Dealing with mental illness w/o drugs (and without weirdness) - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 04-10-2009, 10:47 AM
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I'm in the midst of withdrawing from Lamictal, the 8th psychiatric drug I've been prescribed in my life. The other failures I can blame partly on misdiagnosis - antidepressants are notoriously dangerous to bipolar people, which I am - but even if the other meds had worked, they still had awful side effects. I'm kicking the lamictal because it makes me feel like I have early-onset alzheimers. I'm not kidding. People come up and say I said/did things I have no memory of, but I know I must have said/done them. It feels like the whole world is trying to gaslight me! The compulsive eating behaviors I've recently begun to display also coincide with an increase in my lamictal dose. It's supposed to be weight neutral, but you couldn't prove it by all the lamictal users I've talked to.



Every time I step off one of these drugs, it feels as if it's going to kill me. Every time I begin one, it's always in the hope that "this will be the one that will finally work" - some people actually do seem to find that drug, the one that makes things all better. I'm ready to quit trying.



But that means I have to deal with this in some other way. I've had depression since I was 6, but it was ignored until I was in high school. Even then I didn't get real help for it till I was 23. I was diagnosed bipolar last June. So, through all that time, I've developed a killer set of coping skills (if I do say so myself). Yes, things are a serious struggle, but thanks to those skills I've still managed to get a MA.



The thing is, bipolar has a tendency to worsen as you get older, if it isn't treated. Or so they say. I trust psychiatrists less and less these days. One (God love him - he really is a nice guy, just a little young and clueless) wanted me on a cocktail of drugs basically because "most people are on more than one drug." He prescribed me lorazepam "just in case you need it," despite the fact that I really don't have anxiety and my sleep schedule is fine.



All this to ask, are you (or someone you know) treating your mental issues with drugs? If not, what are you doing? Can you recommend books I could read about this? What has worked for you?



I've coped with this for years but it was always with an "until I can find the right drug" attitude. I had given up on the "right drug" till I found the Lamictal, which worked so well for as long as it worked - I thought it was the one. Now, though, I'm just done with looking. This sucks.
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#2 Old 04-10-2009, 02:01 PM
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My sister is bi polar and is exploring non drug treatments...



Some of the things we have found are incredibly important are:



Diet and exercise.

Sounds like a no brainer, right?

Except that it's only now becoming recognised just how effective exercise and a healthy diet can go towards eliviating some symptoms and helping to stabilze mood.



Mindfullness meditation is another one that has been getting more and more attention lately. Meditation moves the brain out of Beta waves into more relaxed states of Alpha, theta and delta brain waves, which, coupled with focused breath can switch your parasympathetic nerve system into healing mode, which helps your physical body as well as your mental state.



http://www.meditationescape.com/brai...editation.html



Meditation actually alters the chemical pathways of the brain.

http://psyphz.psych.wisc.edu/web/New..._WSJ_11-04.htm





There has also been some research done on nutritional supplementation to help with bipolar disorder. There was a study done at the U of C (my alma matter) that was investigating this



http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00109577



But, it was unfortunately suspended because they couldn't find enough participants.



I'm trying to remember the name of the book that I read a few years ago that inspired the study. I think I have it at home though. I'll try to look it up tonight.

In the mean time, here is a link to a list of some nutritonal supplements that may be helpful:



http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/nut...olar-disorder/





I want to applaud you for looking at this in a different way. It's so easy just to give up when the meds don't work, but I truly believe that there are other ways to manage symptoms, and it takes a holistic approach.





ETA:

Here, I found info about the Alberta company, Synergy (can't believe I couldn't remember that name, lol), making EMPower, a vitamin and mineral supplement that is said to be incredibly effective at managing bipolar disorder.

It's about halfway down the page, with the heading EMpower. Read the whole article though. It's great!

http://www.mcmanweb.com/nutritional.html

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May the whole world be joyous'
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#3 Old 04-10-2009, 03:56 PM
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My best friend is Bi-polar. He is currently not on any medication, because he doesn't have health insurance. He is working on getting Medicaid. He is a mess. Somedays he is so super hyper you would swear he was on uppers. Last week I woke up to a suicide note from him. he didn't go through with it, but it scared the crap out of me. He disappeared all day and when he did call or text he was crazy out of his mind. When he got home he stayed in bed for three days. Now he is up and hyper again.



