Help, has anyone else got mental health problems and ... - NRAS


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Help, has anyone else got mental health problems and RA? Causing medication problems.

Linda281 profile image
31 Replies

Hi everyone have just joined this amazing site. I was diagnosed with RA exactly a year ago, and things have just gone from bad to worse. I am in constant pain and often can't bear to move. I suffer terrible fatigue and even the smallest tasks are often beyond me. Just when I think the pain couldn't possibly get any worse, it does with a vengeance. Unfortunately I am my Rheumatologist's nightmare patient as I also suffer from mental health issues, one of which being depression and another psychosis. This has meant that I cannot tolerate steroids at all and the other three RA meds that I have tried so far have had nasty side effects like aggression and suicidal thoughts. I have been just about scraping by taking Oramorph, Codeine and Naproxen. Unfortunately now the Naproxen is causing stomach problems and I cannot tolerate Losec either. If I have to give up NSAIDs as well I won't be able to get out of bed in the mornings as that is when the pain is at it's worst. Please can anyone else relate to these problems or maybe have any ideas? Thanks

31 Replies
Basalt2016 profile image

Hi Linda

I'm so sorry for your great suffering.

I had bipolar disorder for a half century. Mental health and digestive problems go hand in hand with autoimmune diseases. I also have celiac disease and low thyroid.

I have written my recovery story in a book titled Mission Improbable. It's on Kindle and Nook.

I have been mentally well for over 13 years. However my celiac disease showed up 4 years ago. Thyroid and RA this year.

While I healed from mental illness, I did not understand the gut brain connection. I do now. In fact it has become common knowledge in the last five years.

My book tells briefly the story of how Truehope of Raymond, Alberta, Canada was started 20 years ago.

God bless you on your healing journey.


Linda281 profile image
Linda281 in reply to Basalt2016

Thank you so much Deborah

Basalt2016 profile image
Basalt2016 in reply to Linda281

Linda please see my reply to Suzanne.

Hello Linda. Please beware of what is happening with Truehope of Raymond, Alberta. The

Alberta parents found guilty in son's death from meningitis


First posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2016 05:22 PM EDT | Updated: Tuesday, April 26, 2016 11:04 PM EDT

Collet Stephan, david stephan

David Stephan and his wife Collet Stephan leave the courthouse on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 in Lethbridge, Alberta. The Stephans were found guilty of failing to provide the necessaries of life to 19-month-old Ezekiel in 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Rossiter


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LETHBRIDGE, Alta. -- A divisive trial that drew strong opinions from both sides of the naturopathic medicine debate came to a tearful conclusion Tuesday as an eight-woman, four-man jury found an Alberta couple guilty of failing to provide the necessaries of life for their toddler son.

David and Collet Stephan, whose family helped start a nutritional supplements company, were convicted in the death of 19-month-old Ezekiel from meningitis in March 2012.

The trial had been told the couple thought the boy had croup or the flu, so treated him for 2 1/2 weeks with remedies that included hot peppers, garlic, onions and horseradish, even though a family friend who was a nurse told them she thought Ezekiel had meningitis.

The jury was also told Collett Stephan drove the little boy from their rural home to a naturopathic clinic in Lethbridge, Alta., to pick up an echinacea mixture, although he was too stiff to sit in his car seat and had to lie on a mattress on the way.

When the jury delivered its verdict in the second day of deliberations, gasps could be heard in the courtroom.

Collet Stephan, 35, began to weep uncontrollably. Several observers in the gallery also cried, as did two members of the jury.

A Facebook page called "Prayers for Ezekiel" exploded in vitriol and anger from both sides of the issue, with some calling for the death penalty for the Stephans and others calling the proceedings "a travesty of justice."

One commenter named Erica Anne derided the Stephans as "quack parents using quack medicine" while supporter Linda Pereboeff found it "a scandalous failure of the justice system." Many wrote that their hearts went out to the family and pleaded to know where they could register their opposition to the verdict.

Crown prosecutor Lisa Weich said the conviction ensures people who cannot care for themselves will receive the minimal standard of care expected by society.

