The 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.