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Is Mental Illness Preventable?








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Welcome to this site which started off dealing with omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil only. It has gradually changed   to specialise on details on  nutritional or biochemical treatment of psychiatric illness. This is sometimes referred to as nutrient therapy.  The use of omega3 in eg heart disease is now obsolete as statins have taken their place. Since 1999 I have been interested in nutrient therapy in mental health.I mostly see people with anxiety and/or depression but I can also help many with bipolar or schizophrenia. Alas, OCD is something that I can help only in about one third of cases.You can see a short video on my work at

Early this year  I was asked by a psychologist, Ms Maeve Halpin, to write a chapter in a book which she would edit.Her idea was that seven health care professonials would each write a chapter and my one is "An Introduction To Nutrient  Therapy in the Treatment of Mental Illness". The book " How to be Happy and Healthy -the Seven Natural Elements of Mental Health"  was published in  July 2014 and is now available in electronic form  on 

My experience now is that the majority of patients with mental health problems can be helped by getting the chemistry (biochemistry) of the brain as close to the normal range as possible. Most of my mental health patients have seen a psychiatrist, sometimes,many psychiatrists, before they see me yet I can help the majority. There is no way that if my cardiology patients had seen a cardiologist that I could improve even one of them.

 Since 2009 I have been spreading the message about natural nutrients and have made over 20  Rapid Response contributions  to the electronic version of the British Medical Journal ( Go to and put Edmond O`Flaherty in   the search box.

I work with my son Andrew who like me is a GP/primary care physician.We are at Gleneagle,Greygates,Stillorgan Road, Blackrock, Co Dublin (tel 01-2881425 or +35312881425, email The current   range of tests we do typically costs €400 for Irish residents  and €500 for non-residents. These fees include blood and urine tests and 6 months of follow-up. Most of those who live far away come only once and we communicate  by phone or email after  that. The lower rate for residents is because we can get some tests done locally for  them while tests for non-residents are all sent abroad. You can see a picture of our office by putting Gleneagle Stillorgan Rd in  Google  maps.

I WISH TO ACKNOWLEDGE ALL THAT I HAVE LEARNED FROM DR WILLIAM WALSH PhD WHO HAS INSPIRED MUCH OF MY STUDIES INTO NUTRITION IN MENTAL HEALTH. He is still doing research and spreading his knowledge of this topic from Chicago . HE VISITED IRELAND TO GIVE A FULL DAY`S COURSE. THE MEETING TOOK  PLACE AT TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN IN JULY 2010 WITH 200 PEOPLE IN ATTENDANCE, INCLUDING 20 DOCTORS but alas not even one psychiatrist. SEE DETAILS INCLUDING THE SLIDES OF THE LECTURES at  You can  order his new book "NUTRIENT POWER" on that website. You can get more information on Dr Walsh at where you can read  his views on nutrients as well as a commentary on Pyroluria.

In Dec 2012 I came across the work of a Greek scientist, Dr Philippe Melas, who is doing  post-doc work in the Karoniska Institute in Stockholm where he also got his PhD. He has a great understanding of the brain in mental illness  and if you are of a scientific bent yourself there is a feast of knowledge availble by googling him. You could start with a study of his doctoral thesis which is Depression:Genetic,  Epigenetic and DNA Biobank studies.

When I see a patient with a mental health problem I prescribe medication just as other doctors do. I am conscious though of lack of success in treating many conditions as well as some nasty side effects from drugs. My method then is to analyse their chemistry (biochemistry)  and use nutrients to get them as well as possible.In general that takes longer than medication. After a few months and if they are well I usually reduce the medication to a certain extent and see if they remain well. I never take them off meds if they have a history of psychosis but if they suffer only from anxiery and depression I can more than 50% off mediation and they remain well on nutrients only-vitamins,minerals ,essential fatty acids and amino acids. The founder of this type of medicine was a Canadian psychiatrist called Abram Hoffer and you can see him in action many years ago in this piece from you tube:  

There is a splendid dedicated group called Bio-balance Health in Australia.They were responsible for bringing Dr Walsh to Australia and they organised the course for physicians in Sydney which I found so useful. Their fine website is at

 In July 2012  I came across an article composed from medical journal reports on different  natural products which can improve the quality of life of those with schizophrenia. See details at

If you want up to date information on vitamins and other micronutients have a look at  . That is the department in in Oregon State University in USA called after Dr  Linus Pauling, a biochemist who won two Nobel Prizes. My  own view is that multivatamins are not particularly useful for physical illness in most people- better to analyse the chemistry and treat whatever the results indicate require treatment. I prescribe medication for psychiatric conditions like other doctors but I immediately start to get the chemistry right so that as many as possible can become drug-free  in due course.