I suffer from depression and panic attacks. I was on Paxil for 6 years. I think Paxil is an evil drug. I weaned myself off of it slowly and still suffered horrible withdrawals that lasted for months. I have been able to control the panic attacks on my own with exercise, healthy diet, and no alcohol.



You have to do what's best for you. Are you under the care of a therapist? It would be good to have someone around to monitor your moods.
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#4 Old 04-10-2009, 11:15 PM
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Re: diet and exercise - you ain't kiddin'. I was an endurance athlete for several years in my early-mid twenties (marathons, long-distance cycling, hiking). I've hung on to my exercise habits, though they've moderated somewhat (instead of 10 miles running it's 5-7 miles eliptical every day, for instance). On days that I don't exercise, I'm in trouble - unmotivated, impatient, and generally disgusted with myself, which does not help my mood at all. If I do work out, though, I'm more peaceful and relaxed and more optimistic, all of which contribute to balance on both the manic and depressive sides.



Making sure I maintain a balanced, low-sugar vegan diet is also crucial, and I try to take multi-vitamins and omega 3 flax capsules (a doctor once told me that is the only natural supplement that actually has been quite convincingly identified as a help to bipolar).



Thankfully I've never had a really serious mania. Mostly I get irritable, work out too hard (in past manias I ran 10 miles every day, biked 30, and did even longer runs on weekends, and hardly ate), and do too much.



The depressions are another story. My last depressive episode threatened to be terminal. But I do have a phenomenal support system, I must say. I belong to an extremely tight church family, have a pretty good biological family, and I actually have 2 therapists (one I've seen for years so I didn't want to stop seeing him, and another that the state health fund provides, who I needed to see so I could get meds. But I like her, so I think I'll keep seeing her, meds or not).



I will look into the meditation, also. I know mindfulness meditation would help me on a lot of levels. I used to practice zen, and it was very beneficial.



I just want to do my best to cope with this without using meds, which have never worked for me. It does start to feel a little helpless after a while. No meds work so far, and I hate the feeling of being on anything as it is. I keep telling myself, however, that for centuries before psychiatric medication was invented, people were dealing with this. I'm sure not all of them survived well. But some must have.
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#5 Old 04-10-2009, 11:53 PM
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Cassiel,



You have more going for you in terms of your support system, intellect and good nature, than anyone I have ever encountered with Bipolar. If anyone can survive and thrive with this, it's you. Over the last while, I've become more and more impressed with your level of self awareness and your dedication to your mental health. You can do this, and you can find peace, and happiness.

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Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavanto

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May the whole world be joyous'
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#6 Old 04-11-2009, 08:59 AM
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Wow, Synergy, thanks! There are a lot of people who seem to shudder when they hear that I would rather not treat my bipolar with drugs, if possible. Your vote of confidence really does help.
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#7 Old 04-11-2009, 11:44 PM
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I don't know a whole lot about bipolar, but I've had depression for about 5 years, and what finally got it under control was going OFF the meds. I had been on several but the most recent was Lexapro for 4 years and going off of it was HELL. I had been taking them irregularly, like one every other day or so to keep me from going through withdrawls, for about a year. Then tried going completely off of them within about 2 months and it was absolute torture. Such a hard thing to do. Kudos deciding to try w/o drugs.



So what do I do now? First of all like Synergy mentioned, diet and exercise. I work out 4-6 times a week and always take my vitamin and monitor my food. You're body does gets off balance easily when you don't get all your nutrients, so make sure you do that. Liquid ones will absorb better and always take vitamins with food, if you don't take them already. Go to a health food store and get a good one though because I've read ones like Centrum and stuff you get at the grocery store doesn't have a very good absorption rate.



I also started taking 5-HTP. The problem with this is that I easily forget to take it, so I don't take it as regularly as I should. But I've read that a lot of people take this one every other day, at least not every day, because it can cause nausea. I took it everyday for about 5 days this week then all of a sudden 2 days in a row I had HORRIBLE nausea, and I'm assuming that's why. So now I'm doing it every other day. I don't know how well it works for bipolar, but it's a serotonin booster, and can help with fibromyalgia which I have as well. If you choose to try it start out with 50 mg 20 mins before you eat twice a day b/c it's better on an empty stomach. Then you can increase your dose if you need to. I've heard people take as much as 400 mg a day. I don't think I've gone past 200mg, right now I'm at 100.



