Posted by papillon2 on January 25, 2012, at 20:24:43
In reply to Re: Lithium's Safety Evaluated Safer Than Thought, posted by Raisinb on January 25, 2012, at 9:25:48
I am currently on 125mg (level .12) but I'm taking a little hiatus from Lithium until I speak with my psychiatrist in 2 weeks (reasons below).
On 500mg (level .8) I experienced:
- severe cognitive problems (the "wall") - confusion; difficulty thinking, talking and understanding others when spoken to; word find problems and occasionally saying the wrong words in sentences.
- nausea from even just moving my head
- stumbling around
- massive headache and eye pain
- slowed movements in addition to the slowed thinking
On 250mg (level .2) I had occasions where I experience the above, as opposed to a constant presentation. These were usually preceeded by slight dehydration and a marked increase in that horrible Lithium metallic taste. On one instance I also had a freaky experience where my eyes were constantly and uncontrollably darting from side to side even when my eyelids were closed. I think it's called nystagmus.
So, the reason for my hiatus? Three nights ago I had cognitive problems again (though not to the same degree), the massive headache and eye pain that comes with the cognition problems, and a full colour visual hallucination that was terrifying.
I'm not sure if the hallucination was related to Lithium. There's a small chance I may have had a seizure due to a sudden spike in my Lamictal level (an interaction with the contraceptive pill). The hallucination that I had, which was of being attacked by a purple/blue geometric shape with a bright light, is apparently frequent with ocipital seizures. But I'd rather not risk it.
I am mainly terrified that I am developing psychotic features but hoping it's just something called hypnopompic and hypnocogic hallucinations.
Wow, I've rambled. Anyway, I wish I weren't so sensitive to Lithium because the low dose I have as an adjunct to my anti-depressant would otherwise be quite safe, it is proven to reduce suicide rates* and has neuroprotective features. If someone had a choice between Lithium and an atypical anti-psychotic as a mood stabilizer, I would definitely suggest first trying Lithium.
*For example, there's one study where they found that towns in... I think it was Sweden or Switzerland... with higher levels of Lithium in the drinking water had less suicide attempts and deaths than towns with lower Lithium levels. They made adjustments for other factors like population and mental illness rates.