Another very useful source of knowledge is a book  which you can download  from   

That is a splendid little book with an enormous amount of useful information. Congratulations to the authors who very generously have allowed it to be downloaded free of charge. You will be able to get it  shortly too from                             

I found an interesting article on Nutrition and Depression in Pubmed and I  found it worthwhile to read it a few times.  You can read it at There is a good summary from Harvard on nutrients in Bipolar Disorder in Nov 11 at

 The information on this website  is being provided for the benefit  of the  patients of Dr Edmond O`Flaherty, a family doctor (G.P.) in Dublin,Ireland. I usually see patients with a mental health problem on a regular basis over a long period so anybody coming here should be aware of this fact. However some patients come from far away and indeed from other countries  and I try to follow them up over the telephone or by email.Those who suffer from depression are the likeliest ones to benefit from coming here.   When  I attended  a course in nutrition in mental health in Sydney  the main speaker,Dr William Walsh PhD, mentioned that this work can be relevant to eating disorders too and if used in assocation with  psychotherapy and  medication (usually SSRIs) can significantly improve the prognosis. In the past I felt that I could do nothing about anorexia nervosa but now I am happy to see patients with this condition as a lot can be done and often a worthwhile improvement  in the physical and mental health can start to occur in about three months. Many people with schizophrenia or bipolar a get a useful improvement too too but only about 15% of those with pure  OCD find it worthwhile to come so I advise patients of that fact before they make an appointment. Those with OCD plus depression for example do better than the pure OCD cases. I cannot increase the IQ of a patient with Downs Syndrome so they would be wasting their time coming here.

I recommend nutrients for my patients  and they  cost about 3-5 euros per day mostly from health food shops. Sometimes I get these made up in Pfeiffer Center in Chicago as they put them into a smaller number of capsules and there is better compliance.

This website is for general knowledge only and not specifically for any individual. Because it is  on the net  it is being viewed by hundreds of people every month. Feedback from different parts of the world suggests that many lives have been utterly transformed by these few pages. If you have any suggestions to improve it or any comments or  if you notice any error please contact .You may also contribute your opinion to my blog at 

I provide testing for a whole range of psychiatric problems,especially depression but also many other psychiatric conditions. Results are best for depression in young people and many of those are able to get off antidepressants and as far as I can see stay off them successfully if they take the nutients as advised. Pure OCD patients are the most difficult to treat and I do not recommend anybody to come here for treating this as only 25% get a  good response. However where OCD is just one of their psychiatric problems the outlook is actually better. Some with ADD and ADHD come too. These tests are sent to  labs in Ireland,U.K. and the U.S., and then if something abnormal is found I try to correct it. I do not send exactly the same tests for everybody-it depends on the history and physical examination.This treatment is sometimes referred to as biochemical individuality. Blood,urine and occasionally hair samples are taken and about 80% of patients turn up at least one abnormality. I can only help them if the test results show an abnormality so some people will gain nothing from coming here. About 70% of those with depression, 50% of those with schizophrenia or bipolar and 25% of those with OCD improve over the following few months. What I recommend is the addition  of selected vitamins,minerals,amino acids (from the breakdown of protein in the gut) and essential fatty acids (including fish oil) to their regular medication,not as a replacement. I also advise continuing the medication as a rule and do not reduce the medication level of anybody with a history of psychosis. Among the fascinating points of this work is that about 20% of cases (excluding OCD)  are actually easy to solve and I am concerned that  this knowledge is not widely known. 

Autism can be treated fairly well  now but it is very specialised and  I  believed they should initiallly be seen  a doctor who is  a pediatician  with a special interest in autism. The only one I have seen at work is Dr Allen Lewis MD whose practice is at As mentioned above I avoid treating them as a rule but I can do a little for them, but not as much as I was able to in the past.

 I did a course in nutrition in mental health  in Sydney in Feb 2006 organised for doctors  by Pfeiffer Center  where I was introduced to autism as a chemical/biochemical problem. Autism is fairly treatable now if the brain chemistry  and gut chemistry is sorted out in the first three or 4 years and children can then enter normal primary school. Even older ones can achieve some benefit too but not to the same extent as the brain gets damaged in due course if not treated. Successful treatment involves taking special nutriens for a lifetime.These children have a severe  zinc deficiency as a rule for example and zinc is a very important feature of normal brain function and also  for normal bowel function. They usually have a whole range of other problems too,often related to the gut.  Best results are achieved by combining biochemical treatment with such therapy as ABA.

I have  started to treat Alzheimer`s Disease using antioxidants and as well as metallotionein promotion therapy from Pfeiffer Center, Chicago. This treatment is taken in addition to regular medication,which,to be frank,is not too impressive . Treatment  by Pfeiffer Center in Chicago of a small number of patients  has shown improved scores on the Mini-Mental Test  and computerised CANTAB testing and these results have been stabilised for up to 5 years,a remarkable story. Using their protocol and products I now offer this treatment too. Please note that although early results are promising this treatment must  be regared as "unproven" until double-blind,controlled studies can be successfully completed and published. Because this product  is not made by a big drug company that may take a very long time. This treatment works best if started at the first sign of the condition appearing and regular medication is continued too.

No responsibility can be accepted for any use to which you put this information.Please get the opinion of your physician in the first place and DO NOT STOP YOUR NORMAL MEDICATION WITHOUT YOUR PHYSICIAN`S APPROVAL.The nutrients I recommend for psychiatric conditions- mostly vitamins,minerals,essential fatty acids and amino acids-are taken in addition to and not instead of standard psychiatric medication-it is complementary rather than alternative medicine.As the patients get well though they often get drowsy and then the psychiatrists  reduce the level of their antipsychotic medication if they have been on that.

