work with new clients.  The compassion and enthusiasm Vera shows with all of her clients shines through when she talks bout her practice.

A Journey from Research Biologist to Family Nurse Practitioner

Before becoming a nurse practitioner, I was a research biologist doing field biology to determine health of animal populations. I found that disease and decreasing populations of animal species was always related to the health of their environment. After becoming a mother and experiencing first hand how human infants are so much like any other infant in the wild, I had an epiphany. We are like all other animals in that our health is also very much related to our environment. At that point diabetes and heart disease were on the rise as well as mental health problems.

I was passionate about helping people understand how our human culture and environment in many ways sabotages health (bad food, lack of movement, distractions, etc) and how to change personal habits to overcome those obstacles.

How Dr. Vos Works with New Clients at Pohala Clinic 

The first time I see someone, I like to listen to what they have to tell me. Of course I ask about past medical history, medications, etc, but mostly I ask them what they value about their own health and what they would like to change. Beyond physical health we talk about challenges and rewards in their personal lives related to family, social group and work as well as what brings them pleasure and what is difficult. I really get to know clients that way and this helps me see the bigger picture besides just their pathophysiology.

Views on Western and Easter Medicine

I don’t think of it as one vs the other. There are things to be learned and appreciated in both. I think the problems in western medicine stem from the stranglehold of financial stakeholders, not from the science itself. It’s the stakeholders that have preempted everything except pharmaceuticals and surgery to solve dis-ease. Unfortunately, this bias has resulted in managing disease instead of targeting and eliminating causes. Eastern medicine offers more options, but the emphasis is still on medicinals, usually plant based.

I have learned that most of what ails us comes from the outside. There is nothing wrong with us as human organisms. In fact, the more I learn about human biology and physiology (and we are not even close to knowing everything) the more amazed I am at the perfection of us. My goal is to use the best that I know of both western and eastern medicine coupled with mindfulness to quiet the “monkey” mind to help clients structure their lives to promote health and happiness.

When it comes to patients, I like all kinds of people of all ages. That’s why I’m a Family Nurse Practitioner. I love seeing kids because there is so much potential there to support healthy growth. But I also really like adults, both men and women as we work through issues together over time.

Vera Vos Hours at Pohala Clinic 

Monday and Tuesday all day and specific Friday mornings by appointment.

Please visit our Pohala Clinic Contact page to book an apportionment with Dr. Vera Vos.