I know that a lot of people with Bipolar do not take their meds because they enjoy the mania so much. I'm actually worried to take meds...I'm not on any right now but I have tried them in the past and didn't feel satisfied with the results. I'm just wondering if there are other people who are Bipolar who do NOT take meds and if so, why not? Out of the people who ARE on meds, what do you take and are you glad you are on meds?
I'm on meds, and I'll be happy to volunteer. I'm BP II by the way, so I suffer from recurrent depression, and rarely hypomania. I've never had a full manic episode that I know of. My meds are:
Neurontin 2400mg/day (I think)
Wellbutrin SR 200mg/day
Strattera 40mg/day (for ADD, not BP)
Plus a couple other things for unrelated maladies (hypothyroid, blood pressure)
I also take 8000mg of Flax Seed Oil per day.
Lithium was the thing that really allowed me to start rebuilding my life and my marriage - I had pretty well mucked up my family life by then.
I dislike the fact that I get some mild tremors with the lithium, but its not as bad as it used to be. However the tremors are a small price to pay for feeling better.
Was v interested in your post. I have recently come off meds - was on lithium and mirtazipine. Found the side effects difficult - extreme drowsiness, weight gain, lethargy and my brain seemed to funtion much more slowly. I'd resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn't be able to go back to teaching because my memory was quite poor and I certainly wasn't up to my previous 'firecracker' standard. Looked into other ways of coping. Was tested for vit. deficiencies and toxicity and then followed dietary and supplement advice from a nutritionist. Have been seeing a homeopath - the idea is that something in your past - physical, emotional or mental has created the problem - they treat the 'trauma' and that, in turn, alleviates the symptoms (mood swings). Lots and lots of therapy to release old pent up emotions etc and some very deep and meaningful soul searching. This has been going on over the last six years - I was unkowingly treating myself long before I was diagnosed. I've only been completely med free for three weeks. It's not long enough to know whether or not it's long term, I guess you'd need a couple of stable years before you could say that. It's expensive and can be very time consuming, but at the moment I feel very 'well'. I'd say look into all possibilities and try not to discount the meds completely - I needed them for a year and a half to keep me stable enough to cope with all the other stuff I was dealing with. Try and keep an open mind and be very honest with yourself about what's working and what isn't. All of the 'complementary' therapies (including therapy) kind of open up old wounds, and that can make things worse for a while - you'd need to be sure you're strong enough to cope with that and that you have support in place in case things get too much. My docs got to a stage where they let me have a 'supply' of tranqs at home to use at my discretion - it helps to have a safety net.
I do believe it's possible for some people to treat this without continuous medication, but I don't think it would suit everybody and it is a very long, slow process (not to mention costly).
Oh my goodness, an essay! Sorry it's so long. Post back if you want more details, but please don't rush into anything and let as many people as possible know what is going on in your life - this isn't something you can do by yourself.
I am on meds. I guess I'm not really sure why at this point. At first is was because, if you feel sick, doc gives you pills and you feel better, period. That had been my history with sprained appendages, infections, blood pressure, and lately hypothyroid/chronic fatigue. The hypothyroid was the first experience I had had with on meds for months and no improvement. But eventually I did see results and felt better (better is relative, my blood test had read normal for sometime despite the fact that I didn't feel "better". But when I did feel "better" I was 10x "better" overnight. In hindsight it appears to have been my first manic episode). So when my mania has destroyed half my acquaintances/almost friends, bank account, backyard, endangered my job I sought treatment. Was given pills. And thought okay take pills and feel better. From the thyroid incident I was fully aware it might take a while. But I wasn't ready for the constant changing of meds, multiple side effects, literally having to fall out of bed in the morning and fling myself down the stairs just to get out of the house and to work . . . 3 hours late. A year later, I'm still having problems, adjusting meds, and changing doctors. I am starting to wonder why I mess with meds at all. They take up all of my (previously) disposable income and don't always seem to be doing much, but I guess I stick with them because I'm more afraid of staying awake for weeks on end destroying my bank account, destroying my house, endangering my job, and maybe getting arrested this time around.