"They definitely, definitely loved their son but as stated in our closing arguments, unfortunately sometimes love just isn't enough," Weich said outside court. "Parents still have to follow a standard of care as set by criminal law."

The couple walked slowly out of the court after the verdict accompanied by their lawyer, family and supporters. They did not reply to requests for comment.

David Stephan's brother-in-law said he was both saddened and angry.

"I was in tears like everybody else," said Eric Sveinson. "I was angry, frustrated. We're very disheartened and very disappointed and hope that the world can see that a beautiful family was unjustly charged today.

"Parents now need to be afraid when their kid has a cough, when their kid has a cold because you better bring him in the second he sniffles or the second he coughs because if you don't, the Crown is going to be after you."

The defence argued the couple were loving, responsible parents who simply didn't realize how sick the little boy was.

David Stephan, 32, told The Canadian Press in a pre-trial interview he believed he and his wife were charged because they didn't vaccinate their children and, in part, because of his family's business.

His father, Anthony Stephan, co-founded Truehope Nutritional Support in Raymond, Alta., in 1996 after his wife committed suicide. The company's website says the woman and some of the couple's 10 children had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, so Anthony Stephan formed the company with a friend to find a natural treatment.

The company says one of their products, EMPowerplus, helps treat bipolar disorder, depression and even autism. Truehope fought to be able to sell EMPowerplus for more than a decade before an Alberta judge ruled that it could be sold here as a drug.

David Stephan, a Truehope vice-president, said he heard so many stories from parents about vaccinations causing autism in their children that he and his wife decided they wouldn't vaccinate their own kids, adding that still held true for their three remaining boys.

The maximum penalty for failing to provide the necessaries of life is five years in prison.

Justice Rodney Jerke did not set a sentencing date nor did he order the Stephans be taken into custody. They will be back in court on June 13, at which time a sentencing date will be addressed.

"This case is not yet over, but a big chapter has come to a close," Jerke said.

A look at the final days of 19-month-old Ezekiel Stephan

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. -- A jury has found David and Collet Stephan guilty of failing to provide the necessaries of life for their 19-month-old son Ezekiel. A medical examiner ruled the boy died of bacterial meningitis. Here are some key dates court heard about in the last days of the boy's life:

August 20, 2010: Ezekiel Stephan is born at home with the assistance of birthing assistant Terry Meynders, who is also a registered nurse.

February 27, 2012: Ezekiel takes ill at the family home in Glenwood, Alta. His mother describes him as having a cold, stuffy nose and trouble breathing. "The sound he was making was heartwrenching. This isn't the kind of sound you want to hear from your child," she testifies later at the trial.

February 28-March 5, 2012: Ezekiel is treated for what his parents believed to be croup, an upper airway infection that leads to a barking cough. In addition to regular smoothies, they give the boy olive leaf extract, garlic, hot peppers and horseradish. They also attempt to help his breathing with cool air and a humidifier.

March 5, 2012: Ezekiel seems to improve. His father says the boy is not 100 per cent, but he no longer has any difficulty breathing and is able to go to preschool. He plays with his toys and manages to eat some solid food.

March 6, 2012: Ezekiel suffers a setback. He is "unusually lethargic," lays in bed the entire day and his only response is to moan unhappily. He doesn't eat or drink and is exhibiting unusual neurological symptoms.

March 7, 2012: Ezekiel seems to improve again. His abnormal movements stop and he can watch TV, but still isn't playing normally.

March 8-10, 2012: Ezekiel's parents note he seems to be gradually improving. He regains a bit of his appetite, but is not active or playful.

March 11, 2012: Ezekiel's symptoms worsen again. He refuses to eat or drink and is lethargic. His parents notice his body is very stiff.

March 12, 2012: Ezekiel's body is so stiff that his back is arched. He is getting fluids through an eyedropper because he will not drink on his own. Meynders comes to the home and checks his vitals. She suggests he could possibly have viral meningitis and says she tells the mother she should take the boy to a doctor. "It did not jump out at me that he was that seriously ill," Meynders testifies.

