I think I'm going to write a hub on this when I get some time.
I recently got off Lithium because Lamictal, a similar mood stabilizer is working fantastically. And now I don't need Lithium. This is a long story but Lithium caused me:
loose stool almost every other day- diareaah to be exact
confused state of mind--just realized THAT a few days ago
dry mouth leading to multiple cavities
thinning of the hair
I never would have imagined any of these (and theres a few more I didn't mention like shakiness of the hands which made me take corgard for that side effect and it also cause acid reflux) and didn't even know it was caused by lithium until when the dose was lowered my stool was firm for the first time in years- I had thought I had IBS. Other things improved like my hair got thicker. My mouth is not so dry so it's easier to eat, becasue I have more saliva, and as to the confusion of the mind, I didn't know that till a week ago when I decreased to 300mg and now to zero. I am thinking so much more clearly. These medicines are not good becasue doctors don't warn you of side effects, at least when I was under age 18 and I had no idea and was never told in the beginning.
I must say and it's sad but true, that many people are much worse off w/ these meds and they don't even know it.
There will be a hub about this soon.
Hello SGFR. All in all I have had good results with my med program. I will say they were most positive when I kept a mood/med chart journal. I always begin that process again when things get caty-wampus.
I know or tend to think I know something is amiss when I 'play' doctor. Like now. I do bunches of stuff that affects my dopamine levels - 5hr energy drinks upto 8 a day sometimes, night-time guy stuff, which has the same affect, caffeine craving or load that coffee up with esspresso (I know misspelled.) and working hard to be med compliant. Very successful with BP meds and terrible with diabetes med - 50% compliant.
We just recently adjusted my anti-psychotic med - risperdal by 50%. That occurred when I went to a med meet and busted out with I think I have early AZ symptoms. Sent my pdoc for a loop. My tdoc worked on anxiety - nope no more than usual - want ciggy's for dopamine affect - they are gon'na have to verify of course. Liability and all that stupid stuff that gets in the way. But, it's needed.
I did my best last year on a detox program and supplement program. Long story why I am not compliant with that. But, if I can get a hold of things better soon, vacation this month, I will get started again. I look forward to positive results.
Well, is this TMI or is it Tim , , ,I always get confused on that one - LOL.
Feel free to email me with a survey or questions. I am not afraid to help followers out - especially family members, which I hope is learning from my experience now - smile!
Thank you for asking this powerful question and I look forward to your hub!
(oops, I posted this to the comment above but meant to post it to the main chain. Sorry!)
I think that medicines of all kinds can have dramatic benefits as well as drawbacks. Some people are on medicines or dosages that they shouldn't be. Some try to self-medicate, either with street drugs, OTC drugs (such as Tylenol, which can make you really sick if you take it for more than a day or two, or "natural" supplements (which are far from harmless--iron, lead, mercury, silver, caffeine...). I believe that the answer is not "how many" or "what kind" of treatment (if any) should I be getting, it's whatever your body NEEDS to stay healthy or get healthy again. Side-effects from a medicine might be offset by another medicine--just work together with your doctor and pharmacist to come up with the answer. A complex problem may require a complex, multi-faceted solution.
Watch this video about Big Pharma and be informed. I have opened my eyes to the trap that the pharmaceutical companies want us all to fall into. They are using this video to train med students. If this link does not take you to the video do a search for Big Bucks, Big Pharma.
I personally have taken none of the medications you mentioned but my best friend, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's when he was 46 years old, has taken many of them. He just recently had his meds changed because his depression was worsening and he experienced many of the same side effects you are describing. They have been experimenting with dosages for the past month with him to level off the side effects, but it has been a very troubling time for him in the meantime.
Right. Though I've had these side effects for 18 years! And my doctors never did anything. Only until recently as I suggested Lamictal, and for me (@tsmog) I've ALWAYS been on top of my medicine- I happen to be very detail orientated as far as taking them , knowing the names, generic names, doses etc, but also I'm always on target with knowing what I should take before the doctor suggests or approves it
Thankfully Lamictal came out in 2003. It has none of the side effects I earlier described. But, I do believe many people could be on better medications, was my point!! As I see often times heavily medicated people, and as for myself, just a tweak of meds and see how much better I feel. I'm instantly motived to work, and less irritable, so let's say the med mix is very key.