Is there some kind of holistic doctor you can see? I started going to acupuncture for my fibromyalgia and they're the ones that gave me the 5-htp as well as a couple other things. If you can't find a holistic doctor you could just go to an acupuncturist that also gives supplements, I don't know if they all do b/c I've only been to one. It really helps with stress and relaxation, so I'm sure that would help as well.



You could also do a google search to see what herbs and such help with bipolar, just do your research on the ones you find and make sure it won't react with anything else you're taking. Just because it's herbal doesn't mean it's 100% safe and without side effects, so just read about whatever you find. I know you said "without meds" but I'm assuming you meant pharmaceuticals not all pills in general.
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#8 Old 04-12-2009, 12:06 AM
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I'll look into the 5-HTTP. Another friend is on it.



I came off Lexapro in December-January this year. Ack! That was the worst withdrawal I EVER went through. Brain zaps, terrific amounts of anger and irritability, depression on par with the worst untreated depressions I ever experienced, flu symptoms. Awful.



I've been told Lamictal withdrawal can be just as bad. I'm on day 4, having cut my dosage by 1/4, per doctor's orders. I have to be careful not to cut down too quickly because I just want OFF of this stuff, but it's an anticonvulsant so bad things can happen if you try to quit too fast. I've never had a seizure and do not want to. I'm experiencing shakes, dizziness, loss of appetite and a little nausea. Otherwise, so far, so good. Not even depression, yet, but it's early days. On the upside, I feel more quiet and peaceful within myself. I'm just looking forward to being able to feel something again, and to feeling more like myself. I miss me.
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#9 Old 04-13-2009, 05:43 AM
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Avoid Psychiatrists like the plague. They often do more damage than good when they try to treat 'mental illness' with their dangerous drugs.



Please try and find a good therapist that can help you without drugs. Obviously diet and exercise are important to general well being too.



Good luck, remember you have lots of friends on VB!
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#10 Old 04-13-2009, 12:50 PM
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You might want to try maybe taking Maca. It's a natural supplement from the Maca plant (similar to a raddish). I read a study online (if I find it again I will post it here) that said all varieties of maca showed anti-depressant activity. The only problem was this was in mice.



EDIT:

http://www.dailystrength.org/c/Post_...depressionpmdd



http://www.drugs.com/npp/maca.html

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#11 Old 04-13-2009, 04:27 PM
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I have been very curious lately about the difference between normal life fluctuations and bipolar.



I honesly have days where I am very hyper and can't stop talking but some days I can not even move myself from my bed.Sometimes I think everyone is laughing at me and or plotting against me, others I feel like just not being here anymore and some just on the top of the world. I do agree this has gotten worse since I have gotten older. I was very deressed and was a cutter when I was younger. I hate the anti depressives for the same forgetfull numbnees it brings on. I have days of absoultly no sleep at all then some when I sleep all day.

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#12 Old 04-14-2009, 12:45 AM
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Bipolar is kind of different for everyone (it seems like everyone thinks of Kevin Kline in "Sophie's Choice"). The difference is degree.



My experience of bipolar depression is extremely physical. I feel like I slog through the world wearing boots full of cement. It feels as if acid runs in my veins rather than blood, and I wake up in the morning feeling bruised from the inside out (I don't know if this can make sense to anyone who hasn't felt it). I find myself being careful physically, like an old person walking downstairs, as if I'd break if I fell (and I'm an athlete - I'm usually not afraid that there's anything my body can't handle!). My brain functioning slows, I forget simple things, can't concentrate. Then there's the sadness everyone assumes you'd feel if you're depressed, and yes, that's pretty bad. Griefs and traumas I thought I'd resolved years ago suddenly come back to the surface and I realize they aren't as resolved as I thought. The future looks utterly hopeless, especially if I begin thinking about how long these depressed episodes have been happening (since I was 6), and how they continue to happen (I'm 28), and how likely that makes it that they will continue to happen (on my worse days, I think I'll limit how long they will continue happening, myself). Given that I spend, conservatively, 30% of my life depressed (this is based on 3+ months per year in a depressed episode) and a good deal of the rest of my life picking up the pieces from that depression, I sometimes feel that I am reasonable in my diminished expectations for the future.



