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Avatar universal

Bipolar and Opiate Addiction

Is it worth trying meds for bipolar type II after a year clean from methadone addiction? Cognatve/Behavioral Therapy helps me be aware and act accordingly, but the mood swings are still hard to deal with. I have a lot of stress in my life anyway, and am only a year clean. I talked with my wife and she said I was having bipolar episodes during active addiction, though I was not as aware of it. I used to take more on the bad days and would push on through. As a young man, I think I was type I. By controlling my behavior I don't wake up in a 3rd world country like I used to. I withdraw during depression, which makes friendships hard to maintain. I think I always kept my distance to not effect other people. For years, I started blaming everything on drugs. I'm sober and feel real alone sometimes. I'm horrible at small talk and am too intense a lot. I don't know if meds are worth it. I've always been afraid of becoming a zombie. I just got my feelings back, I really don't want to lose that. Does anyone relate to what I'm saying? I actually enjoy the mania, now that I don't do anything crazy anymore. The depression is intense though. I barely hold it together at times. I want to be balanced with my full range of emotions. Is it worth trying meds?
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Avatar universal
You've posted on my posts so you know what I'm going thru currently, but if you read my profile, you also know I was sober for many years. I think after a year of being clean it's a good time to look for a "GOOD" psych dr. for your 'disorder'. That way you don't and up "SELF" medicating. Previous to this year clean, your emotions could have been all over the place without having a disorder, but now I think it's time.
I found a GREAT psych dr. BUT there are so many bad ones too :-( ones that over-prescribe, etc. BUT if they know in advance you were a past addict and that you're leary of pills, hopefully, no matter who they are, they will start you out slow and see what works for you. I know during my addiction I went to a psych dr. who just shoved pills at me and I didn't know if I was coming or going. AFTER being sober for a couple of years I went to a different psych dr. - reason was for anxiety, depression, and total emotional craziness due to HepC treatment, BUT they were very gentle with me (as I was also VERY reluctant to live like a zombie again) and they helped me thru the HepC treatment, and I've chosen to stay on the Paxil (lowest dose they make) and I feel more emotionally 'sound' than I ever have before withOUT feeling numb. In otherwords, I can control my emotions, but still feel them. I feel like this is what I've needed since I was 14. At 20 something I was diagnosed as bipolar. I don't think I am, and this new dr. hasn't told me I am, but when your on drugs, ofcourse you act bipolar. POINT BEING, even though I've not been diagnosed as bipolar recently, I still know what it's like to feel unable to control your emotions, or at least having very intense emotions, and it's good to finally feel in control. So yes, I say, GO! That doesn't mean you shouldn't be reluctant about 'over-prescribers'!! Ask for refferals, and read reviews and ask your wife for help for insight into those reviews as to why ppl. wrote what they did. If you can find a good dr. it will be well worth it in my opinion. I'm very thankful I did. Just to let you know though, a good dr. may take a while to get into, that's why you should start looking now.
Avatar universal
Thanks, I was diagnosed at 19, I'm done self-medicating and everyone is watching me. I never really believed whole heatedly I was bipolar, but I can tell in sobriety. What kind of psych do you like? My local choices are very limited, being in the mountains. There are endless choices in San Francisco, so I'll likely be driving 5 hrs to a doctor, maybe 3. Any recommendation where to start?
Avatar universal
Weaver, I don't know anything about the medication but I can absolutely relate to you on the feelings you describe. I guess I'm bipolar also. Some of mine: I wake up in the morning and I have 2 boxes of things to play with- the good things or the bad things. On the bad days I'll pick apart a conversation and dwell on just what I conceive as bad parts and proceed to build it up into a monster all day. And that causes a domino effect on anything and everything else that happens that day. Good or bad, only the bad rules my mood. On the good days, nothing can shake me and my feelings of well being - even if someone is trying to bring me down, I just don't pick up my end of the rope in the tug-of-war and I enjoy things no matter what. So, I don't need drugs and alcohol to make my life unmanageable! -but if and when I add them, God help me. That's why i don't think I have another recovery left in me...

I also agree with you on "I just got my feelings back, I really don't want to lose that." I was on a small does of amitripthline (Elivil) for 2 years along with the pain meds and I couldn't wait to got off of it. It took me 4 months to taper, which ended in March. Still can't sleep very well.

I will never take anything without completely researching it. The big question is "what is it like coming off of the stuff if i don't want it anymore? It solves a problem, what side effects do I have to put up with to solve that problem? And then I look for threads from people on the drug, or trying to stop the drug. I didn't do any of that research when my doc said "take this Elivil along with your Vicodin".