March 13, 2012: The Stephans head to Lethbridge to pick up an echinacea mixture from a naturopath. Ezekiel is too stiff to sit in his car seat and has to lie on a mattress in the vehicle. Back at home that evening, the boy stops breathing on a couple of occasions before his parents leave home to meet an ambulance. The breathing equipment in the ambulance it too large to properly help a small child. The boy is taken to hospital in Cardston and then to Lethbridge for transport to Calgary by air.

March 14, 2012: Ezekiel arrives at Alberta Children's Hospital in Calgary where doctors tell the parents the boy is showing very little brain activity and the prognosis is bleak. He is put on life support.

sylvi profile image
sylvi in reply to

I can't like your comment for the main reason being it is so sad and avoidable. It is one thing to try homeapathic rememdies,but another when the child isn't getting better, When he wasn't getting better using their methods they should have taken him to the hospital sooner then he might have survived. So so sad all round.xxxx

Linda281 profile image
Linda281 in reply to

Thank you for the warning. What a terribly sad story

Basalt2016 profile image
Basalt2016 in reply to

Suzanne I have been acquainted with Tony Stephan for over 13 years. When psychotropic drugs failed me I started researching alternatives and found Tony's work and Truehope.

I could not work or even leave my house. I appealed to Truehope for help and this resulted in Tony Stephan himself calling me and giving me EMPowerplus for several years at no cost. My son began showing serious symptoms at age 11 and was provided the EMPowerplus for 7 years at no cost.

I lived in Portland Oregon at the time and Tony lives in Alberta Canada so I have not had close relations with him and his family. However, a book written by his eldest daughter titled A Promise of Hope, explains the conditions in their household leading to her mother's suicide when she was a teenager, and her brother Joe's battle, then her own to recover from a very serious collection of mental illnesses, spearheaded by a courageous grieving father of ten children, 8 of whom subsequently were diagnosed with the same illness which killed their mother and grandfather.

David Stephan must have been a pre teen when his mother took her own life, and the fact that he has overcome so much against all odds, is so very admirable and to his credit.

It is unfortunate that his error of judgment as a father has been bound to his job working at Truehope. I doubt very much if the company would have been mentioned had he been a bus driver or plumber.

These are excellent people who made a serious error of judgment, and are paying a hefty price, not only of their freedom, but are being made a public example by the Canadian government which has great power over the lives of its citizens through the national health system, much as England with its NHS.

If Hilary Clinton wins the election we too will be subject to a total loss of freedom to choose how we will address our own healthcare. Obamacare is already proving a giant ball and chain in all walks of life, and the socializing of America is well on its way.

David and Collet Stephan made an error of judgment but they are not criminals. They loved their son and are completely devastated by his loss.

Let us remember that none of us knows how we might react in a certain situation of high stress, and that if we have mercy we will be shown mercy when we need it.

Meanwhile Truehope had helped thousands of hopelessly mentally ill people recover and create meaningful and happy lives. I am just one of them.

We don't really know who the people are around us, so can we please withold our judgment for five minutes?

in reply to Basalt2016

Hello Basalt 2016.. Sorry for your issuses with your health problems. I hope you have found peace. I have no problems with adults seeking alternative medical advice. My problem was you posting about Truehope and purposely neglecting to mention the death of the baby. The founder's son of Truehope neglected to give his son medical attention. Baby died...It is in our Canadian criminal code to seek medical attention for our children or pay the consequnces with criminal charges. They choose to pay the consequences and that is why they were found guilty. In Canada, it doesn't matter if you are a plumber, bus driver or CEO of a company. You will be treated the same under our Criminal Code.

Truehope has been in trouble with Health Canada for many years before the death of this baby.

Canadians know about the negative press on Truehope...makes me wonder why you posted on a UK site?....

Withhold judgement for 5 minutes? Maybe you should look up how many times Truehope has been in the Canadian press. Then we all could make an informed judgement.