Thank you for the insight SGFR. I was suggesting that when I play DR that is when I realize I need the DR for making adjustments. Like you suggested with the Lamictal experience one may know when a change is needed. Relating this to the Dr is an experience for them as well ourselves. Their ability to determine or interpret the information while arriving at a solution, though that may be a process of weeks, months, etc is really kinda' awesome. In my view a DR is probably thankful to have a patient like yourself taking the time to understand and learn. All in All it is much better today than say 40 - 50 years ago or longer. In a sense we are pioneers of medicine.
truthfully tsmog, most/many psychiatrists don't give a damn (most or many) about their patients. They just care about money and they see the patient for 5 mins or so and give them a prescription. One lady on a radio show stated she went to 20 different psychiatrists with the same problem and they All gave her different medications and diagnosis.
What does this say?
IMO, I'm very lucky to be able to think like a doctor as you say, because I have had to be responsible in many cases like the current one, of providing for my own health!
If I hadn't self advocated for myself like I was able to do- which most patients on pills cannot do; they are so out of it and heavily medicated they can barely shower or tie their shoes from what I've seen, I would still be on lithium and feeling like shit.
Again, most psychiatrists don't care. Bottom line. So you must be armed with knowledge and the ability to SELF ADVOCATE.
It means most of the time we diagnose people just for the sake of money, and pharmeceutical companies love it, because they make a nice some of money with the psychiatrist. I could have told you that too, but everyone usually tells me I'm biased. I personally feel eastern medicine knows more about what they're talking about. I don't like the medical model at all. But again I am very biased. lol
Bravo! I totally concur with everything you just said, schoolgirlforreal!
There is a lot of side effects with meds. I would look for a psychologist that is in to holistic medicine and see if they can give you alternatives. But I would never go off your meds without talking to one first. Depends on your diagnosis, and whether Meditation, supplements etc will help you or not. I would look for someone in your area that that is holistic, well being, or eastern medicine
There are many people so heavily medicated that any suggestion goes in one ear and out the other.
I have been on countless psychiatric medicines since I was twelve and none of them have seemed to help. If anything they have caused problems. I always have dry mouth, it's hard to swallow at times and I see myself with drink constantly. Lithium is also a very powerful drug. One of the most powerful out of the antidepressant medicines.
I'm curious... Have you tried other prescription or non-prescription (NOT ILLEGAL DRUGS or alcohol) drugs to counteract the side-effects of the main one(s) you need to take? That's a key thing to work with your doctor to do: research solutions to the side-effects. Your pharmacist is also a good one to talk to about the side-effects you're having and possible solutions. Some might be very simple solutions, like taking a daily multivitamin, chewing gum, eating candy, or bringing your bottle of water everywhere all the time. (One advantage of this current fad :-) ). It's a tradeoff between how you feel/act with or without particular medicines. I always say that it's not the numbers or kinds of medicine you're on, but it's the numbers and kinds of medicine you NEED to be on.
Many people who are ignorant of the "pill situation" need someone to ADVOCATE for them!
Most people I know who are medicated , their families DON"T do research or take the time to find out how they can better help their loved ones......
It could be a very long time before someone just happens to come across a good doctor who knows or cares to put them on better meds or other alternatives.....
I never knew that one pill like lithium could cause so many side effects and make you end up taking multiple other pills to relieve them!
Lithium is a mood stabilizer and yes an old and awful drug imo as it has so many side effects. Some that I expereinced until recently were:
thinning of the hair
I wasn't aware becasue I was put on them when I was very young.
Lithium is a bit of a special case because it has such a narrow window of effect and toxicity is a big problem with it. Other medications have much more manageable side effects. It is also under-researched because it is an element and so can't be "owned" by a company.
In general I think psychiatric medications are like any medication, if you find the right one and have a condition suitable for pharmaceutical treatment they can be life savers, they can also be over prescribed, mis-prescribed, toxic, addictive etc,
I've always had good luck with SSRI's, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. They are not psychotropic drugs. It depends on the individual.
Originally, low-dose Prozac was a very good one. I now take the lowest dose of Celexa.
