What If People Treated Physical Illness Like Mental Illness?

Have a look at this Blog post, it has a great cartoon illustrating how ridiculous it would look if we treated physical illness they way we treat mental illness…oh I can’t wait to show you, the picture is below….

What If People Treated Physical Illness Like Mental Illness?

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What the bleep was that all about?

This week that has just passed was unbelievable. It was like anxiety was an entity that came into my apartment and curled up into a knot in my stomach. It was totally unexpected. The week before I had been feeling great. I had been to the gym every day, my medication seemed to be working like a charm. Once Sunday or Monday came of this past week I just didn’t know what happened! I could hardly shower, the ringing phone would send my stomach into knots, I didn’t even open my computer until today. I actually spent the entire week curled up in agony on the couch afraid of the phone, email, people, and just couldn’t do anything. I tried meditation, going for a walk, tidying up, but nothing worked, everything was unbearable! Finally,  it occurred to me on Thursday night what the problem might be. You see, one of my medications is very expensive so I decided last week that I would just take one every second day, you know, to save money. It didn’t occur to me until Thursday, well, yesterday that that could be the problem. I spoke with the pharmacist and he assured me that the drastic up and down that was happening from day to day was almost certainly the cause of my crippling anxiety. So let that be a lesson folks! Take medication as prescribed, I sure will, because that was unbearable! images

I feel like I can breath again!

Do You Have Bipolar Disorder? I Need Your Help!

I am working on a comprehensive list of medications used to treat Bipolar Disorder. I want to create a go-to resource of as many of these medications as possible including the classes of drug, their method of action, both common and uncommon side effects, links to more detailed information and other pertinent info. I want it to be a resource of sorts to get an overview of what is commonly and uncommonly prescribed. I often spend time combing through numerous websites trying to find an overview of certain medications and seem to have to dig through quite a bit of information that is too detailed for what I am looking for.

I am looking for a quick list of medications that any of my readers who have been treated for bipolar disorder (any type) have ever been prescribed so I can cross reference with my list. I don’t want to leave any out.

Anybody reading this who can help I would really appreciate it if you could leave your info in the comment section. Thank you!

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Medication Changes

Well I have had my psych appointment and I am happy to say that I am staying off the Seroquel and have started an antidepressant. Actually, I should say I switched my antidepressant because I had started taking the Cipralex on my own because I couldn’t stand the lingering depression (I had some from a previous prescription). I asked to start Topamax to help me lose the 30 pounds I have gained over the past 5 months but was denied. She said that I am someone who always reaches for a pill to solve my problems (I was requesting it more for its weight loss properties than mood stabilizing). I am pleased however to see that a side effect of Wellbutrin is weight loss and loss of appetite. This is the antidepressant that she chose for me instead of changing my mood stabilizer to Topamax.

My new regimen is:

Morning:

Synthroid 1 x 25mgs (for an underactive thyroid), Wellbutrin 1 x 150mgs, Abilify* 1 x 10mgs, Clonazepam 1 x .5mgs and Lamictal 2 x 100mgs

late afternoon/evening:

1 x .5mgs Clonazepam

*The Psych doc said to restart taking the Abilify if the Wellbutrin begins to make me feel hypomanic/manic.

There we have it. The new regimen.

I am not going to lie, the most exciting thing about this change is that I am on an antidepressant…finally! I can’t seem to shake depression without them. I am also thrilled that I am off of seroquel. I am tickled that the antidepressant has weight loss and loss of appetite as side effects as well. So no more make-you-fat-Seroquel and hello, weight-loss-Wellbutrin. I am really excited, can you tell?

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Oh The Meds

stock-footage-spiral-made-of-different-colorful-pills-spinning-in-circle-full-hdThe thing about Bipolar Disorder is that to maintain any sort of stability at all there is this complex dance between your meds and you. On an upswing, slight medication adjustment, downswing, another, feeling great so not too sure you need meds anymore, self diagnosis of cured and no meds at all, leading us to phase 1 catastrophe and restarting the dance to find the perfect doses, timing and schedule of the perfect medications. Problem is, none of them are perfect, particularly, none of them are perfect all of the time.

For the sake of openness, I am presently on Lamictal 200mg/day in the morning, Seroquel xr 50 mg/2x/day and 75 to 100 mg regular release at night, Abilify 10 mg, Clonazepam .5 mg/2x/day and Cipralex 10 mg 1x/day. My problem? The seroquel is making me fat and tired, and I suspect that the Abilify is making me restless, though I am still not sure about that. If you can imagine feeling exhausted and extremely restless at the same time. A horrible feeling! So off again to the psych doc again next week to discuss another change. I feel I am getting very close to a good regimen, although that is not that reassuring because with this disease they seem to have to be constantly adjusted. That is not the only thing that makes the whole thing not so great. These drugs have crazy side effects attached to them.

The most ridiculously obvious was with the seroquel. It both makes me crave sweets which I never have, and messes with my metabolism making it almost impossible to lose the weight that I am packing on because of the sugary cravings and the slow metabolism. One medication I was on completely thrashed my thyroid, I now have to take thyroid hormone. I have to say, from lethargy, extreme tiredness, weight gain, hair loss, and those are the non-life threatening ones, it is no picnic to manage this disease. This next doctor visit I will request a drug called topamax. It is the only mood stabilizer that I have heard actually helps with weight loss. The trade off? It makes you dumb, apparently, so I’ve heard.

Interestingly, most of the mood stabilizers that are used to treat bipolar disorder are actually anticonvulsants used for epilepsy, or antipsychotics, very powerful medications. I am hoping that with an improvement in my fitness that I will be able to keep my medications to a minimum through taking impeccable care of my body, mind and spirit.