Psycho-Babble Medication | about biological treatments | Framed
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Re: jumping in Lorraine

Posted by Elizabeth on August 2, 2001, at 23:47:39

In reply to Re: mostly response to Lorraine but do jump in, posted by Lorraine on August 2, 2001, at 21:57:12

> I think it's more than preference--my QEEG showed some seizure like activity in my temporal lobes. As to my response, I do feel the Neurontin has helped me.

Well, then by all means continue taking it.

> Interesting issue that you raised was the hypomania and I suspect that I have had that pretty regularly throughout my life. Jumping into projects with a flurry of energy, zeal and racing thoughts only to leave them half completed.

That sounds to me more like ADD behaviour, actually.

> After I was on Neurontin for a while, I told my pdoc that I thought that I was thinking less circularly (as in running around in circles) and that I was doing more "productive" work.

That's very cool. Perhaps your problems focussing are related to anxiety or seizurelike activity. TLE often does weird things to people -- globally, not just when they have a seizure.

> So I have to give the Neurontin thumbs up, although I hated depakote and lomictol.

I think Neurontin would have to be my favourite of those three, too. Depakote and Lamictal just didn't do *anything* for me (no significant side effects and no good effects either). That was when I'd been taking Nardil on and off and was having really bad mood swings which led my pdoc to believe I might be bipolar (the moods resembled dysphoric or mixed mania -- MAOI withdrawal is *really* hellish).

> I have cognitive impairment (working memory and so forth) from my depression and am leary about anti-convulsants that add to this problem.

I think I might have an acquired attention disorder secondary to depression (I did have some ADD-like traits as a child but I probably wouldn't have met the diagnostic criteria). This is really hard because being able to think clearly and focus has always been very important to me. I sure hope that it can be corrected or at least treated.

> > > > I think if I'd had my act more together in college, I might have started a support group (for people with psych disorders -- there were a lot of us at my school).
> Aren't you still in school? Graduate or finishing school < g >?

I got my degree (bachelor of science in math) in '97. I've been taking undergraduate classes with the goal of applying to medical school. (I didn't take organic chemistry, biology, etc. in college. Biology became a required course for the class that started after me, and I had placed out of the chemistry requirement by taking AP chemistry, but that wasn't enough to satisfy medical schools so I had to retake it.)

> I always wonder how you manage to be so future oriented (or is it just my perception?) with this disease. I find myself so uncertain day to day about how my mood will be that I've lost the future so to speak.

I brood about the future a lot. Anyway, I'm not really depressed right now (there's no question in my mind that the desipramine is working), just feeling anergic and having some trouble concentrating. My general mood is very much improved.

> > I think that one of my friends who I see fairly often probably has depression and/or panic attacks, but she doesn't want to get treatment (she's seeing a therapist, but only very irregularly).
> do you ever want to shake her and say "this disease is progressive. stop fooling around?"

She doesn't accept the idea that it's a disease, and she loathes the thought of taking medications (for some reason that I'm not quite clear on -- she knows I take them, and she has a brother who takes them too).

> I have a friend like that who actually has been on ADs on and off. I'm afraid she'll end up like me and have a tough time finding something that works if she keeps this up. Plus I do believe that untreated depression leads to brain damage.

Me too. And the on-and-off thing is very destabilising.

> Well, of course, I do have the expert KMART pill splitter, and, who said I break them "evenly". I can't even break scored tablets evenly.

Ahh yes, the famous pill guillotine. I need to swing by K-Mart and get myself one of those. :-)

Most scores suck. Xanax and Desyrel Dividose both break pretty well, though. Adderall is lame -- you really need a splitter to get those to break even close to evenly.

> I just save the small halves and use them as I titrate up. The 5 mg 2x a day seems ok. I think I'll continue with this for the rest of the week. I've only felt the shortness of breath slightly.

Well, that's good to hear. I think that many side effects don't cause much discomfort, especially the ones that go away with time.

> I tried propanolol. But it was too wierd for me and didn't really help. Me and my pdoc debated trying atenolol and decided it was time to move on generally.

Hmm. Well, it might be worth it if the autonomic activation causes you too much discomfort.

> Thanks for the warning on sleep. I had that on moclobemide too and it was unsettling to me. I never felt rested.

My experience with MAOIs has been that I do feel rested, that they decrease my sleep requirements.

> I increased my adderal from 7 mg 2x day to 10 mg 2x a day and really didn't feel any withdrawal symptoms--although I was hidiously distracted at the time, painting some rooms in my house. Still, I felt sublime sometimes and, of course, was very productive.

That's good. Sometimes stressful situations can make withdrawal symptoms harder to bear, but on the other hand, keeping yourself distracted can help.

