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Lithium worked for me!

Posted by Louise on December 11, 1999, at 19:42:30

In reply to Re: Lithium, Day 8, posted by Noa on December 10, 1999, at 20:58:44


hang in there. I was on Lithium for 3 years. The good news is that for the last 2 of these 3 years I was pretty much syptom free and after having been on just about every drug in the book in sequence for the last 4 years, I'm pleased to report that lithuim did the trick - I'm now symptom free and all I take is the odd chlorpromazine if I find mind working a bit too fast- this 'nips the problem in the bud' for me now and my mood has been stable for ages. As you get into the course, my experience was that I needed less and less other drugs to stop my mood swinging from mania to deep depressions. I also found that I was more sensitive to other drugs whike taking lithium - AD's and antipsychotics were more of a fine tuning device with the lithium providing the main barrier of sanity. I'm sorry I haven't read all of your thread. The side effects you might be getting (peeing, thirst, nausea etc. etc.) tend to settle down after a while - or you just get used to them, I'm not sure which! It will probably take a while for lithium to settle your mood down, especially if you're getting major swings, but persevere!
Also a warning - many people withdraw from lithium before finishing the course. Some studies have shown rapid (or early)withdrawal to precipitate relapse (usually into mania)at a rate much higher than the unmedicated reate for people with bi-polar illnesses.
It was really good for me to get to the stage that I was on lithium only, and even to be stable for such a long period of time. Generally, I felt that I was a bit flat while on lithium. My range of wanted moods as well as the unwanted ones was squashed a bit, but worth it. I feel abit more energetic and motivated now I'm off it, and it's good to be that way without getting high!

I did find that once my mood had settled, I felt more myself at the lower end of the theraputic range - as long as you stay in it, the safety net's still there.
The antidepressant effect of lithium to me seemed to be more of a preventative thing following an upswing. If I got really down I did need AD's as well earlier on in the course of treatment, but only for a few weeks or I just ended up shooting upwards in the other direction. It's good if your doctor is sensitive to this rather than prescribing 6 month courses of AD's when your mood just needs 'tweaking' to let the lithium do its work.
I did suffer from pretty bad nausea throughout when taking lithium. I just stuck at it and moaned a lot but it was worth it. I'm really glad I didn't give up.

Good luck - I hope it helps to hear of someone who lithium has worked so well for.


PS I don't know if you've read 'An unquiet mind' by Kay Redfield Jamieson - she's an expert on bi-polar illness and has the illness herself. I was surprised to read of how much she stopped and started with lithium (although she had sme nasty side effects) but it was a good read that you can identify with.




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