Just wondering what, if any, effects anyone may have felt after stopping lithium. I now have hypothyroidism that isn't going away, and I've accepted that... but I'm less able to control my emotions than I was before I started taking Lithium. I never used to be so temperamental, I never had explosive anger.... but since about 2 weeks after stopping lithium I have had those traits... and it's extremely upsetting.
Is it possible for lithium to change you permanently?
When we stop any medication the result is similar to what you are describing. The drug is no longer there walling everything up. Your body and mind are both learning how to life without the medication.
We adapt to our environment. Anger is the natural result to no longer living on medication. I relate, completely.
When you get your hypothyroidism under control, you will feel so much better. We have two primary causes to this disease, genetic and the course of medication. While on medication we do not live a healthy life style, rather following our cravings. At least I know that to be true for self and the women I have worked with. Seems to be true about the male population as well.
If you need support, you know where to find me.
I am currently reducing my anti-depressants because my hypothyroidism is under control with a newer medication. Between the two the side effects are the same. But with both I tend to feel drugged most of the day. Learning how to use the skills to manage and heal the rift.
Bless you Ladyface. May the road you follow lead you to peace and love.
Thank you for your encouraging words.
it's exactly that.. learning the skills..healing the rift... that seems so unpredictably and un-necessarily hard sometimes. I just can't get the thought out of my head that I should be able to do this no problem. I was fine for years without medication.. I'm trying to get back to that. It's slow going. But I'm positive
contact me if you want, or read my hubs about it
may I suggest a day treatment?
the groups Ive gone to are tremendously helpful for one who wants to work on self esteem, relationships, staying mindful etc.
wishing you the best!!
ps empathy is the best medicine sometimes too! (((hugs)))
I wish health workers knew how helpful spiritual connection is too.
totally. dealing with emotions is better. good advice!
Just to follow-up, and this may be a little late, but did you stop cold-turkey? Or was there some titration or change in therapy as well?
There was change in therapy, I started seeing a new (better) psych, and I went from 900 mg in Aug, to 600mg in Dec to 300mg in Feb to 0mg in April.
I still have the hypothyroidism, and I've been reading more to help with the explosive anger.. it seems to help when I read certain books that my psych recommended... but it's still there.. I have been a bit better at controlling my moods otherwise the last couple of weeks.. I'm hoping it stays that way..or at least doesn't regress.
Sorry if this response is a bit late
I just looked this over again. It's common I 've been told, that you will experience withdrawl symptoms, but they should go away over time.
Lithium is normally prescribed for Bipolar disorder. The symptoms you are describing could be signs of mania associated with bipolar disorder. Did your doctor take you off Lithium, or did you stop on your own? Also, your hypothyroidism will never go away - once you have it, you'll be on synthroid, levothyroxine, etc for the rest of your life. Hypothyroidism can be caused by Lithium, but for most of us, it just happens, and it's very common. I'd definitely speak to my doctor if I were you.
Yes, my doctor had told me that I could stop Lithium when I commenced regular therapy sessions with him. The idea of having hypothyroidism forever makes me a little sad, but if that's the worst thing that happens to me...
I tried Synthroid, but am now on Armour Thyroid (the Canadian version)
I was prescribed lithium (a natural salt) read Ronald R. Fieve, M.D. for some insight, yet much more research has been accomplished since his book 'Moodswing.' At least see if a peek on the net conjures some info. I much prefer my new script to lithium, I didn't like it, though that was me and each is different. I'm making a dash to go to work, hope that helps a bit. Have a great day and smile too.
I'll check that book out. Reading has been what's been getting me through this. Oddly. I've always enjoyed reading.. but it's never been something that has relieved feelings before.
Thank you for the encouraging words and for taking the time while you were busy. It's appreciated
Among other mood stabilisers, lithium was one of the worst in terms of stopping.
You don't get much withdrawal symptoms but the rate of in patient admission was higher.
