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Self-Help Website for Personal Growth

hyopJurriaan Plesman, BA(Psych), Post Grad Dip Clin Nutr

This article shows how this web site can be used as a self-help web site for personal growth. It will also give a general overview of the site. It covers both the biological and psychological aspects of mood disorders.  A fundamental principle in this web site is that any medical condition having an influence on “mental health” must be treated FIRST before considering psychotherapy. This is known as the principle of “BIOCHEMISTRY BEFORE PSYCHOLOGY”. You can not treat a biological disorder contributing to a mood disorder by talk-therapy. It needs to be treated first.

It will help people who want to educate themselves about  the biological aspects of mood disorders and how they themselves can overcome their emotional problems by nutritional means in many cases. Many forms of mood disorders are symptoms of silent diseases, that is, diseases without obvious signs to the person so affected, and still undiagnosed by doctors. Symptoms of hypoglycemia are often found in a number of other diseases.

Central to this concept is an understanding of Hypoglycemia and the Serotonin Connection as one of those “silent diseases”, responsible for depression. See References,    Mastering the underlying biochemical underpinnings of mood disorder will facilitate any consultation with a Nutritional Doctor or a Clinical Nutritionist or a Nutritional Psychotherapist, if the person so desire. Our web site helps people to empower themselves through education and information to heal themselves as far as possible. It is suggested that by studying this article in some details, people will be able to analyze and treat their mood disorders in their own time often without having to consult expensive “professionals”. A well-informed patient will save considerable time and money when consulting an appropriate health care worker.

If any problems are encountered one should always seek the advice of a Nutritional Doctor, a Clinical Nutritionist or a Nutritional Psychotherapist.  Look up

This self-help web site is mainly concerned about the connection between various “mental” illnesses and hypoglycemia. (See Its Definition)  Most people with mood disorders prove positive to a special medical test as described below. Thus the adoption of the hypoglycemic diet is the first step in treatment. But although hypoglycemia may be a major factor, other factors such as allergies and food sensitivities, any of the many digestive disorders and a host of other comorbid illnesses, such as Hypothyroidism, Addison’s Disease, Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) may  have influences on the operations of the mind. Thus “self-help” may have its limits and more professional advice may be needed at a later stage. See also:  Assumptions of psychotherapy

If you want to survive the system, you will have to take greater control over your physical and mental health. It is unfortunate that, in this day and age, you cannot always rely on many psychiatrists, psychologists and other “experts” in the mental health field for help, because of their lack of knowledge of nutritional biochemistry. If you seek their help, make sure they have expertise in psycho-nutritional therapy. You need to be informed about your illness and the possible NON-DRUG treatment modalities available apart from the more conventional remedies. For example, clinical nutrition involves the use of nutrients and herbs and/or a change in diet and thereby a patient gains greater control over TREATMENT. Nutritional therapy aims at getting the body to produce the right neurotransmitters and hormones with special diets following proper nutritional diagnosis or metabolic tests.
Providing education and public information is one of the major aims of the Hypoglycemic Health Association of Australia, which will help you solving problems with HYPOGLYCEMIA as well as other illnesses affecting your physical and MENTAL health.

Testing for hypoglycemia and/or diabetes type 2

You can test yourself with a paper-and-pencil test called the Nutrition-Behavior Inventory Questionnaire or NBI or the Hypo Quiz. A very short paper-and-pencil test is given here.

If you score is high you are likely to suffer from a a metabolic disorder that could account for symptoms of mood disorders. Most mood disorder are associated with unstable, fluctuating blood sugar levels as shown here.  This is also responsible for the release of excessive stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol), responsible for mood disorders.

You’ll find a more accurate medical “Test for Hypoglycemia and How the Doctor can help” by Dr George Samra –> here. Present the attached letter to your doctor. The interpretation of an oral Glucose Tolerance Test is described here.

This test should not be confused with the usual test for Diabetes Type 2, called Glycosylated Hemoglobin (HBA1c), when your doctor tests you for diabetes with one blood sample. This test measures the amount of glycosylated hemoglobin in your blood. Glycosylated hemoglobin is a molecule in red blood cells that attaches to glucose (blood sugar). You have more glycosylated hemoglobin if you have more glucose in your blood over a period of time. The test gives a good estimate of diabetes over the last 2 or 3 months. See also

The A1C Test and Diabetes for more details.