I wish you well


Basalt2016 profile image
Basalt2016 in reply to

I did not purposely neglect anything. I was trying to help another with mental issues.

You also neglected to mention that Truehope won their court battles with Health Canada.

I posted on this site because I am from England, but thankfully live in the USA where there is still the semblance of freedom and of free speech

You may continue to condemn this young couple, along with the drive by media.

All I know is that God is in charge and knows this family well. He is the one who gave Tony and David Hardy - both men of God- the answer to a most dreadful problem.

I reiterate that they ought to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

David Stephan was a child when Truehope was founded.

Thank God it was or I would have died young.

We are living in the days of the quick fix. Most people don't want to address the real issues behind chronic I'll health. I'd rather be a pioneer and be castigated than a victim of big business, which is what so called healthcare has become

You may continue your vitriol. As for me I shall be unsubscribing and leaving you all to your wonderful drug therapies which are doing absolutely nothing to heal you.


in reply to Basalt2016

All the best to you. You forgot to mentionTruehope got through the back door with Health Canada. They went through the US to produce their "medicine". Then they transport it back to Canada.

Yes God will judge, not you or me.

Adieu to you and I wish you peace.


Truehope has been mentioned as the reason why a young man in BC murdered his parents. The investigation is on going.....

Basalt2016 profile image
Basalt2016 in reply to

EMPowerplus has ALWAYS been manufactured in the USA. Health Canada wanted to stop it entering Canada because they wanted it labeled as a drug. It is pure nutrition.

I've lost count of how many people have murdered others on drugs. In every case of mass shootings the shooters were on medication for mental problems.

Nobody except God knows the true cause of that man's actions. What I do know - having suffered from withdrawals from medications for ten years - is that when a psychotropic drug leaves the body, it mimics the illness it is supposed to treat.

If you would do your homework, you will see all the independent research studies which prove that EMPowerplus works.

David and Collet are a completely separate issue and what has occurred should not interfere with all that has been achieved by his father's company in the mental wellness field over the past two decades.

I don't know how old you are, but at 62 I have been through a great deal and learned even more. I am no blind follower.

It is so easy as an anonymous writer to spread bad news instead of devoting yourself to what is good and promising.

NO doctor has ever healed anyone of mental illness and NO doctor has ever healed anyone of RA.

If they had this site would be unnecessary.

Please don't bother responding to this post.

in reply to Basalt2016

I thought you unsubscribed. No more highjacking Linda's post please..

I wish you well

helixhelix profile image

I'm sorry for you as it must be doubly stressful to have RA and know that your treatments are so limited. Being in constant pain is so wearing, and I can imagine that it's sapped your determination. I presume you have the full range of non-chemical pain relief? Ice packs, wheat bags and so on? Like everything they need to be used regularly, and maybe it could help your mornings to have a routine of range of movement exercise before you get out of bed, and then a period of icing/warming painful joints. I know it sounds odd, but exercise is really helpful as long as it's the right level for your joints, so if you have a lot of inflammation then gentle stretching and so on.

And I'd certainly think about diet changes, as these can help. I wouldn't recommend you go to extremes, but try to move step by step to a clean diet. The mantra I go by is "eat, not too much, and mainly plants". I found it helped me (alongside the medication, as I'm lucky enough to tolerate them well) and I lost weight, and more importantly it made me feel more in control of the disease.

Linda281 profile image
Linda281 in reply to helixhelix

Thanks helixhelix for some good tips that i will certainly try

MrsBones123 profile image

Hi Linda, and welcome :-) Sorry you have had to join the RD club though, but you'll find a lot of info. and support here.

I can't take a lot of meds either - NSAIDS, codeine etc, stomach just won't 'stomach' them. Am getting by on paracetamol's and heat pads at the moment, waiting for MTX to start working.

Ideally your rheumy and whoever is treating your depression could get together over this and discuss a way forward. I know we all react differently to drugs but there must be other RA patients who also have mental health problems who have found a treatment that helps. Maybe suggest that to your GP for starters?

Also, have you tried painkiller 'patches' ? Others here know more about them than me, but they might be helpful for your situation.