Take it with a grain of salt that I write all of the above from a depressed point of view, because I am currently depressed. Either that means my assessment is more accurate because I'm rendering from life, or it's less accurate because depression distorts your perspective. Oh yeah - that's another fun thing about depression that I think isn't true of normal sadness. Depression tells you that your life was, is now, and always shall be one of depression. You look through depression-colored glasses. That's why it's so important to be with other people when you can. Depression sometimes feels like a demon that tries to get you alone so that it can kill you: all it needs to do is convince you strongly enough that your life is basically over, anyway (you're so busy fighting sadness it's not like you're doing anything worthwhile), so you may as well end it and quit suffering. You need friends around who can remind you of the good things you would remember if you could get that demon to stop talking nonsense in your ears.



As for manias, I haven't met many bipolar people who have the textbook crazy-fun-wild mania where you go out and max out credit cards or buy a Rolls. For me, mania just looks like way too much energy. When I was running marathons and biking very long distances I was able to hide it. People just thought I was constantly in training. What they didn't know was that if I didn't run at least 10 miles every day I'd come unglued. I would hate myself, want to break things, want to destroy whatever I could get my hands on, and would gladly have driven a car into the side of a building or jumped off a cliff. I did throw things from time to time (not at people, thankfully - I was always embarassed about my depression and my mania, so I tried to hide them). Technically what I have in mania is a "mixed episode" - all the energy of mania, none of the fun. "Mixed" because it's sort of mania and depression combined.



So, that's what my bipolar case looks like. What you're talking about is still a question for me, even after being diagnosed with bipolar: what is bipolar "disorder" and what is normal ups and downs? If I have a down day I can tend to panic a little, thinking I'm sliding into depression. If I am sliding into a depression, though, I have to pay attention to it while it's small so it doesn't progress into a full-blown depressive episode (when it's possible to control it that much - usually it isn't, but I can at least get my supports in place; batten the hatches, as it were). I have to remind myself that feeling normal human emotions is actually ok. For me, I think, having these extremes in mood state has really #$%&ed with my ability to feel emotions within a normal range.



Does that make sense? The difference between normal and abnormal is really hard to define. I still struggle with and sometimes disagree with my bipolar diagnosis, but in the end it doesn't matter too much. Science still doesn't know that much about mental health, and regardless of what I call the condition, I still have to address the behaviors. The diagnosis does, at least, offer me the comfort that I'm not the only one.
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#13 Old 04-14-2009, 09:22 PM
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I wanted to share with you guys a documentary on Depression my sister found very helpful, to understand her own and my mom's depression (bi polar). Not all of it is about bi polar, but it is interesting and you can watch it online. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/takeonestep/...deo-ch_01.html



I also wanted to mention to you Cassiel that I've found 5HTP to be very helpful for myself if I am feeling down. I don't suffer from depression, but I tell you I'm a fan of it. I also take it after partying too hard, hehe. 5HTP is a precursor to serotonin, and basically gives your brain more of the stuff it needs to make serotonin.

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#14 Old 04-14-2009, 10:03 PM
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exercise, counseling and doing things you enjoy. You said you have developed excellent coping skills so run with that and make them cure your mind completely. I believe the drug companies can fully take advantage of psychological disorders for finiancial purposes. Your were born with everything you need to succeed!
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#15 Old 04-15-2009, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassiel View Post




My experience of bipolar depression is extremely physical. I feel like I slog through the world wearing boots full of cement. It feels as if acid runs in my veins rather than blood, and I wake up in the morning feeling bruised from the inside out (I don't know if this can make sense to anyone who hasn't felt it). I find myself being careful physically, like an old person walking downstairs, as if I'd break if I fell (and I'm an athlete - I'm usually not afraid that there's anything my body can't handle!). My brain functioning slows, I forget simple things, can't concentrate. Then there's the sadness everyone assumes you'd feel if you're depressed, and yes, that's pretty bad. Griefs and traumas I thought I'd resolved years ago suddenly come back to the surface and I realize they aren't as resolved as I thought. The future looks utterly hopeless, especially if I begin thinking about how long these depressed episodes have been happening (since I was 6), and how they continue to happen (I'm 28), and how likely that makes it that they will continue to happen (on my worse days, I think I'll limit how long they will continue happening, myself). Given that I spend, conservatively, 30% of my life depressed (this is based on 3+ months per year in a depressed episode) and a good deal of the rest of my life picking up the pieces from that depression, I sometimes feel that I am reasonable in my diminished expectations for the future.



