... been taking meds for bipolar for 20 years and would like to start decreasing them in hopes of getting off them completely
I am bipolar and have often wanted to do this myself. In fact, I have been able to reduce some of my medications as I have been stable over the past 8 years, but bipolar disorder does not go away so I recognize I will always be on medication. I would have a frank conversation with your doctor. I don't know what you take and your level of stabilization so can't comment further. Just remember if you are truly bipolar it doesn't just go away over time.
I know of no one who has managed bipolar disorder without meds. I have never read about anyone successfully doing this, and I believe I have read just about everything out there. I would love to stop taking my meds, too, but agree with the previous responses. It doesn't go away. Until they come up with something else—I keep hoping for something like electromagnetic stimulation to the affected area of the brain—we are stuck taking this toxic crap. Just remember that it's better than having manic episodes, which can cost you your job, marriage, everything. I have come close to losing it all (I did lose one job; probably two, but the second was a union job and they could not fire me for getting sick, but came up with legally being able to fire me without cause eventually).
Keep taking the meds, but keep trying, with your doctor, to get the best mix. I am still changing mine after being diagnosed 12 years ago, and taking others during the years I was misdiagnosed.
I'm Bipolar, 51 yrs.old and every time I try and convince myself that I may can do this without the meds. (mainly because of side effects) I ALWAYS am making a BIG mistake! I start crying, screaming at anything and anyone, so depressed, suicidal and anger, Anger and more ANGER!!! I usually land myself in the hospital or should be. Then having to start all over again on the meds. and play the waiting game for them to start working well enough to feel better. I've tried many times when younger to try without meds. and believe me it left me really sick, alone and/or manic out of control which caused me many problems.
I wish i could get off my meds as well. I do research all the time to see if there is a break through on it yet, but so far nothing.
Abigail I agree with you because I have been there. Going off the meds and just losing it then playing the waiting game to catch up.
This bipolar thing is one of the worst things for me especially because i am one that forgets to take medications so i struggle to remember. I don't know if this is normal but if i miss just one dose by the next day i am already feeling the bad effects. Is anyone else like that?
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder early in my life. it was hell for me. I knew that i was getting angry for no reason. I lashed out at people and cried in my bed for so many days; the mania made it all the more confusing. During my episodes everything would make so much sense, but afterward after it kept going through my head a million times it made none. I started taking Depakote after several other medications and it worked. As of two years ago i no longer take Depakote. I achieved this from two things, instead of surpressing my episodes, i re-framed my outlook on things. it didn't stop what i felt, but i ignored it because i knew that i'd later realize it was an exaggerated. There were several periods of months at a time where i would go off and on my meds.
The times i was on my meds i paid attention to how i was normally supposed to be and the time i spent off was practice. Ultimately this may have more to do with luck than will; there are very few cases where bipolar disorder goes away with age, and i may have been one of those few. although, i do still have mild manic episodes where i'm jumping around the house. I'd say try, but be very careful about how long you stay off your meds. Also be open to the possibility that it wont work. At the very least you can observe how you behave under bipolor influence an be able to recognize it so that you can leave a situation when an episode comes around.
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