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Re: Lithium is up there with Pennicilin and Aspirin Squiggles

Posted by barbaracat on July 12, 2005, at 15:48:23

In reply to Lithium is up there with Pennicilin and Aspirin, posted by Squiggles on July 12, 2005, at 9:07:26

I also have a very quick response to Li. I went off it because of miscommunication with my pdoc and was without for 10 days just recently. Began to feel the old hypersensitivity coming back. Although I didn't let myself descend too far down into mania or god forbid mixed states, I was becoming anxious and depressed and even had a slight panic attack - first in long time.

The worst of the hyper and irritability symptoms were gone in a day or two but I'm still fighting some depression. This is a lethargic, sleeping, cynical brand of blahs, not at all like my typical frenetic agitaged depressions. I think perhaps it's the natural outcome of 10 days of adrenaline surging as hypomania escalated and now my body is pooped. But hey, I'll take this mopey-dopey depression anyday to mixed states.

I am not at a therapeutic window, far below it at 600mg, but that is all I will acquiesce to. When I let my pdoc talk me into 1200mg I was so ill I dumped the lot down the toilet. I'm not depending upon Lithium to make me 'well' or to cure me but allow enough stability to make good decisions about other meds/lifestyle changes I should be making, which for me includes taking a low dose of an AD. I also believe that mania takes alot out of us physically and controlling it is important, but not to the point where all our fire is dampened.

I'd really like to see the therapeutic level not so rigorously adhered to since those levels are high and meant for active mania, not for ongoing maintenance. Those high levels cause unnecessary side effects and organ problems and scare away many who would benefit from a lower maintenance dose.

Anyhow, I think lithium is miracle stuff. Here's a site that has webcasts of talks given by bipolar researchers. The one by Dr. Manji is especially interesting as it goes into the very special properties of lithium. You'll need RealPlayer which you can download. The sound quality isn't always the greatest, but this info is fascinating. - Barbara

> > I agree with Squiggles. Lithium isn't for everyone, but it works well for me. I don't feel dulled and my creativity and mental clarity are of great importance to me. It saved me from the hell of Mixed Mania.
> It's not without its faults -- the side effects are
> bothersome, and the "narrow therapeutic index" can
> make some doctors and patients squeamish, maybe
> even downright scared. But I have never had a deadly reaction (as you can see :-)) and my dr. says I am always on the low side of the spectrum.
> I think that reading about the dangerous side effects may have made influenced me.
> Another thing about this drug, is that it may
> take longer for some people to become stabilized
> and they give it up.
> As for mixed modes, I find it interesting that in my case it has always targeted and eliminiated
> both psychotic depression and mental and motor
> mania within at least a few hours and at most to
> a day to a few days. Remarkable, really. So,
> for me it is a great drug, but loading after being
> off it, can be painful - headaches, heaviness of
> body, chest tightness etc.
> Once stabilized, it is like heaven on earth.
> I guess I'm a textbook bipolar bear. If only
> we had a li-detector to check on you lithium
> levels; any pharmacies interested in doing
> some hardware?
> Squiggles




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