Wow. I'm not bipolar, just a depressive, but I can relate to this.



I would third or fourth the suggestion to do some kind of meditation. It's the ONLY thing that EVER helped me, not shrinks, not drugs, nothing. It doesn't have to be anything formal. Just park your butt in a chair for 30 minutes to an hour and don't do anything. It really does clean out your mind. Think of it as a mental bidet.



I would also second or whatever taking a look at Buddhism as a form of therapy. It's a psychological system, basically. You may find out that in reality diminished expectations really are reasonable. It's possible that the majority of the depression, at least, MAY be related to unreasonable expectations/illusions you have about life. Most people have zillions of them.



This is a nice intro site.



http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/intro_bud.htm



Quote:
You need friends around who can remind you of the good things you would remember if you could get that demon to stop talking nonsense in your ears.



I wish I had friends near me, my depression would go away...



But seriously, keep as many good folks around you as possible. This will help enormously. Also, animals!!!!



Quote:
For me, mania just looks like way too much energy. When I was running marathons and biking very long distances I was able to hide it. People just thought I was constantly in training. What they didn't know was that if I didn't run at least 10 miles every day I'd come unglued. I would hate myself, want to break things, want to destroy whatever I could get my hands on, and would gladly have driven a car into the side of a building or jumped off a cliff. I did throw things from time to time (not at people, thankfully - I was always embarassed about my depression and my mania, so I tried to hide them). Technically what I have in mania is a "mixed episode" - all the energy of mania, none of the fun. "Mixed" because it's sort of mania and depression combined.



I'm not a doctor, and I'm not bipolar, but this part sounds purely organic to me. I don't know whether it can be fixed without drugs, but like everybody said, channeling this into exercise is the best thing to do.



Quote:
For me, I think, having these extremes in mood state has really #$%&ed with my ability to feel emotions within a normal range.



I really hate to say what I think here, but in my vastly limited experience, the so-called "normal range of emotions" is crap. The environment I'm in is filled with actors, superficial types and folks who are so emotionless they might be diagnosed with something like Asperger's.



Maybe, just maybe, what you consider abnormal or heightened is REAL. It's called passion. It's called heart. It's called soul. It's called art. But hell, of course I could be wrong.



Good luck and hugs to you,



f



PS. I'm 53 and still living with this stuff.
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#16 Old 04-16-2009, 11:35 AM
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I have to second the motion of exploring Buddhism as a tool for dealing with mental illness. Beyond the mindfulness meditation, which is so extremely helpful in and of itself, the other tenets of Buddhism have been so helpful for me to find peace.



Like foguiera was saying, diminished expectations can be reasonable.

Buddha said "attachments are suffering". and I understood this intellectually for many years, but it wasn't until a year or so ago that I started understanding that as "expectations are attachments that cause suffering".

If people have a particular idea of how things should be, how they ought to be that doesn't jive with how they really are, they become upset, disappointed, angry and sad.



Accepting reality as it is, without judgement can free us from those emotions.

This isn't to say you just roll over and don't do anything with your life, and let everything just happen to you. It just means that you are fully ok with the present moment, and understand it's perfection. It is what it is. You can't argue it into being something different.



You can't control it, but you can control your reactions to it. You do all that you can and accept what happens, either way. It's about not judging things as good or bad, but just that they are. The worst things in life often turn out to be the best, either from the lessons we learn from them, or the things that come from them. So how can these thing that make the good things happen really be bad?



Sorry for rambling, but its a subject I'm pretty passionate about, as you can tell.

I've found so much joy in being and accepting the present moment fully that I just wish everyone could experience that!

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May the whole world be joyous'
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#17 Old 04-22-2009, 12:43 PM
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Anybody mention Lexapro? It's relatively mild in my opinion, but noticeable- it does wonders for me when it comes to stabilizing. I worry a bit less, and very rarely have racing thoughts, which is different for me but a good bonus.