I am not currently on meds but was for a time. I had a couple of Drs that believed in starting with the lowest dose of a med and then increasing gradually if necessary. For a while I was on Zoloft daily for anxiety and depakote for what they said was bi-polar. Was also prescribed a low dose of Xanax for when anxiety got bad, mainly before the Zoloft really started to work. I am not out of control with my bi-polar and at the time I had lost my health insurance so I had to gradually decrease and stop meds. I have good days and bad days without them.
Zoloft seemed to be ok for me, didn't really notice any side effects. Xanax didn't give me any side effects but barely used it (only when I was a wreck.) Depakote had a couple minor side effects in the beginning, then again once it was increased. It was increased for migraine syndrome since the med can be used for both. I have to mention tho that I was only on Depakote for about 8 months, it has many possible unwanted side effects for long term. But yet it can also be well tolerated in others.
When you talk about Drs starting you on lose doses I concur
I was started on seroquel at 25 mg and went up to 200mg
But there must be something strange about it, that I didn't realize then, becasue it caused me horrific nightmares until I got used to it, and when I got off of it, did the same
You're very correct schoolgirlforreal, most people don't know, and regular family doctors don't always know. Often they refer you to a specialist or psychiatrist, and the pharmacy does give you a sheet, but most of the time it goes in the garbage unoticed. Doctors don't keep up on psychiatric drugs, and don't treat enough patience to know the side effects. They may no some, but I've seen many of them not wanting to touch them, and refer you to go else where, because you give the wrong meds and combination, you can end up with a bad mess. I had a med class, and have to say until our teacher made each one of each week do a whole report on one drug each I wasn't even aware of what some of these drugs can do.
I took antidepressants for a while then quit, never to take them again. I have clinical depression as an effect of a genetic disorder, not the other kind of depression.
Amytriptiline started out as an antidepressant but the Rheumatologists got hold of it or chronic pain. It was the absolute best pain and sleep med that I ever had! One problem, it makes you crave carbs like a pot smoker and I gained 10 pounds in a month. I dropped the amytriptiline and immediately lost the ten pounds.
Sounds like you're doing okay, without the meds. Kudos for you, if you can do it, great.
I'm still on my own journey. I'm on two now. Seroquel and Lamictal. I never knew for sure if I was bipolar- I was only 16 and trying to run away from home, from an abusive environment, naturally I was really scared and gave up on running away.
Anyways, If I do have it, Lamictal is the best drug I've found for bipolar, as it has no side effects I know of and it works very well.
It's awful to have to take any drug, but
As for seroquel, it does cause weight gain and stuff, but I have lost 25 lbs recently on weight watchers and intend to keep going.
I know of a few of these drugs that you have been speaking about in this forum. And first off i want to say that if you do not need to take these medications then don't! Sometimes the side-effects can do more harm then good, but for the most part they do work well for a majority of people suffering from major depression and/or bipolar disorder. Besides Lithium and Lamictal, Depakote is a great drug for Bipolar disorder and is used in patients who suffer from epilepsy as well. It will tend to put the weight on like Seroquel, however you just have to be aware of this and adjust your eating habits accordingly. Elavil or Amytripiline is an older Tricylic antidepressant, that a majority of doctors use to treat not only chronic back pain with, but depression as well. In my opinion it has a lot of side-effects despite being an excellent medication still. What works well for one person, may not for another and vice versa. Hope this bit of information helps you out.
I don't know if I need these medications, Jl, so I"ll have to try again and see w/ my doctor if I can slowly lower them again.
See, when YOu come off a med, yyou have withdrawl symptoms that are the same as the med, for instance if you come off lithium, you may feel manic, which is the symptom lithim if for. so....it can be trikcy.
Not sure if your comment helped LOL!
But it obviously is not good to take meds if you don't need to!!!
Took haldol...mis-diagnosed. Threw it in the garbage disposal. My wife took lithium...mis-diagnosed. She was weaned off it. Don't trust people that only make educated geusses and seem to need guinea pigs. Don't discontinue any prescribed meds...unless you are prepared to walk the tightrope w/o a net.
I agree Druid Dude!
