View Full Version : I was put on Lithium 900mg


Lightning
12-01-12, 08:38 PM
I tried Lithium ER 450mg and didn't felt much different, and now I'm on 900mg and feel great when it comes to self steem, energy level and impulsivity. I got back to the gym, am going out more, shaving everyday and dressing better. I am not as negative and irritated as before, and the impulsive expenses are all gone, I used to keep buying stuff I didn't really needed. On the bad side, I still feel a little hype at times, agitated, obsessed with certain subjects that interest me.

I had no side effects (other than stomach pain) at all, and I also managed to loose 6 pounds on it, but I am scared to hell. I read so many bad things about Lithium on the internet, and I really feel like just stop taking it and try asking my Dr. another medicine.

Do you take Lithium? Is it the most effective threatment? Did you have kidney/thyroid/renal problems? Wha is better than it?

namazu
12-01-12, 09:25 PM
I had no side effects (other than stomach pain) at all, and I also managed to loose 6 pounds on it, but I am scared to hell. I read so many bad things about Lithium on the internet, and I really feel like just stop taking it and try asking my Dr. another medicine.

Do you take Lithium? Is it the most effective threatment? Did you have kidney/thyroid/renal problems? Wha is better than it?

Lithium is an older drug, but it's hung around because it has a long track-record of success as a mood stabilizer for bipolar disorder. It definitely has the potential for side effects and toxicity, which are not something to ignore, but this is also true of newer drugs (which generally have fewer years of research behind them).

I took lithium for several years, a couple of decades ago when I was (mis?)diagnosed with bipolar disorder (long story, probably irrelevant here).

I have also taken valproate (Depakene/Depakote), which is an anticonvulsant used as a mood stabilizer in bipolar disorder as well. This had worse cognitive side effects for me.

When I was taking lithium, it was at fairly high doses (I think up to 1200 or 1500mg at one point, though my memory is pretty rusty). I experienced hand tremors (shakiness) and some nausea if I didn't take it with enough food.

A more serious side effect for me was something called "diabetes insipidus", which is just a fancy name for being thirsty and having to pee all the time. This caused practical problems (I was in school at the time and had to get special permission to use the bathroom...), and I ended up taking another med to counteract the side effect.

It is related to the kidneys, but the good news, at least in my case, was that it was totally reversable (went away after lowering the dose/stopping the medication) and there does not appear to have been any long-term damage.

It's important to consider possible side effects, but in my opinion, it's equally important to bear in mind the extremely serious and much more likely effects of stopping the medication (i.e., cycling, risks of self-harm and impulsive decisions and not being able to function).

My suggestions:

1. You can (and should) get regular blood tests to check levels of lithium, if you're not already doing so. This is one of the few medications where serum levels actually appear to be tied to therapeutic effects and toxicity in a predictable way, and this monitoring can help give you peace of mind.

2. Use a pill organizer. This can help you remember to take meds and avoid accidental overdose.

3. Keep in close contact with the physician who is prescribing and monitoring the medication, and be sure to keep all medical professionals you see up-to-date with any other medications you are taking (whether prescription or over-the-counter or vitamins or supplements). This will help avoid any unexpected drug interactions, and help you and your healthcare providers communicate in the case of changes in your health and mood.

4. Kay Redfield Jamison is a psychiatrist and research at Johns Hopkins University who has spoken publicly about her own bipolar disorder. She has written a number of books, which may be of interest. In particular, though, she has spoken about her love-hate relationship with lithium and medication, and I found it oddly reassuring to hear that even experts struggle with these feelings.

There is a little sidebar printed in a couple of her books, which I think was first published "anonymously", but which she later revealed that she herself had written:
Rules for the Gracious Acceptance of Lithium into Your Life

1. Clear out the medicine cabinet before guests arrive for dinner or new lovers stay the night.

2. Remember to put lithium back into the cabinet the next day.

3. Don’t be too embarrassed by your lack of coordination or your inability to do well the sports you once did with ease.

4. Learn to laugh about spilling coffee, having the palsied signature of an eighty-year-old, and being unable to put on cuff links in less than ten minutes.

5. Smile when people joke about how they think they “need to be on lithium.”

6. Nod intelligently, and with conviction, when your physician explains to you the many advantages of lithium in leveling out the chaos in your life.

7. Be patient when waiting for this leveling off. Very patient. Reread the Book of Job. Continue being patient. Contemplate the similarity between the phrases “being patient” and “being a patient.”

8. Try not to let the fact that you can’t read without effort annoy you. Be philosophical. Even if you could read, you probably wouldn’t remember most of it anyway.

9. Accommodate to a certain lack of enthusiasm and bounce that you once had. Try not to think about all the wild nights you once had. Probably best not to have had those nights anyway.

10. Always keep in perspective how much better you are. Everyone else certainly points it out often enough, and, annoyingly enough, it’s probably true.

11. Be appreciative. Don’t even consider stopping your lithium.

12. When you do stop, get manic, get depressed, expect to hear two basic themes from your family, friends and healers:

But you were doing so much better, I just don’t understand it.
I told you this would happen.