There are other options such as depakote- not good if ur of child bearing age
or anti psychotics.
There are other medications but it's better to discuss it with your psych.
If drugs and alcohol is an issue, you may need to address this first.
Psychology will also help.
Lithium made me angry.
I was irritable everyday for 20yrs.
You and I have talked a bit over the last couple of years, and you've proven to be a very helpful and comforting friend. Thank you for your responses, you always have something helpful to say. I hope things are going well with you.
Some things don't seem to want to go away, the explosive anger is still there, but less frequent. I'm not sure the thyroid issue will ever go away. We'll see.
My husband has asked about having another baby... so .. wish me luck there.. Lol.
Many hugs and happy thoughts to you. Thank you
It has taken over 7 months to adjust to life after Lithium.
It's a huge change if you've been on it for a long time.
I was on it for 20yrs. It made me very irritable, and angry, and more sucidal than usual. I was afraid to look at knives. None of that exists anymore nor do the several horrific physical side effects.
I condemn this drug and recommend Lamictal.
I have to agree. I haven't the slightest clue about Lamictal.
Lithium was there for me when I needed it, but once I didn't need it anymore, I think I would have been best taken off of it.
I'll never say LIthium is without it's merits, because I wouldn't be here without it. But it should only be a grab at your shirt to bring you back off the edge of life. It shouldn't walk away with you and move in afterward.
Maybe I'll ask about Lamictal. I'm still seeing how I'm doing with less meds. I obviously don't want to go back on more if I don't absolutely have to.
Having more rage lately than I have the last few months. My next psych apt is soon, so we'll see.
Thanks again for your continued support. I'm sure you already know how much it means.
I'm glad I could help you.
I'm sorry about the rage. I have gone thru that a few times in the past several months and I found I needed to take space from people that were purposely annyoying me. I'm not sure where it came from though. It might have been a temporary side effect from getting off Lithium, to be honest, my theory. Stick to staying off Lithium, it will pay off, I'm most sure.
I head about it from lambservant I think. Or was is lorlie6? Anyways It's a mood stabilizer (also an anti-seizure med). Once I started taking it about over 2yrs ago, I started feeling immensely better, Like I noticed how green the trees were and stuff. It helped give me the strength to do a lot of positive things. There is a life threatning rash associated with it, that about 1 in 1,000? people get. I didn't get it that bad. (I DID get a rash on my breasts, upper arms, and thighs, but it lasted only temporary and wasn't life theatning.)
Lamictal I was told has no side effects that I know of. It's really been wonderful. I would risk the rash to see if it works....I did.
Eventually my doctor lowered my lithium since I was on lamictal and then I didn't need it at all.
So, if you feel you need a "mood stabilizer" for any reason, I would really recommend this one.
I'm so happy I'm not affected by the sun (from lithium) like I used to be.
Also, I don't have IBS like I did, or dry mouth (my dentist told me I have less plaque), and I'm not thirsty all the time.
Wishing you the best as always,
I can't prove any of what I am going to say, but I think that many psych problems like bipolar, anger, hyper-activity, depression and so on are the result of not only our mental state but a result of severely ignoring our spirit - the part of us that absorbs and gives and reveals us is often just totally ignored. I'm not talking religious spirit in the sense of having faith in God or anything like that - I'm talking about the very source of our being's fundamental energy and I call that one's spirit, or some would say this is our soul. It is not very popular in western medicine to address the needs of the spirit but to me it is THE most important part of healing and recovery - otherwise you just end up going from one medicine and doctor to another - the very same illness - a spiritual dis-ease - may mask itself in many ways and thus you will get body symptoms and diagnoses of different illnesses. But I have seen that people do not get well in a major way until they focus on their spirit and nurture its strength.