No, discontinuing is not wise unless done so very slowly - these prescribed meds ARE like illegal ones in that...there are nasty withdrawals, and they are very potent so you need to be careful, as in not getting off say 200mg to zero, you have to go down slowly to 150mg, to 100mg, over time, like decrease 50mg every two months. It's tricky like I say, and yes, you have to be careful. It's just a matter of finding out whether you need them or not. I happened to not need lithium anymore thankfully becasue Lamictal is the same type of mood stabilizer w/ out side effects. I don't have all the answers. I don't tell people to stay on or get off but to become aware, of the possibilites and how yes, doctors use people as guinea pigs.
My goal now is to work on finding out if I can do w/ out one of my meds BY using my doctor who prescribes and knows the medication who can monitor how I'm doing..........many people do this. anyways, this is a very unpleasant and depressing topic after all!!!
But, Druid Dude, you sorta say two different things, first you say you didn't need a med, then you say, don't discontinue them unless you're prepared to walk the tightrope w/ out a net.
I think what you mean is that without the meds making you numb or unaware of life, you need to deal with life. okay.
But, if you can function without meds, and you are misdiagnosed, then it's wise to try and lead a fully functioning life, WITH being careful and using your head----by doing the change of meds the right way. I think there is hope for a lot of people possibly who don't need the meds or are better off---as many cause people to be suicidal...when they never were to begin with. there are many people who do walk the tight rope and I personally think that's much better if you can.
Dr. peter breggin a famous psychiatrist has spoken for years about it.
Yes, You hit the nail right on the head-you don't want to take those meds if you do not have to. And that's coming from someone who is a medical representative by trade. Lithium is not only a very powerful drug used to treat bipolar depression, but it also has a lot of side-effects. Speak to your doctor about switching to Depakote. It works well for a lot of people and does not have the side-effect profile that Lithium brings with it. And when you do take medications, such as antidepressants for example, you're right about getting off of them slowly. In fact let's say you have been prescribed lexapro-using that drug as an illustration. If you just stop it, you will experience an increase in Blood pressure, feel dizzy and a lot of other unpleasant experiences. The best way to cut down on a med, is speak to your doctor first, because he or she, will back you off slowly as you mentioned. And it may take anywhere from a month to six weeks, between getting off the med you are currently on, and transitioning over to the new one. Good luck to you.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2003 while I was pregnant with my daughter. I was around 4 months pregnant when I got the diagnosis. This was especially difficult for me, and according to my psychiatrist most psychiatrists don't diagnosis during pregnancy. I was having a terrible time with it, but that was the start of my experience with psych meds.
Prior to my diagnosis, I was depressed so I tried Paxil and then changed to Zoloft. I eventually stopped taking the Zoloft, got pregnant, and became increasingly more depressed. Since then I have tried the following:
Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor, Celexa, Wellbutrin, Lamictal, Buspar, Risperdone, Serzone, Lithium, Seroquel, Clonazepam, Gabapentin, Topamax, and Abilify.
I think that's all of them. Lithium was safest during pregnancy but I didn't feel it was working very well, and as soon as I had my daughter my levels of Lithium got way too high. I was hospitalized because of the toxic levels of Lithium in me. I felt confused, dizzy, nauseous, and surreal. I also had the physical symptoms you described.
I had to work with a good psychiatrist to find the best combination for me. Everyone is different. Almost every medication has side-effects so I guess you choose what side-effects you can deal with or which ones will eventually go away. In the past I've had trouble with word recall, sex drive, stomach pains, anorexia, increased appetite, anger, dizziness, and much more.
Currently I also love Lamictal. It has been a life-saver for me. I'm on other medications that also assist with mood stability, and after a few years I finally found my perfect combination. The body changes over the years, too. You'll always have to stay on top of how you feel and change meds when necessary. Lamictal has been part of my pharaceutical cocktail for years now.
I look forward to your hub about this.
I have been on 1200 mg of lithium for almost 3 years. I recently started getting off this and have noticed some side effects. Everything I eat or drink tastes different (almost bad) and my sense of smell has increased dramatically to the point I get sick to my stomach if I smell something bad. Has anyone out there had this happen?
I also have noticed the rage has increased as well. Where before I could hold my tongue and now I really want to tell people what I think. However I stay home more often than not to avoid any confrontation.
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