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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
so, 3 days ago, i was diagnosed as bipolar I and prescribed lithium. one of the side effects is weight gain--<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/undecided.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":-/"><br><br><br><br>
i have lost about 30 pounds since going vegan 8 months ago, and am finally to a point where i feel great about my body, and am within the healthy weight range. i'm really concerned about all of that being ruined by the side effects. i'm sticking to a vegan diet (of course)...my question is, do you think that will keep the weight gain to a minimum? should i eat fewer calories to keep it down? i eat about 1200/day (not intentionally, i just have a very hectic lifestyle and have little time to eat) is anyone else on this medication? if so, what can you tell me about it? from what i understand, it's a pretty heavy medication (which scares me for a lot of reasons).
 

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i was on it for a few weeks. i had to drink tons of water....more than usual. it gave me horrible abdominal pains/bloating/diarrhea that just got worse as i continued taking it, so becuase of that i had to stop.<br><br><br><br>
i don't know much about the weight gain though.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>freebird</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
so, 3 days ago, i was diagnosed as bipolar I and prescribed lithium. one of the side effects is weight gain--<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/undecided.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":-/"><br><br><br><br>
i have lost about 30 pounds since going vegan 8 months ago, and am finally to a point where i feel great about my body, and am within the healthy weight range. i'm really concerned about all of that being ruined by the side effects. i'm sticking to a vegan diet (of course)...my question is, do you think that will keep the weight gain to a minimum? should i eat fewer calories to keep it down? i eat about 1200/day (not intentionally, i just have a very hectic lifestyle and have little time to eat) is anyone else on this medication? if so, what can you tell me about it? from what i understand, it's a pretty heavy medication (which scares me for a lot of reasons).</div>
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Yes, you're right about gaining weight, quite a lot of drugs do this. With lithium it's by stimulating to eat to much. So keeping a diet would be a good idea, but 1200 kCal per day doesn't sound like enough. There's another side effect via the production of antidiuretic hormone, so the body stores more water than usual. Please ask doctor if you gain weight at all, as I've come across people who didn't.
 

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There are alternative mood stabilizers besides lithium which may have fewer side effects. Please ask your doctor to discuss these with you.<br><br><br><br>
I'm bipolar and I was never prescribed lithium. My sister is bipolar and she was on lithium only in hospital and is now on Abilify which is working extremely well for her so far.<br><br><br><br>
Many people complain of weight gain and lethargy when on lithium. It is considered "heavy duty."<br><br><br><br>
Are you currently stabilized (not hypomanic/manic)? If not, you should probably not be worrying about diet quite now!
 

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Lithium makes me poo - I had to get off of it before it even reached efficacy. Depakote made me gain weight. I'm still on Depakote, but watching what I eat and have gotten my weight down.<br><br><br><br>
My sister switched from Lithium, which made her gain weight, to Seroquel and got her weight down.<br><br><br><br>
Whatever you do, don't give up. Treatment works, it just takes time to get the right balance.
 

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Also, a lot of the weight you gain may be water.<br><br>
Lithium will be a salt, similar to sodium chloride, and as such, your body will stimulate thirst to increase water intake to maintain electrolytic balance.<br><br><br><br>
ebola
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
yeah, i've definitely noticed the thirst thing, and also i've been really shaky. it's wierd b/c i went in for depression, and now i'm super hyper--i have SO much energy! ive gotten more accomplished in the last 3 days than i have for the last month. i know that's sort of hypomanic-ish, so i'm trying to really watch it, and not let it get outta hand. i don't think i've been on it long enough to notice how it's affecting my moods, but i am keeping a journal to help me monitor them. anyway, thanks for the information, guys! keep it coming!
 

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Right now, you're putting the cart before the horse. You've been taking the medication for maybe 3 days, and you don't know that you will be getting any side effects at all, so don't worry about the weight part yet. Continue eating as you have been and see what happens. If you start to gain weight on it, discuss it with your doctor.<br><br><br><br>
Not to pry too much, but who diagnosed you and who prescribed the medication? Who is going to be monitoring you on it? Are you also being seen by a therapist? (These are my clinician questions as a social worker)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
my psychiatrist diagnosed and medicated me. she is also going to be doing weekly therapy with me. she said she doesn't want me to be on medication if she can't be the one to monitor me and also provide the talk therapy part. i really like her, too.
 

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Perhaps you can use herbal medicine? Some examples include kava kava, valerian, which are very calming and tranquilizing. Herbal medicines are healthier and don't have heavy side effects like drugs such as lithium carbonate have.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Seb_0810</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Perhaps you can use herbal medicine? Some examples include kava kava, valerian, which are very calming and tranquilizing. Herbal medicines are healthier and don't have heavy side effects like drugs such as lithium carbonate have.</div>
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Some herbal medications are effective, e.g. kavakava, but may also have severe side effects.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Seb_0810</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Perhaps you can use herbal medicine? Some examples include kava kava, valerian, which are very calming and tranquilizing. Herbal medicines are healthier and don't have heavy side effects like drugs such as lithium carbonate have.</div>
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Herbal Medications are not appropriate for bipolar disorder.
 

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Generally, no, they are rather ineffective.<br><br>
However, who are we to argue that something doesn't work for someone if it does?<br><br><br><br>
ebola
 

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Just FYI, I experienced heavy side effects from valerian - a very heavy hangover similar to that from non-herbal sedatives such as Zyprexa....<br><br><br><br>
I haven't found herbal remedies to be sufficiently efficacious, though they can help somewhat. But then, I haven't found pharmaceuticals to be sufficiently efficacious either.
 
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