Note that omega-3 fish oil is unsuitable for those with a fish allergy -they should use flaxseed oil instead. It is  unsuitable  too for haemophiliacs and probably  for certain other types of blood disorders or if taking any medication to thin your blood or prevent it from clotting.It may be unsuitable too in large doses for some of  those with a pyroluric disorder-this affects  27% of people with schizophrenia ( and a lot of bipolar patients too,especially rapid cycling bipolars) and some of these appear to be deficient in omega-6 instead (in particular gamma linolenic acid)  as well as B6 and zinc.Please read about it as you may spot this condition  in a person with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder or simply depression and help them on the path to recovery by referring them on. I am really surprised at how  the same nutritional treatment can improve these 3 widely different conditions in so many cases. I  like to turn up pyroluria in the kryptopyrrole test  as the outlook is generally very good for those patients-their lives can be greatly improved in as little as a few weeks in many cases.Those with a low histamine test generally improve after a few months  while those with a high histamine level tend to have very low serotonin,very severe depression and many months pass before  they recover,if at all. If they are treated while young though the outlook even for this group is generally quite alright,although they may not always be able to return to the same high level position which they had in the past. My own belief is that it a great tragedy that the type of information provided on this site is not known by most doctors and that so many people  who could have a good quality of  life are living in misery instead.

Nutritional psychiatry makes up only 25% of my work but it is by far the most useful and satisfying work that I do. Almost every month I see patients who have been out of work,sometimes for years, returning to work or college and the benefits to those patients,their families and indeed society are enormous.Most of the patients I see,and they come to me from very far away sometimes, have been attending psychiatrists for years and I am quite shocked at how much extra benefit is is possibe to obtain for them by doing  tests and recommending specific nutrients.The biggest problem I have is that sometimes I recommend a long list and unless a mother or somebody who is as concerned as a mother is there to make sure they take them then my work will be in vain. As they get better though they will generally take them themselves.I cannot cure anybody of mental illness though so if they are well and stop taking the nutrients they will relapse,usually in a few weeks.However after the first few months of treatment they will generally get by on a much smaller dose than they need in the beginning.

If somebody has a history of psychotic illness for more than ten years my experience with nutrients  suggests that the prognosis is less effective and in those over 50 the results are generally poor.The oldest patient with chronic schizophrenia I have seen getting a job is now 58 and I started treating him only  five years ago.He still remains on his antipsychotics although the dose has been reduced.Recently he told me he felt great and said he felt dire before I treated him.

Nutritional or orthomolecular psychiatry is used by only 1% of psychiatrists  in North America.Gradually however medical schools there are opening faculties of complementary  medicine and I expect that this type of treatment will become more  widely accepted over the next few years

I found a website recently that may help some of the people who come to this one. It is .It features an American psychiatrist, Dr James Greenblast MD who specialises in integrative treatment.

In March 2012 I read an article that may interest you :  It lists some useful articles  on nutritional  therapy in mental health                

In Oct 2013 I read a blog by Dr Sheila Joshi,PhD, a Cliniclal Psychologist in Californa who keeps a close eye on omega-3.There is a tremendous amount  of updated information there at

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This has nothing to do with omega-3 or nutrition but I have for over 10 years  been using a a drug called naltrexone in small doses (low dose naltrexone) and have found it to be extremely useful in some cases of cancers,auto immune diseases, MS,Chronic fatigue/M.E.,poorly-functioning immune systems,psoriasis,fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis,ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn`s Disease to name only some indications. I have got considerable experience in its use and have prescribed it for several hundred patients.  It costs 55 euros to see me and  a prescription for 6 months is issued if I think it might work. One of the local pharmacies keeps  it in stock but note that an Irish prescription is valid in all countries of the European Union and the tablets can be got in a day or two  by any helpful pharmacist. I am one of the few doctors in Ireland who prescribes it but the knowledge of its value in numerous conditions is slowly spreading around the world. Conferences have been  held about it in America and elewhere in recent years. You can get more information at

In Feb 2013 I was interviewed here in Dublin by a team from TV2, the largest commercial TV channel in Norway about LDN. The film they made was seen by almost 1 in 10 of the entire population of Norway. I probably did more useful work in that film than I did in  my entire career  for most of my work is similar to what doctors do routinely but LDN has the potential  to utterly change the lives of many people and practicallly no doctor knows anything about it.  LDN  is very cheap, has been around for nearly half a century, has minimal side effects and works for many people  in dozens of different conditions. From now on if somebody in Norway has some condition that is not responding to the standard treatment there is a reasonable chance that the GP will have heard about it or a  friend will ask him to look up LDN in case it is  on the list.I have had numerous phone calls  from doctors and patients in Norway already and have even seen a few patients who came over to Dublin to see me.The number of Norwegians on it has gone from 300 to14,000 since the film was shown and the number is increasing still.

The original programme  was in Nowegian,except when three of my patients or myself was speaking. They have now subtitled the rest of it into English and you can watch it at

Last updated 31 May 2014