In haven't failed! I've accomplished much. I just found a lot ways that don't work . . . yet.
I couldn't function without the meds. I did function for a while on one AD, but I was also going to an accupuncturist and chiropractor regularly, went to therapy and pampered myself a lot. Now the $$ aren't there, and my mood swings are worse, so I've resigned myself to drugs for the rest of my life. I resisted for a long time, but I'm better off IMHO. Instability was fine when I was young and free, but now I've got family obligations that require consistency.
My regimen - 300mg lamictal, 150mg wellbutrin, 20mg celexa. In addition, I take four omega-3 capsules because I figure they might help.
i am an example of a bipolar person taht was disgusted with the whole med syndrome, i was on 8 different meds and i am more manic(thank god, makes me a little weird but hey, its cool. i went off all meds and tried belive it or not, a diet pill that has no side effects, non addicting, and easy to get.
"BONTRIL" I AM A HAPPY CAMPER NOW FOR 4 YEARS NOW, NOT ONE PROBLEM, CHECK IT OUT., THANKS KIMBER LEE
I am not rushing to go get more meds that is for sure...even though I may need them.
I think that another problem I have with meds is the weight gain and tiredness. On Effexor, I went from a size 3 to a size 7 in a matter of months.
On Prozac, I might as well have been a zombie walking around with 0 personality. I felt like I was just floating through life. Not happy, not sad, not anything! No opinion...just there.
The last med I took was Effexor (150mg) but (and I know this is stupid) I quit taking it all of the sudden. I couldn't get in with my doc to give me a refill so she pretty much screwed me on that. I ended up feeling like I was having electicity bolted through me for a few weeks. It would start in my head and go down to my toes and make my arm jerk for no reason! It was terrible and makes me leary of going the med route again. Also, after I stopped taking Effexor I went back to a size 3.
I guess I just need to look at what is most important to me?
I was never on a series of meds, I had Zyprexa and I believe it was only 10mg. They were going to adjust it as needed, but I never let it get that far. The first week I felt like a complete zombie. Everything moved slow, sounded weird, and I felt like I was high the whole time I was awake. I had no emotion towards anything whatsoever, you could have insulted me in the worst way possible and I would've just you gave you the "thumbs up" notion. I stopped taking them and instantly developed a twitch in my thumb and eyelash, that lasted about 2 months. That was months ago and it hasn't happened since.
I guess I would rather make the "episode" mistakes and be able to "feel" the consequences, instead of being a vegetable towards everything.
I don't take meds because I feel they interfere with who I'm meant to be. If I notice I seem to be going way high up (body buzzing, no sleep needed) I might take a little Depacote or Seroquel, but in general I feel as though I'm meant to go this route and learn from it. More power to you and just be conscious!!!
Im 18 and have been diagnosed with bipolar since I was 14 and I only took meds for about 1 yr since then. My dad took me off of it when I was 15 cause he didnt want me to be on anything that controlled me the rest of my life. ( I just think he didnt want to accept that nothing to was wrong with me.) But Im going to get back on my meds soon cause I have a 1yr old and I dont want him to see the mania. and i Know this is awfull but until I read ur email i didnt realize this but people "who are bipolar dont take meds cause of enjoying the mania high " and I realized that is me, that is me, as awfull as it is that is me. How do i stop enjoying the highs and the madness.?? Cause Im tired of it i want to live happy. I dont want to be like this anymore. Im about to get back on my meds, but i dont think this something that meds cant cotrol. I just am so tired of being angry. and mad .
I am Type I Bipolar.
And my med (lithium for 20 yrs) is the only thing that has kept me from spending the rest of my life in a psych ward.
Bipolar is a Disorder of the brain just like diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas.
I can't imagine telling someone that insulin "controls" a diabetics life and they should get off it. Why should a Bipolar go off meds just because their disorder creates a high rather than a diabetic coma?
That's it for me. I always get way too disturbed (more than usual) about why people would even consider living their life standing in the middle of a highway rather than doing all they can to ensure their safety.