I'm bipolar type II and have been med-free for about a year with much difficulty. I was on Seroquel for 1 year before deciding on my own that I can live without it. I was tired of feeling groggy and lethargic. Without the Seroquel I experienced hypomania for a while and felt great but now am in a depression like nothing I've had before. I'm torn between seeking help (meds) again or trying to ride out the roller coaster. I know I'll feel better eventually... I just hate the thought of turning into a zombie again like I was with the Seroquel.
It doesn't have to be a choice between having the side effects you described and being manic. There are a variety of medication options. The wide variety of mood stabilizers that are used have some lists and informational websites on the links page. Seroquel is an antipsychotic used as a mood stabilizer. Some people are able to tolerate it but as happens you had some difficulties. For myself and some people, Lamictal which in the U.S. is used as a first line mood stabilizer had the least side effects of the kind you describe. Certainly it is less sedating. But what medication to take is an individual decision between consumer and provider. But you should go back on medication and discuss the options with a psychiatrist.
Being Bipolar is like any neurological disease, it needs treatment, it's not something that you can ignore, it's not something that goes away.. Statistics show that it will only get worse with time. Like Advocate said, there are a ton of meds out there in the class of meds he mentions, as well as other anti-psychotics, or the dose of Seroquel you were on was too high, OR that you were so used to your hypo/mania, any drug may make you feel off kilter. The longer you are off drugs the riskier it gets. You need to see a psychiatrist, in the long run, you will have less stress trying to manage your symptoms because of the meds, and actually enjoy life.
Thanks for your comments. I've only been diagnosed for 2 years (although I'm sure I've been bipolar for MANY years) so I know little about the meds. I handle the hypomania well. In fact, I thrive on it. But my lows are devastating. I guess I'm just scared to be without the hypomania I've become accustomed to experiencing. It's really the only time I can stand myself!
You don't know how many of us have said the same thing - "I guess I'm just scared to be without the hypomania"
The trouble is you can't have the up without the down and the downs get worse and the ups can get scary without medication. If I could have the hypomania without the lows I'd be a very happy bunny indeed. :-)
Seroquel was obviously just not the right choice for you. I'm surprised that you were put on an anti-psychotic as a first option. It can take time to find the right med but its worth it if it helps you remain stable. Don't be frightened of losing your personality - if its a good med then you won't.
From what I have learnt and understand without medication you are a ticking time bomb without medication, it doesnt have to be a sacrifice of zombie or not, just the meds you took were not right for you, its worth another go isnt it. I started taking Seroquel and I couldnt cope with the sedation of them, I then have been on epilim and they seemed to have worked and the sleepyness is wearing off with time, im new to all this so thats about all I can offer but bipolar depression is not something I will accept unless I have tried everything. Find a focus, if you dont think you can do it for yourself try and find another reason to do it, my focus is my kids, I have convinced myself that they need me and that if I were to let bp beat me they will suffer and this is how I keep going. I know that im in trouble when I start thinking they would be better off without me so I try and find all the reasons that only I can do for them and only I give them this quality and if I wasnt here how much pain they would carry through there lives.
I have only just started the medication game but for the first time in many years I feel steady, im not saying its all roses yet but I can definatley see light at the end of the tunnel and im willing to run towards it right now. I too was scared about whats going to be left as what made me special, unique and fun to be around, I am now being told is hypomania so whats left without that but I am willing to give it a go and just hang in there. Take Care I hope you find the support you need and am able to make the right choices for you.
I don't know. As for myself I don't miss hypomanic episodes because during them I thought I accomplished a lot and had the most enjoyable days of my life. But when I look back I was just rapid cycling. I can't say without hypomania I wouldn't be myself because of course as much as I say its part of a psychiatric disability, in real world terms its part of the mind functioning in a somewhat dysfunctional way. You don't really know what you were meant to be until the moodswings are mitigated. I can't say I am completely without moodswings but with the psychosis I have mitigated I look back and realize that half of what concerned me was paranoid. And the same as for people with straight bipolar or cylothymia, I can say also that in looking back that some days that appeared to be the "best day of my life" were just elation. Its nice to enjoy life in real world terms which I do.
This I am aware. Actually clinically the antipsychotic that is the best mood stabilizer is Clozaril. When I was on that as with many people I didn't need a mood stabilizer in addition to it as it worked as both a mood stabilizer and an antipsychotic. That's very common. If it had a better side effect profile it would be used more. The antipsychotic agent I am on in clinical study is probably the best working model for an antipsychotic but I need a mood stabilizer as well. One thing that's of interest though is that Lamictal is proving to have an antipsychotic effect as not just research is bearing out but my personal experiences when I was on it. Of course for someone with schizoaffective (as I have) or bipolar with psychotic features (as many people here do) the psychosis and mania must both be treated and if the mood stabilizer or antipsychotic medication is too low mania/depression or psychosis can emerge regardless of which medication it is.
You hit the nail on the head with your comment "don't be frightened of losing your personality" because that's exactly what happened with the Seroquel. I was on auto-pilot and honestly feel like I lost a year of my life because I was always in a fog.
Yes I had that exact feeling you describe with Zyprexa but I didn't with Seroquel which I tolerated well so as I said its just a matter of people reacting differently to different medications. Unfortunately they can't predict how different people will react to different medications so when one doesn't work or you can't tolerate it, after giving it a fair trial, its a matter of speaking to your psychiatrist about transfering to another That's what I did and it worked for me. Don't give up on the idea of treatment. But do find out more about your options and then speak to your psychiatrist about it.
Hi, I lost a big chunk of time when I first went on depakote - they put me on what turned out too be far too high a dose for me. As we are all different in how sensitive we are to these meds it can be a bit hit and miss. The psychs will go with the recommended doses to begin with because they are the approved doses. I have found that with any med I take I never need the full recommended dose.
Unfortunately taking a lower dose can often mean that you don't get the full "benefit" and this is where med cocktails come in. You may need more than one med. Personally I can't tolerate more than 500mg depakote (yet people can be on up to 1500mg), so I am now trying lithium alongside it.
I was very firm with my psych and explained that there was a difference between treating the mood swings and flattening them completely. Its been an ongoing battle with her as she does seem to think that "we" shouldn't moan about losing our hypomania and should put up with zombie like states. If I could change psychs I would - believe me!
I am med free, and so are many others. Psychiatric medications can be dangerous, can cause health problems, and can often make symptoms worse. I stay med free by using healthy coping skills I have learned through therapy, having an extremely healthy diet (with no caffeine, no sugar, no junk foods), some vitamins (magnesium, zinc, vitamin b6 and b12, vitamin d, and omega 3s), and mindfulness and meditation. That is my treatment plan. "There are as many paths to healing as there are individuals." Check out **********.***, it is a good website with many resources. A good place to start. Also, if you are interested, check out our facebook support group for those who are med free, called ************.
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