So this thing with the anger is your spirit trying to tell you to give yourself some good attention and fundamental energy renewal - meditate, sing, do artwork, express yourself; go out in the natural world and look really experience its beauty - it is there all around you, in city or country settings. If you can, find a group who is working on themselves this way (consciously or sometimes unconsciously) and join in. These groups are writers, dancers, actors, painters, singing groups, orchestras, travel groups, community volunteers - you get the idea. Yoga is good and will help you center, relax and strengthen yourself. It is interesting that by focusing on others in your group you will go a long way toward giving your spirit what it needs - the sense of belonging in the world. The feeling of also being appreciated - all these things heal the spirit, and tap into the greater whole world spirit.
Sometimes after doing this you will find that anger has all melted away. You wake up one day and realize you haven't felt angry all week! Or other times you may find that the anger was a real reaction to the world around you and you will see what caused it. Maybe you will need to end some relationship/s?
Find a different more relaxing environment to live in. But you will find the courage to make some basic changes in your life so you won't have to feel the anger, because your spirit is finally strong enough to live well and without fear (which I think is the most common cause of anger, fear).
Blessings and happiness to you. I hope you will realize that while some pharmaceuticals are necessary and help - real healing must address the whole person, body, mind and spirit, in the real world we are living in.
Hang in there. It's really hard when you're having to fight your own body's hormones to think clearly. I wouldn't venture to guess what's typical after cutting down on lithium, but there's a lot of wisdom in this thread.
I just finished reading Bending the Willow about Jeremy Brett, a brilliant actor with a severe case of manic depression. He portrayed the best Sherlock Holmes ever, overcoming his inner demons during an incredibly strenuous career. He showed you can succeed at a very high level, although it means dealing with additional obstacles most people don't face.
Back then, they treated manic depression with much higher doses of lithium, and at those doses -- far more than what you're taking -- it caused Brett's health to deteriorate. So it's good if you can get by on lower doses and make up the difference with therapy. But taking a lower dose is an imperfect solution, forcing you to live with a lower level of the problem that put you on lithium in the first place. It's like taking a medication for arthritis at a half dose to protect your stomach against ulcers, but that means you'll have to suffer some arthirits pain and stiffness.
In short, forgive yourself and be gentle with yourself if you're having mood swings and symptoms post-lithium: you're having to make a trade off between treating the mind and protecting your body from side effects. You've got a chemical imbalance-- the same chemicals that make your brain run, but they're in slightly wrong proportions so that you feel off-kilter. That's not your fault, any more than the arthiritis sufferer is to blame for gimpy joints, but it can be a nuisance!
Vent to your therapist and get it out in a safe setting as much as you can. That's what he's there for.
And remember that we all have bad days and good. Brett occasionally ripped into his friends, so they'd bark back or confront him if he slipped. But they knew he wasn't quite himself at those times, and they supported him because they truly loved him.
Thank you for your response. Those type of friends would be extremely helpful to have during these times.
I have indeed been seeing my psych more often, and since he's truly the best psych I've seen in all my years of bouncing between them, he's actually helping a great deal. I'm so, so thankful for him.
Now that some time has passed I can see that I'm definitely getting there, I'm getting better at this, albeit painstakingly slowly. It's sort of touch and go at times, but the 'go' is still there.. and I'm lucky enough to have a very supportive husband.
thank you again
OMG, I would never in a million years take these kinds of drugs. I believe totally in curing the body through diet. No grains. No milk products. No coffee, tea, chocolate, etc. Totally a neolithic diet. If one feeds the body what it was not designed to break down, it breaks down the body. In addition, as epigenetics is finally conceding, the foods and moods of the mother affect the child and changes the DNA.
It's hard to get off them, once you're on.
I was put on them at age 16 and I didn't know any better. What advice do you have for me? I'm going to talk to my doctor again about getting off slowly, I've already had huge success in getting off one of them....
I'm pissed off about it.
I'm not sure if you've ever had a mental illness that caused you to need something drastic to help you, but not everyone is the same. Your alarmed response at the idea of 'succumbing' to drugs for assistance is a little crushing.
