Lithium, Anyone?

I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder in late 2005 and went through several meds after that.  Abilify led to a seizure, Seroquel came with severe low blood pressure (hypotension), and Geodon gave me what the doctor in emergency referred to as symptoms of heroin withdrawal.  The atypical antipsychotics and I do not get on well with each other.  However, if you’ve read this post, you know my shrink *loves* Seroquel, which is apparently her go-to drug for bipolar.  I refuse to take it, so my best friend and I often joke that I can triple the dose if she likes.  Three times a dose of nothing is still nothing.  🙂

Said shrink and I are likely to have another meds conversation soon.  Last month was awful in terms of bipolar crap.  I started the month with a light depression, but about halfway through, I got rather suicidal.  The depression was horrible, but my thoughts were racing.  I was depressed out of my mind with more energy and less sleep than any one person should ever have.  I think that’s called a lovely little mixed episode.

I do not enjoy mania.  My ‘euphoric’ highs tend to turn rather disturbing in the end.  Fortunately, I don’t deal with mania often.  That makes more time for depression (dark humour).

Has anyone found success on meds for bipolar depression?  I know it’s a real bugger to treat, but I also know having near-constant depression isn’t acceptable, even if it’s typically light depression.  The shrink mentioned lithium and Depakote last summer.  There’s also a new med called Cymbyax that is, I think, the first to specifically target bipolar depression.  It’s a combination of Prozac and Zyprexa.  Not sure about the antipsychotic, especially as the dosage of it couldn’t be adjusted separately from that of the antidepressant.

What are your experiences?

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2 thoughts on “Lithium, Anyone?

  1. I am currently diagnosed as BiPolar NOS, though I have often and continue to be diagnosed as Unipolar Depressed (plain old major depressed) by many, and as BiPolar II by some.
    I wish I could list to you all the meds which I have meticulously tried. You’re better off reading my blog. It is not too long.
    I like Lithium, despite its side effects. Besides, it seems to work at a low dose for me. I cannot take the chills and fatigue of what is, to most, a normal dose. Depakote was good for my migraines, not my hair or my weight, and neutral on my mood. Lithium works well on depression and mania, depakote best on mania. Maybe why I like. Depression is my worst symptom. Lithium, even Lamictal the short time I was on it, helped my depression.
    I tried Zyprexa alone. I was shocked by the lift in my mood in a few days. It is apparetly touted as an emergency drug.
    Unfortunately, I got heart palpitations.
    It’s always side effects with me, not so much how meds did not work.
    My blog is about ECT. I had gotten to where I was ready to listen to what ECT can do and I was persuaded. By the way, it works on BiPolar Depression.
    Things got complicated.
    Check it out: fattoush.wordpress.com.

    • fattoush– Thanks for the information. It’s been side effects that have stopped me taking certain meds as well. Sometimes it’s hard to say if treatment or illness is worse!

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