> A shame spiral for me was a hole that I would fall in precipitously whenever my old shame injury got bumped up against in the normal day to day living. For instance, my boss would publicly shame me and I would not just feel ashamed, I would feel the amount of shame that I felt as a child when I was publicly humiliated (the other kids made fun of my scars) which was a very deep pit that would take me a couple days to climb out of. It really was awful and I didn't understand what was going on--why I was over-reacting and riding this merry-go-round. I sure am glad to have it out of my life.

Ahh, I can understand that. (Can I ask whence the scars? I don't think I've seen you mention that before.)

> Yeah, I just think how hard it was for me to embrace the 8 year old that had been injured in me and have to feel envious that she feels this close to her alters. I think it's great.

I think it sounds pretty cool, too.

> > a book my dad wrote back in the '70s from Amazon. (I'm really hoping he will be able to finish the book he's writing now -- it's going to be quite a piece of work.)
> Really? what's it about?

My dad's a professor (both my parents are) -- his field is philosophy and history of science. It's not light reading. < g >

> I think I tried ebay, no luck. Hmmm Nemeroff, maybe I should get that too. Say, do you own stock in a publishing company? < g >

Schatzberg & Nemeroff are the editors -- it's a psychopharmacology textbook. I did get a copy of DSM-III on eBay.

I don't have any investments, no. (What do you expect? I'm a starving grad student type. < g >)

> I was 15 or 16. It is awful because it is a breach of trust between a parent and child, but the abuse was pretty mild.

Small comfort. Still, it's probably less damaging if it happened when you were older.

> > > > I very frequently get the back ache thing from meds.
> >
> > This is the kind of thing that gets me thinking, "I wonder what causes that?"
> Well, it's like dystonia (mild).

You think so? Hmm. I don't know too much about dystonias, but that doesn't sound like any one that I've heard about.

FWIW, the time that I was first diagnosed with depression (when I was 14), I was having very bad headaches. Prozac did away with them, so I have to credit it for that, at least.

> I don't think it is that uncommon a side effect of a lot of these meds.

Maybe not, but that still doesn't answer the question: *why* do meds cause it?

> I used to think my back aches were physical problems until I started tracking how meds affected them. What about your back ache--were you on meds at the time?

It isn't medication induced -- it's been a chronic thing (started in fall '95), and there is a mechanical problem that probably contributes to it (local steroid injection made it go away for about a week). Nardil did make it go away (so does buprenorphine, of course). Soma works sometimes, but it's not as reliable. It also waxes and wanes in intensity. There are probably multiple factors contributing. But anyway, the fact that centrally acting drugs sometimes alleviate pain doesn't necessarily mean that the pain is "psychogenic." I did track my back pain for a while but couldn't find any correlations other than that it went away completely when I was taking Nardil.

> My pdoc was willing to prescribe this for me, but I didn't want it. It seems like a possibility to try much later if the MAOs and TCAs fail me.

Desoxyn, you mean? That's cool that your pdoc was willing to consider it. I think most of them shy away because of its reputation.

> Shelli's cylert is supposed to be mild as well and might be worth a try if I need a stimulant in the future.

I took Cylert for a while in college. It was pretty helpful. Unfortunately it's been "black-boxed" -- the labelling contains a big, conspicuous warning at the top about potential hepatotoxicity -- so doctors have been less willing to prescribe it.

[re your son]
> He has a learning disability (dyslexia) and possibly undiagnosed ADD sort of stuff.

I think that a lot of different childhood disorders all get lumped together as "ADD."

> He has anger management issues--has had them since he was quite young. He has mild generalized anxiety and is a bit compulsive. We are teaching him coping skills. He actually has made remarkable progress--it's been a year or so since he lost his temper like that.

That's good. It's not easy to help children or adolescents with psychological difficulties, but it's definitely worthwhile to try.

> I've thought of having him formally evaluated, but my therapist feels it's not necessary. (and, in truth, i would be soooo reluctant to medicate a teen in part because they don't have a sexual identity or knowledge so if a med affects their sexuality they will just assume that that is "who they are"

May I offer a counterexample? I was 14 when I started taking Prozac, and while Prozac didn't cause me much difficulty, I most definitely did have a sexual identity by that age.

> I know you were diagnosed young. Were you medicated?

(see above)

> If you were, do you feel it impacted your developing sense of identity (other than the fact that being medicated for a mental illness is a head trip anyway) or affected your developing sense of sexuality?

No. But remaining depressed would almost certainly have stunted my emotional growth.

> My niece is 15 and was diagnosed OCD and put on Luvox. I think it was necessary for her to be medicated, but I do worry--especially about her sexuality given the side effects of SSRIs generally.

Is she doing CBT too? That's supposedly very effective for OCD.

> Say, how is desipramine treating you?

Well, I went in to repeat the serum level test (the first test gave a rather high number), but I haven't gotten the results. It's definitely working somewhat (a pleasant surprise), and things may still get better since I haven't been on it all that long. I'm not sure what my pdoc will want to do if this test comes back high too. An ECG would seem to me to be the logical course of action.





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