I believe your theory is great, for some people. Unfortunately, it just doesn't work like that for others. I stopped eating all grains, increased my vegetable and fruit intake (grown from a local gardener) I didn't drink coffee or tea, or pop or even juice. For meat I ate mostly chicken breast and salmon. Once in awhile I would have a burger or a steak at a bbq or something... but it was the healthiest I've ever been in my life - body-wise. Unfortunately, it didn't help my mental state at all. I thought for sure it would. I exercised regularly along with it until I got to a certain low point.
I hope and hope that this works for some people, and maybe even one day, me! It makes me a little sad that this did not work for me, and I needed drugs to help me. But, there are just some things the body cannot cure all the time on it's own, even when at it's healthiest.
Do you have any websites you like to refer to? I'd be interested in reading more about it.
You don't indicate what the issue is. No, there are some things that cannot be cured through diet. If one has been born with a chemical deficiency and the brain isn't working the way it should, then that's very difficult. However, a lot more of these medications are been prescribed than ought to be. It would be the very, very last resort for me. I know lots about it - I had a brother who was on Lithium. I saw what happened.
Lithium is an anti-psychotic and generally only prescribed to people who have a chemical deficiency in their brains... I guess I didn't think I needed to clarify which specific issue is mine
I agree 100% with that statement. I've been seeing psychs for 18 years now, and this summer I just finally met one who isn't literally all about drugs. He wants to help me try to get off the drugs. He hasn't written me one prescription since I have been seeing him - to add, he's the most emotionally intelligent person I have ever met. I'm so very lucky to have found him.
The psych I had directly before him I used to call my visits "The Listening Hour with Dr. John" because she would literally just sit there and stare at you, and never ever give you advice, or feedback.. or anything other than a new prescription.
Doctors seem to be prescribing meds nowadays just to make the symptoms go away. What ever happened to dealing with as much as you could, rather than just medicating every single symptom?
Trust me, Lithium was the very, very last resort for me. So much so that I almost didn't make it. It was a very hard decision to make.
This is a very complex topic. I've read about 600 books on psychology and the human brain. Sometimes, the human brain just wasn't meant to deal with the things we are all dealing with today. I'm glad you've met a doctor who will help wean you off the drugs. The human brain is a fantastic organ and it can develop many different pathways through other methods...
Wowza. I wish I had been able to read all of those. I too find the brain fascinating. I find human behavior in general extremely fascinating! Maybe it's a desire to understand others to compensate for the lack of understanding I have within myself. hehehe
I must thank you for such prompt responses, it's rare to speak with someone 'real-time'.
your brother is very lucky to have you.
My brother died. As a result of taking Lithium, he developed Tourette's Syndrome. In the end, he took his own life at the age of 49. I tried to be the best sister I could, but in the end, it took a toll on me as well. I think of him sometimes and often am aware that there, but for the grace of DNA, goes I.
I think there are far too many pharmaceutical companies who are making tremendous profits out of making guinea pigs out people. I also think there are far too few doctors who are willing to explore what is actually happening in the brain by listening to the person and helping in examining.
Right now, my very best friend is telling me that for the past two years she has experienced 'artificial telepathy.' I'm pretty sure she is schizophrenic, but she doesn't want to go and see a psychiatrist because she's convinced that these voices are being beamed at her by other parties who developed the technology... My heart breaks and I'm torn between suggesting taking medication which sometimes stops the voices but also has deadly side effects.
You're right, my first response was factitious, and I should know better. In other circumstances, that could have been me. I'm very lucky that I don't have those issues.
Case in point for you, Sophia, in the 19 years I've been seeing psychologists and psychiatrists, I've just met the first one this year who cared to talk. I've actually had ones who literally just prescribe more meds, without even listening to you.
It's really sad and very scary.
