Lamictal vs. Lithium: Which drug is better?


I've seen dozens of improvements in just the past 2 months since Lithium was stopped. So, here are the results, or rather how I'm doing, in response to what a few asked me on my other hub, to update them. Here it is.

I just got off Lithium for good a few days ago. I have been on Lamictal for over a year and a 1/2 and since I started Lamictal I've been doing much better. You can read my other hubs on Lamictal. But anyways, somehow my Lithium level was too high one day and the doctor took me off it completely. Long story short, I'm now off it completely. I have good news, because it caused me SO many bad side effects including these (of which are gone or almost gone now):

  • dry mouth...............caused dozens of cavities :(
  • diareaah...................practically daily.........I thought it was IBS
  • shaky hands...........had to take Nadolol for that side effect alone or I could barely write
  • decreased sex drive........yeah....I didn't know this but physically it was, not emotionally
  • acid reflux........causes gastrointestinal problems
  • causes psychoisis............I've taken seroquel for psychosis....

Towards the end I had some "toxic" symptoms:

  • nausea
  • diareaah
  • diziness
  • vomiting
  • memory problems

etc.

The complete list is at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002667.htm

So, now I feel much better mentally, and physically from zero lithium. Gone forever! So happy to flush those pills down the toilet!

Funny thing is, someone said to me, flushing them down the toilet may be bad for the water intake afterwards, which I was unaware of, but of course they must be REALLY toxic pills to do that.

Sad But True

Often times doctors just don't care. My recent experience with my psychiatrist, we'll call him Dr.R, was terrible. First off , I've never given him any trouble or needed to call him between visits, but recently when his staff called me and said "Get off Lithium right away! Your level was not toxic but too high for what you're on." I was worried and did as told. I think Lithium is a terrible drug so I was happy. Then I had withdrawal from the quick stopping of it. But don't forget, Dr R, promised to call me and send me another blood test MONDAY to see if I was ok.

He never called. I called a bunch of times- no response. I was withdrawing and finally got a doctor to take my blood, to make sure I was okay. It was 0.2 which was okay but I was recommended to take just 300 mg of Lithium (instead of the 600mg before) to stop the withdrawal. Well, I did and then got sick with diareaah and vomiting. So I call my pcp and she won't see me. I call my Dr R, and he after me calling 3 times never returned my call. I was forced by my own advice, to go to the ER at my local hospital.

The nurses and doctor there were sarcastic and said "Oh you just have a bug, you can go home". I insisted on a blood test for my lithium level--that's how doctors monitor your lithium becasue it gets toxic if it's too high. So they did and guess what? As I suspected it was still 0.2 a week later....as it was on 600mg and I was currently on 300mg.

Needless to say, I knew I had to get off Lithium, once and for all, that awful drug which caused so MANY side effects inluding weight gain.

I take all my medicines as prescribed so don't think I tried to do this on purpose. I had been praying alot too, asking God to help me feel better.

So I'm now off the lithium completely. But it took a hell of a lot of self advocacy. I feel bad for the many mentally ill people who are so medicated, they can barely remember to take their pills or shower let alone self advocate. I'm blessed to have been as functioning as I was.

Lithium Effectiveness

Another thing is if you're not on a certain dose of lithium, it's not going to help. My dose of 300 (which used to be 1200) was low and my doctor should have taken me off it himself. Also, when I was at a place called respite while withdrawing, the staff and I FINALLY got a hold of Dr R, he was very hard to reach though he was "concerned" and promised to be there and take care of my best interests. Well long story short, the staff spoke with them and he gave them a really hard time and they were rolling their eyes, telling me he said "I don't have time for this, I'm on my way home".

Doctors like that shouldn't be working in my humble opinion. So that concludes my recent update on getting off Lithium. I'll keep you updated on my further progress. In the past 2 months since I got off Lithium:

  • My head is clear
  • I'm not angry
  • I'm more patient
  • Overall feel much better
  • Physically no more of those side effects
  • I'm on 3 meds, not 5
  • I'm training to be a peer counselor
  • I am coping better
  • I am leading a spiritual group
  • I'm just doing so many things

thank God I give Him the glory. My prayers have been answered.



Have you tried Lamictal for bipolar?

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Comments 12 comments

Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

It is horrible when doctors treat their patients like this. I know there is probably more stress in dealing with mental illness, because I am sure some patients can be trying, but a lot of times it really does seem like they think they can get away with not treating their patient properly because they can blame everything on the patient.


schoolgirlforreal profile image

schoolgirlforreal 4 years ago from USA Author

That's it in a nutshell, Millionaire Tips, I guess.