About 50 percent of diabetic people – being a silent disease –  have never been diagnosed. If the test is negative (that is you have no diabetes) it does not mean that you have not got the Hypoglycemic Syndrome. For some it is difficult to understand that you may have insulin resistance without being diabetic. This is marked by unstable blood sugar levels (BSLs) (see another graph) and usually the forerunner of diabetes if not attended to. But you can also have “hypoglycemic” symptoms in a normal oral glucose tolerance test when there appears to be a problem in the conversion of glucose into pyruvate within the ten step glycolysis, called Hypoglycia.  Here the BSLs are normal, but there is a blockage in the ten step glycolysis preventing glucose to be converted to biological energy (ATP).

Besides, there are many other nutritional, digestive or hormonal disorders, that are best diagnosed by Nutritional Doctors, Clinical Nutritionists or Nutritional Psychotherapists.

Prediabetic abnormal blood sugar concentration over time are said to be responsible for the production of excess stress hormones in most forms of mood disorders. An important factor is insulin resistance and some scientists have estimated that about 25 percent of non-diabetic people in the US population could have prediabetic insulin resistance (also known as hypoglycemia). Dr Robyn Cosford 1998 –> page 2

It is not very well known that hypoglycemia is not only the forerunner of DIABETES, but also an important element in many degenerative diseases, such as arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, coeliac disease, fribromyalgia, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis,Leaky Gut Syndrome,  Dementia, Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia (see here) as well as a common factor in mood disorders such as;

DEPRESSION, —> Depression: A Nutritional Disorder

Depression is a Disease of Energy Production

Herbal Remedies for Mood Disorders

Herbal Remedies for Diabetes and Hypoglycemia

ALCOHOLISM, —>Alcoholism (Addiction) is a Treatable Disease.

Why Alcoholics Drink?


ANGER MANAGEMENT: Nutrition and Psychotherapy  and Domestic Violence.

BLUSHING problems

CANDIDIASIS a sugar fungus, a factor in depression seeDr Paul Ameisen –> page 3

COELIAC DISEASE affecting depression and anxiety at Herbs2000 index

DISEASESaffecting mood disorders.

DRUG ADDICTION, —-> Drug Addiction is a Nutritional Disorder

EATING DISORDER: Anorexia and Bulimia


AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE,  —-> Alcoholism and Violence
IMPULSIVE BEHAVIOUR  —> Impulse Control & Hypoglycemia
ANXIETY, PHOBIAS AND GAMBLING, —-> Beating Anxiety  —> Gambling

Gambling and Its Nutritional Treatment

INFERTILITY – Natural Approaches by M Koeman —> page 3

ALLERGIES  —> The Food and Disease Paradigm by Dr George Samra

Allergies, Intolerance, Sensitivity by Dorothy Schultz –> page 8


CHRONIC FATIGUE  —> Chronic Fatigue


HYPOTHYROIDISM leading to depression at Herbs2000 index


MIGRAINES and HEADACHES by Dr J Fluhrer–> page 3




PTSD: A Disease of Body and Mind by Jur Plesman


RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME treatment by Dr Jacob Teitelbaum.


SELF_HARMING related to depression.



SUPPLEMENTS (Why they may fail)


MOOD SWINGS and Anger control

WEIRD PHYSICAL REACTIONS (breathing, palpitations, trembles, shakes, depersonalization)
SEXUAL ABUSE  —> and Treatment

SCHIZOPHRENIA & BIPOLAR DISORDER, —> Schizophrenia and Hypoglycemia and “Nutritional Aspects of Schizophrenia”  here go to page 7

For treatment of schizophrenia see Herbs2000 index and Alternative Mental Healthweb sites.

HYPERACTIVITY (ADHD byHerbs2000 index) and See article by Lendon Smith  go to page 7

See also articles on ADD at Alternative Mental Health
BIPOLAR DISORDER –> Alternative Mental Health web site and at Herbs2000 index and studies

Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

Many degenerative diseases may have emotional disorders as a comorbid condition and these should be attended to before considering psychotherapy. See:

Diseases Associated with Emotional Disorders and more here and here.