I'm very sad to hear about your brother - my deepest condolences, and many many hugs.
lithium does not cause tourettes.
do you mean facetious (humorous) instead of factitious (a sham)?
i was on lithium for a few years. it may have worsened my natural inherited tremor. i had no withdrawal when it was stopped.
My late brother was told by the psychiatrist who was treating him that the Tourettes that manifested was a result of taking Lithium. There have been a lot of people who have developed Tourettes while taking Lithium. Of course, I can imagine that the pharmaceutical company wouldn't want that association made.
http://www.ehealthme.com/ds/lithium+car … s+disorder
The above link is asking that publicly. Sometimes it takes a long time for the public to become aware of something. Profit is a powerful motive for withholding results. There's a reason that drugs that have been on the market for years are suddenly withdrawn.
I'm not really sure if I fit into this conversation or not, but I quit taking my lithium about 2 weeks ago but I'm keeping in close in case I show signs of a manic episode. The reason I quit taking it was because my back became full of pimples and it was driving me crazy. I got a cream to help from my doctor but it is hard on the skin and I don't like using chemicals.
One of the things I am exploring now is Omega-3 fish oils. I'm currently taking a product called OmegaBrite which was recommended by a doctor who wrote a book called The Omega-3 Connection in which he did a study of people with mood disorders and gave them quality fish oil with higher amounts of EPA verses DHA. I've been taking the oil for about 3 weeks and just now started doubling up on it (which is going to be a little pricey) but I'm trying it out.
I'm a little nervous of stopping Lithium and I'm doing it without telling my doctor which isn't smart, but I know he wouldn't approve of me trying something else since that cream he gave me really isn't working and is just itching my skin.
You really should talk to your doctor before quitting any medication. Psychiatric medications, amoung others, are very dangerous to stop immediatley like anything. It could cause a life threatneing situation. You should not stop taking them and if you and your doctor decide to get off lithium, you should do it very slowly and gradually.
Well, I have quite a bit of experience with these doctors (all they want to do is add medications on top of medications) and getting off medications in the past. Most of the time it's turned out alright, but I might have to get back on the medication again...but for now I just can't handle the side effects.
I have the lithium ready if need be and those around me (family/friends) are watching me.
Good for you, peter.
It's great to have support like that.
I just had to warn you as I felt it was my duty.
Best of luck to you
Indeed Peter, I too feel the need to warn. You seem to know already that stopping Lithium like that isn't the best course of action.. I know if I had just stopped, monitoring myself wouldn't have worked because once I noticed something bad was happening, it would have been too late.
I haven't done any research on fish oils and their connection with the brain and its chemicals, but I wish you a ton of luck finding what you're looking for.
(At least do it slowly. You know it's fine to do, but slow is key)
I know I am joining this debate a bit late, but would just like to throw a few points into the discussion based on the scientific research. I am at a disadvantage to some on this thread in that I can't speak from personal experience, as I do not suffer with manic depression/bipolar disorder, although I've worked with many people who have been given these diagnoses.
1. Despite the name "mood stabilizer" no drug has ever been proven to even out our mood swings. What lithium, lamotrigine, sodium valporate and other drugs for the treatment of bipolar actually do is dampen down the nervous system and prevent phases of mania. Of course such an effect can be very desirable at times given the huge damage hypo-manic episodes can have on a person's life, but the term "mood stabilizer" is very misleading.
2. In common with other common mental health problems (e.g. depression, psychosis) there is no demonstrable biochemical imbalance to account for bipolar disorder. Even psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical industry don't attempt to suggest that these drugs are rectifying a biochemical imbalance. It seems they have their effect by means of a general sedative effect (indeed, the research suggests that anti-psychotic medications like olanzepine are equally as effective at countering mania as lithium).
3. Coming off lithium after being on it a long time definitely increases the chances of having another manic episode. This is not to say that lithium is actually keeping manic phases at bay only that withdrawing from it tends to trigger mania (a person may be less susceptible to mania if s/he had never been on it in the first place).