Good luck to you Linda, you've so many 'variables' to take into account, I do feel for you, but hey, sure it's not beyond the medical profession to sort you out. They'll just need to put their thinking hats on.

Take care xxxx

Linda281 profile image
Linda281 in reply to MrsBones123

Thanks for your advice MrsBones123 you have given me some hope for the future :)

MrsBones123 profile image
MrsBones123 in reply to Linda281

You're welcome Linda, make the docs earn their salaries ;-) Good luck and let us know how you get on won't you xxxx

Linda281 profile image
Linda281 in reply to MrsBones123

Yes I will thank you xxx :)

Coastwalker profile image

Hi Linda 281, All, your symptoms (including mental health issues,) are symptoms of low thyroid issues (Hypothyrodism) or vitamin B12 Deficiency or you can have both together.

Ask for a printout of any bloods done and their ranges too and pop them up on both the Thyroid Uk Forum and the PAS (Pernicious Anemia Society) Forum which also is for vitamin B12 Deficiency, so that members can help you forward.

Doctors are well known for 'missing' or 'over looking' both these patients due to relying on the narrow blood ranges.

Many members of both PAS and Thyroid are good at spotting a Thyroid or low Vitamin problem a mile off.

Linda281 profile image
Linda281 in reply to Coastwalker

Thanks Coastwalker, I am actually suffering from low thyroid and am currently taking 125 micrograms of Levothyroxine a day.My thyroid condition was diagnosed the year before the RA. I am not sure about B12 deficiency at the moment but do seem to remember that I had a deficiency in it several years ago. I will look into it asap

Coastwalker profile image
Coastwalker in reply to Linda281

You are welcome Linda281.

Do make sure you are optimally medicated, I was not well till I pushed my Doctor for more medication and was on optimal Levothyroxine. Now on my own NDT (Natural Desiccated Thyroid.) so I can control levels myself.

Good to hear you recall being deficient in vitamin B12.

Can you remember your original Vit B12 blood level ?

Do get vitamin B12 blood test before supplementing any B12, (most important, we are told)

*Don't accept 'Normal' blood results if you don't feel 'Normal' as being 'low in range' can still cause many problems, but you might not get acknowledged, as many of us well know.

Nsaids I know are not good if you have low thyroid, nor is any depression medication as it can make you fall further downhill.

Do check it out yourself though Linda :)

Linda281 profile image
Linda281 in reply to Coastwalker

Thanks for your help.Very interesting to find out that low thyroid and depression meds aren't good together. :)

Ambertabbycat profile image

Hi Linda281. I was diagnosed with severe depression back when I was in my 20's. I have been through many different meds for that. Some have worked well, but unfortunately, did not work forever. I am in my 50's now and do still take antidepressants. I developed RA about 8 years ago. I was treated with Methotrexate which did help significantly and did not interfere with my other meds. Recently I needed to increase the mtx dosage and my system could not tolerate the higher dosage. I've discontinued mtx and am currently taking prednisone, which for some reason has helped my depression. As it is not a good to take steroids for long, I am starting on Enbrel tomorrow. My doctors do not see any conflict with these meds and the ones I take for depression. I hope that they can find the best combination for you as soon as possible. I do know how deeply both depression and RA can affect a person. Please feel free to message me, if you'd like to discuss things in more detail.

Please do take care and keep trying, never give up hope. There are lots of options to try as others have mentioned.

Wishing you the very best.


Linda281 profile image
Linda281 in reply to Ambertabbycat

Thanks very much Karen

So sorry for hijacking your post Linda.

take care


Linda281 profile image
Linda281 in reply to

No probs :)

Coastwalker profile image

Thanking you for the links Kai, I clicked on them, but sadly they do not take me to those sites.

Coastwalker profile image

Sorry kai, same thing happening sadly. :(

Coastwalker profile image

Both :(

Shivam-NRAS profile image

Hi Kai-- , I can confirm the links work fine.

Coastwalker profile image

All sorted Kai, yes I am on both those sites already. :) Thank you.

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