Bipolar Disorder Community
Passion for life and weight gain
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Bipolar Disorder is also known as "Manic Depressive Disorder". This forum is for questions and support for people with, or for loved ones of people with Bipolar Disorder. The forum covers topics ranging from Aggressive Behavior, Affect on friends and Family, Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Appetite Changes, Chronic Pain, Denial, Depression, Difficulty Concentrating, Euphoria, Guilt, Manic Depression, Medications, Mood Swings, Poor Judgment, and Sleep Disorders

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Passion for life and weight gain

I am currently 44 and on buspar and lexapro for anxiety and depression - lexarpo 7 mths, buspar 2.5 mths.  For 5 years in my thirties I took Prosac and my life changed for the better.  Most of my life I had these looming internal fears and would go from ms. passionate, full of life, (and reckless with decision, but a professional) to some depression, but never real deep.  I started medicating myself with alcohol and diet pills (prescribed) then ended up in a program for duel treatment at 33.  They put me on 2500 mg of Depakote, Prosac 20, and sleeping pills and I ended gaining 110 lbs and was a zombie and shell of myself - didn't work 2 years after having a 12 year executive job.  I went off the depakote and sleeping pills but stay on on Prosac and moved myself to another state  - things seemed fine for several years although looking back I took my retirement money, invested it in a private company that I then moved out of state and lived with the owners to build the business - it's was one big rollercoaster and I crashed again, went on the meds but from a free clinic and then they had me additcted to xanax, went from zyprexa, lithobid, lithium klonzopn - . got fat again, walked around drunk feeling, and dumped them in 2003.  I took only prosac, ate healthy, worked out, became CEO of this company and was turnign it around - unitl January of 2008 I was fine.  I have been living with a very stable person, he too is a business owner in a small town in Nebraska - a good way of life for us both.  Dec 26th, 2007, to futher enhance my health, I quite smoking thorugh hypntherapy 4 session.  3 weeks later anxiety attacks came and broke throught prosac, were crippling me and causing mush depression and anxiety.  I switched meds from that to paxil to lexapro and nothing helped - my dr. said its' time to to on Bi-poloar meds - zypresxa.  I said no, she put me on Buspar.  It has been "ok" for 2 months, nothing real great, but am functioning but not happy - through all the accomplishments of quitting drinking in 2005, no smoking, and running a troubled company one would think I could be grateful.  but no, I am back up the scale, and depressed.  here is the deal:  The man I have been with for almost 6 years asks one thing of me:  keep my wait in check.  I am up the scale, fearing my mental health, and I think I may need to go back on mood stabilizer to stop this neediness during a stressful time with the troubled company I am trying to save and the economy.  The problem:  I can't gain weight,  In fact, I need to lose 65 lbs now.... PLEASE tell me there is something out there other then all these stabilizers that will at least allow me to work offr the weight by diet and exercise while keeping my anxieties, mild depression, and mood swings under control.  I beg you, please help.  I don't have the engery to leave a state where I have no family but him and his family, and start over with nothing back in california or phoenix with family - at 44, going to be 45 years old.  I am know for being boisterous, funny, and having a huge heart, but right now I am scared of those darn meds and scared I'll be zombie at 250 lbs in 6 months!
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607502_tn?1288251140
H and welcome to the community.

The first question is the one we always ask - have you discussed your concerns with your doctors?  They are always the best place to start.

One thing to be aware of is fixation is bad for bipolars, it can cause anxiety and other problems and its very easy to become fixated on something like weight gain.

Now what you have posted indicates some things to the reader, first of all I assume you are BP diagnosed right?

You say you are taking Lexapro and Buspar right now and you dont take a mood stabiliser?   Lets look at the 2 drugs.

Lexapro is an SSRI AD (you have been informed of the risks of SSRI drugs for bipolars by your doctor right?) it is one of the 'safer' ones apparently and weight gain is not one of its side effects which is good.

Buspar is one of the newer SRA anti anxiety meds and its a non weight gain causing drug.

So those are not going to cause weight gain.