I hope you get some feedback on here that will help...
Avatar universal
Unfortunately I can't give you advice on "who" to go to. I'm far from where you are. I wish I could. My own personal dr. hasn't excepted new patients for 3 years. If it wasn't for an LPC he had working for him I wouldn't have got in. I pray God puts the right person in your path like he did for me.
This is what I know about mine: he is a board certified psychiatrist. (He has "MD" after his name). His website specifies that he sees patients for "conditions ranging from Depression and Anxiety to Bipolar Disorder and Alcoholism. It also notes "he does not prescribe Xanax or pain medications". This tells me he's not interested in seeing patients who just want meds. Google or look in yellow pages to find a list of local psych. dr.s and look at their websites. You may find reviews on Yelp.com. Hope this helps some.
Avatar universal
P.S. Please note, I'm not recommending Paxil for YOU (since I didn't study medicine and don't know what will be best for your specific situation), I'm just letting you know that the Dr. was able to find something that was right for me, and he actually did this without any trial and error :-) .
I know that being on a medication again is scary, but a lot of psych meds aren't addictive in the way that opiates are. I don't know of any (besides benzos of course) that are going to make you want more, never feeling fulfilled with the quantity you have. I mean I've never heard of someone robbing a pharmacy for paxil or zoloft. LOL. I know Openmind24hrs wrote, worried about what might happen if you had to quit taking the med, and to b honest, I know the Paxil I'm taking says it's NOT easy to quit CT, BUT, in regards to psych meds like mood stabilizers/anti-depressants, would it really be that bad to take it and feel like a normal person the rest of your life??? Especially you being male, you don't have to worry about getting pregnant and needing off of it or something. Plus, like my meds only cost $4 per month WITH OUT insurance, so....just saying you have options, and they aren't all bad or scary. It could be really good.

I just recommend being brutally honest about everything, and ask questions about whatever they recommend - cost, possible side-effects, alternatives, etc. Also, I don't know if this is relevant in all cases, but the first Dr. I saw and did not like was as old as Sigmund Freud himself! My current Dr. is middle aged - not so young he has no experience, but young enough he's up-to-date on the latest research.
3197167 tn?1348972206

Thanks, Tony for asking about this.  The link above is one I have just started reading...as it seems to explain ALL angles of bipolar and ALL types....and many ways it is treated.  I have a LOT of questions myself about this topic.  Two dr's have insinuated I am bipolar myself.  I haven't learned enough or been clean long enough to have come to my own personal conclusion.  

However, one particular thing that keeps "popping" up, in just about every area I am researching.....is "seratonin levels"....and our mood setting neurotransmitters.  This fascinates me....because here on MH in a few of our Health Pages....it is medically stated that MUCH anxiety and depression that occurs AFTER getting clean is caused by low seratonin levels.  The web site I referenced above...also mentions seratonin levels in bipolar diagnosis.

Quitting smoking affects seratonin levels. (and you have done this too, Tony)  Taking lithium (a very common mood stablizer med prescribed for bipolar) is not touted as "addictive" per se...but if wanting to get off of it...people are warned to do it very gradually as it ALSO affects seratonin levels.

I have been on MANY AD's over the past 12 yrs of my life.  SSRI's and SNRI's mostly....when they were attempting to treat my pain without opiates.  I am now weaning off of tricylic AD which I have never ever experienced before.  It's pretty much trial and error for me.  The tricylic AD actually did help with my chronic pain and subsequent depression...but I am unhappy with some of the side effects and have only been on this particular medication for 3 mos.  I read a wikipedia article (one of the only ones I could find) about long term affects of an AD.  That's where I learned nicotine can act like one and affects seratonin, too.

It's a booger boo, Tony.  I'm doing trial and error....healing....re-anlyzing...being cautious as h*ll, trying to figure out what works for me...and continually asking myself if I have given an ample amount of time for all these messed up neural pathways to actually BE BETTER?  I don't know.  I KNOW I cannot take opiates for my pain....and I KNOW my anxiety will eat my lunch and keep ringin the "chemical relief" bell....

I'm sorry to run off at the mouth about this....but you and I are pretty close to the same amount of time clean....I don't feel like I'm equipped enough yet to decide anything yet.....should I wait longer?  Should I try a low dose of an AD to help seratonin levels?  I personally don't think I've given this ole body of mine enough time to heal and HAVE the answer yet.  I mean one year versus ???? yrs of using, smoking, drinking, whatever...and my scales still feel VERY unbalanced.  

KLB84 had some excellent things to share.  I belly laughed outloud when she said she'd never heard of anyone robbing a pharmacy for zoloft or paxil. (so true, so true)  And her advise about the psych dr was GREAT.

One last thing, I've noticed..... there are two diagnoses that MANY addicts have been given:  bipolar.......AND.....fibromyalgia.  This greatly interests me and is worthy of more understanding on my part.... particularly since I've been told both those things about myself as well.

I probably didn't help you.....cause I'm learning and deciding these very same questions for myself.  If there is a natural way to regulate my brain...I will seek that info out first and go from there.  

I wish you peace during this journey....if I don't have peace in my gut and my heart about something....I know I must wait to "act".....until I do.

Hugs o bunch to you my dear friend~
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