It targets anxiety pretty well. I certainly wouldn't call it a cure-all for any which mental disorder, but the side effects are pretty much nonexistent.



Best of luck. I've been there from time to time. Keep an eye on the future.
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#18 Old 04-23-2009, 01:02 PM
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I'm sorry to hear you've been having such issues with Lamictal. My husband takes it for his bi-polar disorder (in combination with Wellbutrin), and it's worked wonders for him. The only downside is that it causes a side effect of jerkiness/spasms in him (especially at night), so we can no longer together. Kind of a bummer. I'm just happy that he's generally healthy and happy, though.



I wish you luck in finding something that works for you.
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#19 Old 04-25-2009, 10:27 PM
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Bobby Jo -

I've heard a theory about the jerky/spasminess. Some people also wake up with muscle soreness. One label use for Lamictal is for atonic seizures, where your muscles go limp. The theory goes that if you give Lamictal to someone who doesn't have atonic seizures, it still tries to treat your atonic seizures - so instead of toning limp muscles it over-tightens your alread-toned muscles. I noticed that when I was starting it I'd wake up sore in the morning, and sometimes have charley-horses. Now that I'm coming off of it, I seem less coordinated - I wonder if that's related.



I hear mixed reviews on Lexapro - for me it was disastrous and the worst withdrawal I ever experienced. I'm glad it works for you, though, and I have heard similar experiences from many others who continue to take it.



Therapist is expressing concerns about me being unmedicated. As I'm returning to my "unmedicated self" and remembering what it was like before I started taking anything, though, a lot is becoming clear. For one, I'm now more readily able to see how appropriate the bipolar diagnosis is. Yes, I do have some @#%&ed up behaviors. Yes, they do really screw up many parts of my life, and if I can't get some of those behaviors under control I'm liable to be in real trouble. On the other hand, the meds didn't make the behaviors better. They improved some but made others worse. For instance, I didn't have the apathy that comes with depression - I had another kind of apathy that I never had before being on Lamictal. Still apathy. Still made it hard to do anything.



The other thing is that I'm not sure some of my coping behaviors, even those that might have been considered problematic, were really any less useful than the medications when balanced with their side effects. For instance, running 10 miles every day was time-consuming and eventually led to injury. Lamictal, however, led to indifference toward physical fitness (there's that apathy - exercising was like pulling teeth, some days) and to massive carb craving and weight gain, which is just another kind of injury. I'll admit to using certain forms of self-injury to combat my manic rages in the past. Lamictal tried to help me cope with the rages through apathy and through damaged short-term memory (or at least, this was the effect Lamictal had on my manic anger - on Lamictal, I didn't care enough to be angry and I was too occupied with trying to remember things to have time to be angry). In the end, the only "benefit" Lamictal had over my other coping mechanisms - including the "harmful" ones - was a level of predictability. And that makes me particularly angry when the therapists try to suggest medications are necessary. No meds I've ever been on have tallied up better than Lamictal has. I essentially end up exchanging my own coping mechanisms for mechanisms the medication provides, mechanisms no better and sometimes worse than what I already had.
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#20 Old 04-26-2009, 01:52 AM
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^^ That's the problem with so many medications. There are so many side effects that people often wind up on multiple scripts just to deal with the side effects, which causes more side effects. Damn the pharma industry.



While I believe medication is sometimes necessary, I think it should be used, only as a last resort, or only for a short time period while a person is learning other coping mechanisms.

Cassiel, from what you described, it just doesn't sound worth it to take it. I think you have weighed the pros and cons very logically. Therapists are trained to rely on meds though, unfortunately, and they usually believe in them even when their side effects are equal to or outweigh the symptoms.

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#21 Old 04-26-2009, 10:40 AM
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Synergy,



that's exactly what they are doing to my room mate and what they tried to do to me. They put me on Lamictal, but it didn't quite control the depression so they also put me on Lexapro. Lexapro made me gain weight so I wanted to get off of that, but when the withdrawal made me horrifically depressed they wanted to put me on something else. The depression wasn't the same as the kind I've had all my life - it was Lexapro withdrawal. Once I got off that, the poor concentration showed up. They decided I had ADD and put me on Adderall and then Ritalin. I couldn't handle the side effects so I quit those (doubled resting heart rate - and incidentally, no investigation into whether I had heart issues before I was put on stimulants; I have mild mitral valve prolapse, probably not enough to cause issues, but once the stims started making my heart race and drove my bloo pressure up, it got scary). I came to find out from other Lamictal users that poor concentration and decreased short term memory are common. I was being medicated for Lamictal, not for ADD.



