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Old 08-19-2004, 05:45 PM   #1
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lithium for severe depression/axiety (no Bipolar disorder)

So today, my doctor prescribed me a low dosage of lithium (300mg) to "stabilize my mood." She said it was supposed to work with my current medication to hopefully increase their effects/potency, regulate my mood, and prevent spontaneous actions or something to that matter. I was a bit weary at first because lithium is mainly used to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, so I didn't know why she was prescribing it to me. She assured me I was either. I explained to her I got "moody" but nothing like an extreme euphoric state. If anything, the "happiest" I get is just a feeling of overall apathy and carelessness, a sort of carefree type of attitude, and then plunge down into a deep depression. For the most part, this does not happen often. My levels of depression do vary, but they do not feel extreme. I'm always deeply depressed, and much of it has been attributed with my distorted ways of thinking (cognitive therapy suggested). Anyways, I'm currently on 400mg of Provigil (for fatigue), 150mg of effexor (depression/anxiety), and a hint of .5mg of Xanax (for insomnia, but my sleep patterns have stabilized so I rarely take it). In the past I've been on Prozac, Paxil, and Wellbutrin. Does anyone have any similar experiences, comments, or concerns regarding this move to lithium? Thanks for your time and take care.

-Damian

Last edited by Confuse; 08-19-2004 at 05:45 PM.

 
Old 08-19-2004, 07:31 PM   #2
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Re: lithium for severe depression/axiety (no Bipolar disorder)

You're right that the most common use for Lithium is in Bipolar Disorder, both for the treatment of acute mania and for longterm preventiion of moodswings.

Lithium isn't typically used for schizophrenia but can be helpful in schizoaffective disorder, which is sort of a hybrid of Bipolar and Scizophrenia.

Your doctor's use of Lithium to augment antidepressants in your case of depression is well-founded:

>> Augmentation of antidepressants with lithium is the best-documented >>augmentation therapy in the treatment of refractory depression.

--Bauer M., et al.
Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, August 2003

[url]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=A bstract&list_uids=12971013[/url]

Last edited by psychodrama; 08-19-2004 at 07:49 PM.

 
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Old 08-20-2004, 03:05 AM   #3
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Re: lithium for severe depression/axiety (no Bipolar disorder)

I agree that people who don't need medications shouldn't be on them, and those who do need them should be on as few as possible.

A number of non-pharmaceutical interventions including exercise, sunlight, psychotherapy, nutrition, meditation , and good old-fashioned wilpower can reduce our need for meds, and I think we should pursue those.

It is true that the drug companies over-hype meds. I'm particularly upset that as patents for antidepressants lapse, drug companies are marketing "atypical " antipsychotics as depression treatment.

But my own experience leads me to defend the Lithium augmentation strategy. In a twenty year war with depression, Lithium +Wellbutrin gave me two nearly normal years. When a side effect cropped up and I had to discontinue the Lithium, severe fatigue came roaring back to cripple me once again.

Lithium is a naturally occurring substance and therefore not patentable. Profit margins are extremely low, and drug companies have little incentive to hawk it.

--Kj--

 
Old 08-20-2004, 07:02 AM   #4
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Re: lithium for severe depression/axiety (no Bipolar disorder)

But that's part of my point, Psychodrama. It gave you nearly two great years ... and then what ... where are you now???!!! What kind of defense is that?

And serotonin is also a naturally occurring substance, is it not?

I'm with you all the way on the first part of your post, but not the second half, I'm afraid. Lithium is not a vitamin, or like having an iron deficiency. There is NO test or proof that determines whether one needs extra lithium in their system for depression, or not! It is a VERY POTENT chemical and must NOT be played around with.

And now I've said my piece.

Take care, All!

 
Old 08-20-2004, 07:44 AM   #5
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Re: lithium for severe depression/axiety (no Bipolar disorder)

I was on lithium 900mg for a couple of years to prevent ha from occuring. I was also severely depressed and on 300mg of effexor. I was on an antiphycotic medicine called geodon and was taking topamax for a while for ha also. But it can be used as a mood stabalizer. The lithium itself didn't bother me or hurt me or cause side effects at all. It didn't help my depression at all either.

 
Old 08-20-2004, 09:35 AM   #6
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Confuse HB User
Re: lithium for severe depression/axiety (no Bipolar disorder)

Thank you all for your responses. You have no idea how much I appreciate your advice, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I agree that there are many viable alternatives that can be taken, I am currently taking part in group and individual therapy, and soon to be researching cognitive therapy. The idea of submitting myself to yet another drug greatly frightens me, but my false hope for progress keep me experimenting. I know this is not the answer, its just the way I feel and I've come to accept drugs will not do it all. Thanks again for the experiences and advice, I will research this topic further. Take care.

-Damian

 
Old 09-04-2004, 11:14 AM   #7
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Re: lithium for severe depression/axiety (no Bipolar disorder)

Confuse---lithium is the best thing that ever happened to me.

Some people go into mania when they are on antidepressants---the lithium prevents that.

Go with your dr. I experience no bad side effects from it except I have to urinate more frequently and my mouth gets dry (I use sugarless gum).

Just wanted you to know I believe it the drug 100 percent. Good luck.

Salty

 
Old 09-04-2004, 11:17 AM   #8
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Confuse HB User
Re: lithium for severe depression/axiety (no Bipolar disorder)

Thanks for the reply. I JUST came back from the pharmacy with my Lithium prescription. I'm looking forward to some positive effects from this medication, although the majority of my progress and wellbeing lie upon myself. Thanks again for all of the suggestions, experiences, and well wishes. Take care!

-Damian

Quote:
Originally Posted by salty
Confuse---lithium is the best thing that ever happened to me.

Some people go into mania when they are on antidepressants---the lithium prevents that.

Go with your dr. I experience no bad side effects from it except I have to urinate more frequently and my mouth gets dry (I use sugarless gum).

Just wanted you to know I believe it the drug 100 percent. Good luck.

Salty

 
Old 09-04-2004, 11:24 AM   #9
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Re: lithium for severe depression/axiety (no Bipolar disorder)

Confuse, I forgot to mention that if you get nauseous, have your dr. switch you to capsules--they are pink.

I just remembered that years and years ago, the tablets made me a little queasy sometimes and I switched to capsules and was fine.

I also always take the medicine with something bubbly (soda, etc.) or tea or milk will also do.

Salty

 
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