Finally, I'd like to congratulate those people who have successfully managed to get off lithium.
I've been off Lithium since Dec 2011. I have never felt better. Thank you.
I would love to get off other meds, that I'm on but I would need a lot of support and a good doctor to taper off very slowly over 1-2 yrs.
One thing I can say since I've been off Lithium, again, is I feel physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually better.
I have not had any manic episodes either- I've always had hypomania which is much easier to deal with (when I was on Lithium as well) (so as you say Lithium didn't do a damn bit of good curing it.)
What have you done to manage your hypomania Schoolgirlforreal since you no longer take lithium?
How have I dealt with it? Well, first of all, since I no longer take Lithium, I don't feel irritable all the time like I used to. It's a huge blessing. I have a sense of humor now, and don't feel as depressed. I can handle my emotions better, and rather than feeling suicidal which I also think was caused by Lithium, I deal with my emotions and I tell myself that if I'm going thru a phase of anxiety or "uncomfortalbe feeling" it will pass and it does. Knowing that it will pass is a huge coping/comfort skill.
Just yesterday I started feeling a bit manic and anxious. I was over my friend's house and I just felt like I needed space. So I went back to my Mom's to my room where I could be alone. I wasn't completely alone, because I was in the same house as her and I knew she was available and around, but I really needed to be alone, in my room, and I even refused to let her watch a movie with me.
After a while and some prayer, I felt tremendously better.
So, that is how I cope with those feelings.
It is more challenging sexually because I have more sexual desire. That I will admit. But the strange/funny thing is, is that I'm having less sex now, in the past 1-2 yrs I've ever had in my life. Most of this is due to the fact that I know I deserve to be in a fulfilling and healthy relationship which drives me to stay away from sex.
The other part I guess is learning to deal with the sexual feelings. It may seem powerful- and it did especially at first because I've never experienced those feelings. Since age 16 I was on Lithium so I never (enjoyed) that type of thing with anyone since i was a virgin at age 16. Now I know sex can be better than it ever was but my will and my mind keep me from abusing it. I've learned to control my urges by simple means. And I've done pretty well so I'm proud of myself for that and grateful.
I don't really have any other symptoms. Overall, being off Lithim, has made me physically better as far as my mouth is not so dry- which leads to less cavities and oral problems or thirst; and my kidneys are acting better, I previously thought I had IBS and I don't now
Mentally, I have more clarity- I notice nature more and its beauty, I feel less depressed, and actually have a sense of humor, people tell me I'm approachable which I wasn't before- I had up a wall- and I'm making friends more easily and naturally
Emotionally, I am able to control my emotions more which I could not before. When I used to get upset before when I was on Lithium the first thing that came to mind was extreme fear and wanting or feeling suicidal, now I'm no longer afraid of knives or afraid that I will hurt myself- I never wanted to but I feel lithium made me go toward that direction since meds can cause suicidality- anyways, I don't feel suicidal when I'm upset which has kept me out of respite now. I deal with my feelings- and often lately they are extreme sadness but I'm still able to deal with them, I haven't been in the hospital since Dec 2011- I'm not sure when the last time was, but I know I haven't been since I was off the drug because if I was they prob would have put me back on it and I was against that. My doctor wanted me to go back on it also a while back when I first got my sex drive back but I smartly refused because I (knew) what I was going thru and I knew I"d learn to control it- it was like going thru puberty for the first time- which was overwhelming and very strange to say.
Anyways, I was in respite a few times but they told me to stop because they felt I could deal with things and since then I have been dealing with them and not going.
Since I don't feel suicidal, when I get upset, I think my way out of it and use coping skills and let it pass.
My only real pain is a pain of loss. When i speak of loss, I mean that I lost someone I love.
Otherwise I feel great. And improving in every way.
Thanks for asking
Thanks for sharing...I really appreciate your input.
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