I'm a little scared now that I'm actually "in the system" - the views being expressed by most people in this thread, as sensible as they look to us, are not always seen as so sensible by the medical industry I'm dealing with. It may make things better or worse that I've got state subsidized medical insurance. My pdoc didn't have a lot of time to balk at my not being on meds. If he chose to, though, the state's view of psych meds is pretty archaic. It's hard not to worry when you hear about people being pressured into taking medication.
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#22 Old 04-26-2009, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Cassiel View Post


I'm a little scared now that I'm actually "in the system" - the views being expressed by most people in this thread, as sensible as they look to us, are not always seen as so sensible by the medical industry I'm dealing with. It may make things better or worse that I've got state subsidized medical insurance. My pdoc didn't have a lot of time to balk at my not being on meds. If he chose to, though, the state's view of psych meds is pretty archaic. It's hard not to worry when you hear about people being pressured into taking medication.



It actually terrifies me how much influence big pharma has on our medical system. Mental health stuff is horrible, and it's even worse for the elderly, who are often on dozens of scripts... Many of them are to try to control the side effects from the drug interactions, and there is little to no research done on how these drugs on the elderly, as they have different metabolic rates and reactions to drugs (which are normally tested on people between the ages of 25-50) and also about drug interactions... So many of the health complaints, or even things people write off as being part of the aging process are from drug side effects and interactions. It makes me angry and sad.



I'm so excited to be going into the holistic health field to offer some real alternatives to people.



There's more awareness now that there are systemic flaws, and that really, the whole allopathic medical system is not working... I just hope things can change as quickly as they can.

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#23 Old 04-26-2009, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by synergy View Post

It actually terrifies me how much influence big pharma has on our medical system. Mental health stuff is horrible, and it's even worse for the elderly, who are often on dozens of scripts... Many of them are to try to control the side effects from the drug interactions, and there is little to no research done on how these drugs on the elderly, as they have different metabolic rates and reactions to drugs (which are normally tested on people between the ages of 25-50) and also about drug interactions... So many of the health complaints, or even things people write off as being part of the aging process are from drug side effects and interactions. It makes me angry and sad.





I'm glad you're going into that field, too! Briefly, I held a position as the graveyard shift medication aide/caregiver for a 100-resident assisted living facility. I was the sole individual in charge between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am, so I had to know what meds every resident was on. I would estimate that 90% had a diagnosis of "bipolar." Really? I know that they are discovering bipolar to be less rare than once thought, but out of 100 residents it literally seemed like 10 weren't bipolar. Even if they weren't on other drugs, to some extent I could see an average 85-year-old displaying "bipolar" symptoms. Especially if he or she is a resident in an assisted living facility.



At the moment I have some hope because my state-provided therapist (the non-drug doc) is encouraging me to investigate naturopathic docs and accupuncture. She is young - not more than 35 - so I hope she is representative of the new breed of psychotherapy. That said, my meds doc is also only in his 30's, and he was the one who thought it was strange I was not on a meds cocktail and did not want to be on one (and gave me a rx for valium, despite my insistence that I rarely had any difficulty sleeping and that I didn't need/want it).
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#24 Old 05-10-2009, 09:09 PM
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psychiatric meds are bad news...I've been on practically everything and nothing has worked...it's left my head in a permanantly dizzy state and my hands shake very badly. I found going vegan to made things much worse...
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#25 Old 05-10-2009, 11:27 PM
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While it is popular, I'm not going to be utterly hating on big pharm.



As someone told me: "If you want to kill yourself, at least try the pills. They worked for me."



If drugs are working for you and they are the only thing between you and a spiraling decent down a black hole, STAY ON THE DRUGS. Don't care about what other people say.



But if your problems are more mild, or the side effects of drugs are as bad as the problem they treat, feel free to search for other methods of treatment. But keep your health care providers in the loop.
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