The concept that nutrition can affect behaviour is foreign to most Western people with a ingrained faith in orthodox Western drug-oriented medicine. However, if you study “What is Hypoglycemia?” it will become clear that the availability of glucose to the brain plays a crucial role in how we feel about the world and about oneself. Unstable blood sugar levels not only affect many illnesses, but may create havoc with many neurotransmitters in the brain. In fact, hypoglycemia has been seen as a direct result of an imbalance of a neurotransmitter – called serotonin – which most doctors recognize as one cause of endogenous depression. This is explained in the article:

“The Connection between Depression, Addiction and Hypoglycemia”. –> here.

Depression is a Nutritional Disorder

Whether the inborn error of serotonin synthesis is the cause or effect of the high sugar consumption is debatable, but it has been found that a diet with a reduced sugar intake has helped many people with emotional disorders. This article also tries to explain how hypoglycemia is related to sugar addiction leading to the more serious addictions to alcohol and drugs. Although the hypoglycemic diet – similar to the diabetic diet – does not claim to cure psychotic disorders it has been found to reduce the severity of symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. Many of the side effects of psychotropic drugs can be alleviated or at least reduced by special vitamins, minerals and some herbal supplements. This should always be trialled under the supervision of the psychiatrist. There is some evidence that many of these drugs interfere with the absorption of nutrients. See:

Nutritional Aspects of Schizophrenia   —> page 7

After you have familiarized yourself with “What is Hypoglycemia?” it is recommended that you study:

“The Nutritional Aspects of Depression”, which looks at various metabolic disorders associated with depression. Teenage depression often leads to experimentation with drugs. Usually a young person starts with smoking marijuana in the belief that this is harmless. Experimentation with drugs usually means “which drugs make me feel better?”
The point is that marijuana – like alcohol – is not harmless to people who have unknowingly a hypoglycemic condition. This may run in families, thus the idea of using drugs to alter one’s moods is not an unusual notion for members of that family.
This often results in habitual drug use in an attempt to alter feelings. But extended use of drugs modify receptor sites of natural neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin, and dopamine. Soon the person finds him/herself not being able to cope with life without the drug of addiction. The overwhelming addiction now controls and influences his relations with significant people – family members at first and society at large at a later stage. Hence addiction becomes a bio-psycho-social problem.

The article “The Treatment of Drug Addiction”attempts to help a drug addicted person in his detoxification and withdrawal of drugs. It is suggested that a detoxification should take place in a properly supervised “Detoxification Centre” or facility. The most difficult part is remain free of drugs, because although detoxified, a person lack adequate numbers of dopamine receptors in the brain to feel content and happy. It is suggested that a special diet, nutrients and supplements – together with the PSYCHOTHERAPY course in this web site – may help the person stay off drugs. At this stage of treatment a return to the use of illegal drugs can be fatal. See also:


Before considering psychotherapy it is important that any biological aspects of a mood disorders is treated prior to looking at the socio-psychological aspect of a personality disorder, whether this be anxiety, depression or a low self-esteem. No psychotherapy can be effective if a possible underlying biochemical abnormality is triggering symptoms.

Self-help psychotherapy is possible, because it starts off with a consideration of a negative self-image in the here-and-now, and without regard to one’s social history or “psycho-analysis”. Theorizing as to how we may have acquired a low self-esteem from our past history may be of interest, but has little therapeutic value. Next to the biological self, the self-image is seen as being at the core of one’s personality. If you suffer from a metabolic disorder you will be bombarded with unnecessary stress hormones that will inevitably affect your self-image. This is why we need to have this treated first.  A negative self-image can lead to negative social relationships through the mechanism of the “self-fulfilling prophecy”. It is to be expected that a person who has suffered from a metabolic disorder – probably dating back to childhood – has a severely damaged self-image. A negative self-image may lead to conflict with significant other people or social relationships that are self-destructive by the mechanism of attraction of “like-minded” personalities whether negative or positive…. (“hang-ups” attract “hang-ups”). Similarly, people with a positive self-esteem tend to be attracted to others with a positive self-image.  A low self-esteem may have affected his experience throughout all the stages of his personality development. He may have felt “different” from other children and as a young adult must have felt different from his peers. Often the person reports that, he/she has always felt shy or uncomfortable in the company of other people, or suffered from anxieties. This could have drawn him to a drug subculture, where he may have met people with similar natures for the first time.
But having a negative self-image leaves one also open to manipulation. Thus altering one’s self-image is a crucial first step if we want to change our personality.