From where I sit based on your post and stated information I think you need to be seeing your psychiatrist right now - Im a bit concerned that you are heading into a depressive phase which you should no be if the AD was working well - Bipolars need a mood stabiliser, is the key plank of treatment and acts as a leveller for moods - without this you are at pray to dangerous mixed episodes and an SSRI without an MS is very bad for bipolars indeed.

On weight gain - drugs do not magically make you gain weight as such - yes Lithium and some other drugs may increase water retention but the majority of these drugs do it via increased appetiite and in some cases depressed metabolic rate - this can be controlled with a diet program and exercise - watching what you eat and working out is the key and its also good sense for bipolars as a treatment component.

You and I are very alike, I went 15 years unmedicated on a roller coaster of hypomania which I channelled into my work - I fought medication tooth and nail believing it was going to destroy my career and it did not.  There is no reason to fear a mood stabiliser you just need to sit down with your psychiatrist, lay out the information and make an informed decision on why one is right for you.

Do not be afraid of this, we have all been down this path and there are a lot of people here to help ok.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you... I am so lost right now and am sick of these moods.  I loved life, was known as Mamma Mariani the cook, and joke teller, and lover, and I am tire of myself.... and so scared.  will call my doctor on Monday and have her make an appointment (and this time time not cancel) with the psychiatrist.  I just don't want to go through life not feelling - i love to feel and give love, and to feel joy, and give joy - so many little things make me so happy and this is a cloud of paranoia, depression, clinginess (if even a word) and it has to stop... thank you so much again for the time you took to speak with me.  I'll let you know how it goes.

How are you? and how is your life?  I have a distributor in AU - always wanted to visit that beautiful country.
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607502_tn?1288251140
Mood stabilisers can give you back that if you can get the right balance, its understandable to be afraid but we are here to give you assitance and a shoulder to lean on - there are plenty of good people here to help, trust me I know very well from personal experience.

Its a road we are all walking, some of us faster than others and some of us fall over from time to time and need a hand to get up - around here there are always hands.

My life right now is not fantastic, theres a thread about that here but today is good, its 31 celsius, bright blue skies and not too humid and all in all a beautiful day down under, - days like this make it hard to feel too down.
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Avatar_f_tn
I found that ssri's really didn't help keep me stable, I would be really happy for a while, then crash. Mood stabilizers are much longer acting, in the sense you don't if at all have to switch( unless it really doesn't work). I know someone with BP who's been on the same MS for 12-ish years. That amount of weight gain really has nothing to do with the drug, but an eating disorder.
Many BP's have more then one diagnosis, I have disordered eating as well, and working on that as well. I lost a ton of weight, but gained most of it back.  Buspar isn't really good for BP in my opinion, I tried it, and it didn't do much, I went on Seroqual and my anxiety has dropped tremendously. I freaked out a first when I saw wht the drug was initially used for, but that's at much higher doses then for anxiety. In other words there are a tons of meds out there that would work better the Prozac, which in itself can cause more anxiety.

You really need to see a pdoc to find the right mix. I was terrified of becoming a zombie, but I am far from it. I'm actually more productive and focused, I'm on Lamacitil, Seroqual, Lithium, Trazadone and Ativan as needed.  I dont' have to drag myself out to do things for the most part, unless I"m having a bad back pain day like yesterday. As well, the days ot Stelazine and serious anti-psychotics are gone which made people zombie-ish, unless you are seriously psychotic and delusional. I'm told though Paxil has made people really flat as well.

Being really educated is so very important and they key to self-awareness I believe. The better you know you, the better you can advocate for yourself.

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Avatar_f_tn
HI and a big welcome to the site.

Weight gain has always been one of my issues with regard to mood stabilizers.  Some are worse for it than others but as monkeyc says there are steps you can take to help keep the weight off.  I will say that depakote is known for its side effect of weight gain, I didn't gain a lot on it but it was more than I wanted.  It is often called depa-bloat!  HOWEVER, it does depend on your dosage and your metabolic rate.  On a lower dose I gained no weight at all.  Depakote can increase your craving for sweet things and a lot of the weight is water based as with lithium.  You need to put your mental health first and I would suggest that a chat with your partner to alleviate your concerns about the relationship should you gain a few pounds. You may find that you are more worried by this than your partner.