There's so much more to it, though. If you watch the video above, which I know is long, it's over an hour, but it has such valuable information you probably never heard of: this is so essential for patients and family...to be aware of things they are not aware of. Dr. Breggin has given me hope over the years that people ARE over medicated (that there was hope for me) and that the mental health system is NOT better in many ways than days of the asylums, for many reasons- chemical lobotomy: over medicating people to stop anger or depression, which is often caused by normal life events, and can be easily solved with talk therapy. The drug industry makes so much money with pills, it's really sad how many people could lead normal lives if not treated this way...


Hendrika profile image

Hendrika 4 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

I have to say that here in South Africa over medicating is not so easy because the medical aids have very strict rules about what they will allow. So unless the patient wants to pay out of their pockets they will have stay within those guidelines. There are some medication my psychiatrist wants me to have but my medical aid does not want to allow it. So, you really don't know where the real middle line is.


schoolgirlforreal profile image

schoolgirlforreal 4 years ago from USA Author

Hmm Hendrika, I don't know much about that, do you think it's a good thing? The real middle line? I don't know. I think the middle line or good line would be getting the patient to a place where they function as well as possible which many doctors don't seem to be doing....as we know many children are put on ritalin just because they are overactive which can be something they grow out of and it's taking the easy way out. I guess one cannot begin to really speak of all the bad things or good things in psychiatry. According to Dr. Breggin in the video above, telling someone they are mentallly ill is one of the most horrible things one can do to them; giving them numbing medication which takes away their real self. I guess my current opinion is to only medicate when totally necessary like if the person is schzpherenic (sorry spelling) or really out of control with mania. I was neither, I was just really scared and suffered trauma, there's a difference and I think putting people on numbing pills for the rest of their life OR helping them work out their anxiety roots or trauma roots, well the second one I would think is better. Also providing a place to kids to go to like when I was 16, that would be safe.....to get away from toxic parents or whatever, or even if the hospital would just help the person instead of instantly medicating them.


Boogity 4 years ago

I'd love to get off lithium. I feel like it acts as a sweater for my brain. Fuzzy, grey, bland, dull. Lamictal is my saving grace. I'm finally happy, euphoric almost after years of anger. I laugh again. Laughing is my drug, sanity, love, my everything. Lamictal is fantastic and I recommend anyone giving it a go 100000%. Lithium makes me shake like Im a nervous wreck even though I'm not. It is very limiting to life ie: taking a drink without spilling, writing, giving or receiving an object, it's simply embarrassing and generally turns into a conversation topic. Thank you for this page. In a world of the unaware or just plain judgemental it's nice to "fit in" and share.


schoolgirlforreal profile image

schoolgirlforreal 4 years ago from USA Author

You probably can, since you're on Lamictal. Being on Lamictal for over a year, is what made Lithium not necessary because they are both mood stabilizers. I hope you do for your sake.

Yes Lithium dulls the senses. You're welcome. You make me happy that I could help you. I'm so glad you liked it, and happy you feel nice to fit in and share.

Best to you

Schoolgirlforreal


customastrocharts 4 years ago

Lamictal is fantastic, but I'm allergic to it! I've never taken Lithium, but actually strangely enough, my son is on both and its the best mood stabilization solution he's ever had. He's doing quite well.


schoolgirlforreal profile image

schoolgirlforreal 4 years ago from USA Author

Customastrocharts,

Thank you for taking the time to comment, I'm glad you did. That to bad you're allergic to Lamictal, I know there's a rash associated with it.

Your son is on both? It's okay if it makes him feel good. But for me, since I've been off Lithium I'm not angry like I was and so on. Thank you and best wishes.

Rose


customastrocharts 4 years ago

Thanks. Its so funny how everyone reacts to meds so differently. Its such a hard thing to pinpoint.


schoolgirlforreal profile image

schoolgirlforreal 4 years ago from USA Author

That's very true. I'm not for medication unless you need it. As for me, being off lithium has been great in many ways, but also very challenging in other ways, but living life med free- at least in this one med- is good I think.

cheers!


customastrocharts 4 years ago

I agree.


schoolgirlforreal profile image

schoolgirlforreal 4 years ago from USA Author

Cool! LOL ;) Have a great week

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