bipolar disorder, Dr. Paul Markovitz  Q. I was improperly treated with antidepressants and amphetamines for a severe depression. This in turn triggered a series of rapid cycling. Currently I am being treated fairly successfully with Topomax and Lithium. Unfortunately, Lamictal did not work for me, I broke out in a rash. My Doctor wants to add Zyprexa for mania but I am resistant because of the side effects which seem so severe to me.

My question concerns the efficacy of diet and exercise. I have cut out all chemical additives in my food, and have supplemented my diet with flax seed (omega 3 fatty acid), vitamin b complex, and the like. I exercise five times a week. Is this a waste of time? Does it really matter whether or not I eat Twinkies or drink soy milk for my brain?

  A. Diet probably does not matter to your illness, but clearly effects weight and self-esteem. I am not aware of any dietary supplements that help with the illness. Follow your doctor's advice for optimal care.