Your psychiatrist will work with you regarding side effects and ways to avoid weight gain.  Regular small meals, lots of water and regular exercise will not only help your mind but will also help keep off those extra pounds.
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Hi and welcome,

The posters above me have given great advice.  You sound like such a wonderful, giving person who just needs to have a good pdoc dial in your meds. Being patient and staying on course making sure you go to each and every appointment isn't always easy, but it will pay great dividends in the long run. You can do this! =)

As far as weight gain, definitely discuss it with you doctor first.  My son has gained some weight due to being on different meds and here are a few things that helped him.

Try and drink as much water as possible and always have a glass before each meal. And as bulldozer said, regular small meals.  Try not to eat late at night before bed.  I myself got into that syndrome for a bit and put on some extra pounds until I changed my eating habits.

As far as exercise, try not to look at it as boot camp.  Don't feel like you have to work out for 2 hours a day. Take it in small incremental steps. If at first you can only do 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night, then so be it, at least you're getting started..  The key is to set aside a regular time to make this part of your daily routine.  It helps so much if you have a partner to team up with. They can offer you encouragement and there are times when you don't feel like walking or exercising, but you'll do it because you know they are counting on you. :) Set smaller short term goals, don't try to run the whole race at once.

You sound like you have such a good heart, be kind and gentle to yourself as you travel this road.  Nobody is perfect and if you fall down, dust yourself off and get right back on track!

I had very severe depression when I was in my early 20's accompanied by alcohol abuse to try and medicate myself which only made things worse.  I was in a position at the time where I pretty much isolated myself from everyone and they thought I was just out doing my own thing.Little did they know that I was fighting for my life each and every day, which leads me to my next thought, as this helped me immensely....

I am a big proponent of positive affirmations and visualizations.  First and foremost, you must do this each and every day, first thing in the morning and last thing at night before going to sleep.  They say it takes 20-30 days to form a new habit so one has to be diligent. It's not very complicated at all.  You just form 10 positive affirmations about yourself that pertain to how you want to feel about yourself and the person you want to become. Find a good quiet relaxing place, close your eyes and relax your breathing.  I used to imagine, breathing in relaxation and blowing out tension.

Google "positive affirmations" for some good examples.

At first when you say these affirmations, you'll think it's crazy because you don't feel this way in the least. That's perfectly normal to feel that way, say them anyway. :)  And one of the keys is to try an imagine what feelings that you would have if you indeed felt that way, such as a great sense of peace, happiness, contentment etc. Paint a visual picture in your mind of this wonderful you!

I was at the point in life at the time, where it was hard for me to even think one positive thought about myself.  After I started doing positive affirmations, something amazing started happening after several weeks.  Stray "good thoughts" would pop into my mind out of nowhere!  I thought, "what in the world?  where did these come from?"  My subconscious was digesting these affirmations and producing positive results.  They say what goes in a mind comes out in a life. The longer I continued practicing the affirmations, the more positive results I saw.

Experts say that if a person can imagine something vividly enough, it's as though they have actually experienced it.  In a study, they took 2 groups of 10 basketball players and wanted them to practice making free throws.  One group actually took a basketball, stood at the free throw line and shot hoops to practice.  The other group just stood at the free throw line and in their minds, vividly imagined their shooting free throws, the trajectory that the ball would take and then seeing the ball go through the net.  After about a week of doing this, the results were amazing.  BOTH groups had progressed at the same rate in improving their free throw percentages! Hmmm. =)

This is not to say that positive affirmations are a cure all. (Good doctors, proper meds and therapy are paramount.)  But merely to state that they can add a positive step to your getting better and achieving some of the goals that you'd like to.

Once again, welcome, best of luck and know that we are here for you. =)



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