13. Restock your medicine cabinet.

Good luck!

Lightning
12-02-12, 06:25 AM
You said you were misdiagnosed and took over 1200mg of Lithium for five years, so I guess you know how I feel.

I'm not totally sold that I am "Bipolar 2", and I feel as if I am taking unnecessary risk by going with Lithium as the first medicine choice, when there are safer medications like Lamictal. I asked my Dr. the most effective and risk safe med, and he gave me Lithium.

I am trying to quit Lithium for the last couple of days, but I am affraid of getting depressed again, and get back to being a quiter.

namazu
12-02-12, 04:55 PM
I'm not totally sold that I am "Bipolar 2", and I feel as if I am taking unnecessary risk by going with Lithium as the first medicine choice, when there are safer medications like Lamictal. I asked my Dr. the most effective and risk safe med, and he gave me Lithium.

I am trying to quit Lithium for the last couple of days, but I am affraid of getting depressed again, and get back to being a quiter.
Did you tell your doc about your concerns re: lithium? No med is 100% safe, but at least with lithium you can monitor the blood levels and side effects. It sounded like you were doing OK on it so far, though, yeah?

If you want to get off lithium, though, it would be good to talk it over with the doc instead of just discontinuing on your own (which is asking for trouble!). Maybe he'd be OK with trying Lamictal if you're more comfortable with that option.

Could you call to either set up an appointment or let your doc know that you're really uncomfortable taking lithium?

Lightning
12-02-12, 09:57 PM
I have an appointment next tuesday.

He opted for Lithium because of my contant lows and highs, and well, he is not planning to take me out of it anytime soon, maybe add a second medicine to support it.

Lithium took me off my depression, gave me energy and self steem, and solve my impulsivity, but I feel restless and have obsessive thoughts. My mind is racing and I can´t sit still, have this urge to be doing something meaningful. This usually end up pretty bad but somehow I am not going any higher as used to, though I hate to feel this way.

I am sure Lithium is holding myself down, but it doesn´t feel enough.

adelynsmommy
01-05-13, 01:46 PM
I'm also on lithium for reasons I'm not toally sure of...at some point they thought I was bipolar bc none of the ADs worked worth beans. Lithium SEEMED to augment the ADs and help the depression for a while, but now I'm not so sure.

I have hypothyroidism bc of the lithium, and that was after one year on it. I keep trying to get off of it but my psych keeps blaming all my issues on lack of lithium when I try to wean...which drives me nuts bc I feel I'm just having withdrawals and not actual symtpoms coming back, does that make sense?

I also have this crazy idea that the lithium is causing me to be less responsive to my stimulants, but that hasn't been confirmed by anyone, just my impression. I would looove to get off lithium soon bc I want to TTC this year and lithium is too toxic.

Sigh, anyways, I guess my point is, that I don't like this drug but that's just my perception, it may work really well for you! Goodluck.

Lightning
01-07-13, 04:16 AM
I'm also on lithium for reasons I'm not toally sure of...at some point they thought I was bipolar bc none of the ADs worked worth beans. Lithium SEEMED to augment the ADs and help the depression for a while, but now I'm not so sure.

I have hypothyroidism bc of the lithium, and that was after one year on it. I keep trying to get off of it but my psych keeps blaming all my issues on lack of lithium when I try to wean...which drives me nuts bc I feel I'm just having withdrawals and not actual symtpoms coming back, does that make sense?

I also have this crazy idea that the lithium is causing me to be less responsive to my stimulants, but that hasn't been confirmed by anyone, just my impression. I would looove to get off lithium soon bc I want to TTC this year and lithium is too toxic.

Sigh, anyways, I guess my point is, that I don't like this drug but that's just my perception, it may work really well for you! Goodluck.

A few years ago I was diagnosed as ADHD, and now ADHD and Bipolar 2. I have episodes that last from weeks to months, and inside those episodes I have ADHD's symptons.

Back in 2010 when I first started on Ritalin, I felt great, energetic, productive, barely sleeping, so obsessed and egocentric, big self steem. I believed I was going to be rich by the end of the year (I didn't even had a job). For a couple of months I thought that was Ritalin's effect, but Ritalin is supposed to last 3h or so and I was having 2x 10mg pills a day and feeling like supermen 24-7. I woke up one day all tired, slower and negative, couldn't study or work, and what was once the most amazing project seemed impossible to acomplish. Ritalin wasn't helping anymore, it would only make me feel disphoric, anxious, irritaded, so I abandoned the threatment.

Last year I was put on Ritalin LA 40, and didn't felt any benefit in the attention deppartment, sometimes I'd get happy, other times mad and agressive. I don't really know for sure.

I've been on Lithium 900mg for the last couple of months now. It helped with my hypomania, but not so much for depression. I thought it wasn't working at all, so I cut my dosage in half (few das ago), and now I am much worse. I hate the idea of Lithium and Bipolar, though Dr. Wants me back on Lithium + Lamictal. I feel like a lab rat.

I started feeling tired and have sleep paralysis. I thought it was Lithium's fault, but even on have the dose I still feel like trash. Guess it is the depression.