Our psychotherapy course begins with an explanation of Transactional Analysis (TA) which shows how people communicate with one another, and especially how we communicate within ourselves. A negative self-image is described as that part of our mind – called the PARENT EGO – that contains all the negative thoughts and moral statements picked from our past about the self. These are automatic messages that have been learned and accepted unquestioningly as part of the “me”. TA also provides a means of roughly analyzing other people. But anything the PARENT ego has learned can be unlearned!

This is achieved in the article “How to Improve One’s Self-Image”, which is a program that aims at retraining the PARENT ego. It shows how you can identify your hang-ups by going on “paranoid trips”. By a series of private practice and meditation we can learn to get rid of silly ideas about the self in an amazingly short period of time with a certain amount of determination and persistence. People with a healthy self-regard, seldom get seriously hurt in a failed relationships. They may get hurt, but not disastrously!!! They know they are worth more and firmly believe that the ‘grass is greener around the corner’.

“The Assertiveness Training Program” teaches you how you can defend yourself against criticism, especially from within the self. It aims at conflict resolution not only between the parts of our inner mind, but also between loved ones [and not so significant people as well]. It is a matter of practising the various strategies suggested. It sets limits to your boundaries in your intimate relations.

“The Communication and Counselling” course aims at helping people to communicate at the feeling level and establish significant relations. Intimate relations requires some degree of self-revelation, a skill that proves to be difficult for people with a negative self-image. It also calls for the ability to acknowledge another person’s emotions. It helps to distinguish between sympathy and empathy. This course was found to be most popular in my group therapy, because it allowed members to interview one another and practise their communication skills (empathy) and also to help each other in finding solutions to problems with the help of the other programs. It avoids any form of confrontational counselling and relied on self-discovery and -growth.

“The Values Clarification” looks at our values. It answers such questions, “What am I looking for in a relationship?” “What are my aims?” It helps you in choosing your lovers, partners, careers, your goals in life, your friends and, the interests you share. People with a low self-esteem usually set lower standards of behaviour and goals. They may be looking for dependency in a relationship. Values clarification helps you to identify values in other people in your search for soul-mates. You’ll find that your values change as you start to enjoy life more and more. You also become more attracted to people with positive values (which is often a function of positive self-image). Values Clarification can also be seen as a motivational course, which may help a drug addict face the roller-coaster of detoxification and withdrawal.

If you want to undertake a 9-weeks  psychotherapy course please  Study the Self-Help Psychotherapy Course. Read and re-read the sections at the rate of one per week and in 9 weeks you can be expected to feel better and more confident about yourself, provided you have treated the biological aspects first.

Most of the above program has also been explained in my book “Getting off the Hook” at Page 36, which is freely available on the internet.

Please discuss this article with your health care worker, doctor or nutritional doctor or therapist

For any questions or discussions please join our Mental Illness and Nutrition page.

Further Readings:

Assumptions in Psychotherapy

Principles of Psychonutritional Therapy

Index to Specific Topics and Research

References to Mood Disorders and Nutrition

5 Responses

  1. Byrna Weir says:

    Jurriaan Plesman,
    This website has been a great discovery, & help. I have now referred a friend with a bipolar husband and daughter to it.

    I left a question here a few days ago, so came back to look for a reply, but I get this instead. My question was about managing to fast for 9 hrs. before cataract surgery. I do believe I’ve now worked it out & trust that an IV will take over after I get there.
    I would still appreciate any response from you. Maybe I’ll find one in my email. I’m not used to “posting comments.”
    Thank you,

    • Jurriaan Plesman says:

      I am so sorry if I have not answered your comment. A lot of things have been going on in my personal life and I just did not have the time to look at the comments. I hope you will forgive me. Come back with your question and I hope to be able to answer it. Also be aware that we are at the Facebook.

  2. Jurriaan Plesman says:

    Hi Bee, As to nutrition and cataract operation, I suggest you leave that to any advice given by the eye doctors.

  3. george says:

    I find your information very insightful and useful. Do you think blood sugar levels have anything to do with borderline personality disorder or histronic personality disorder?

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