... Prozac, and every known antidepressant 1990-1995. Four days no sleep caused 1st episode--totally terrified out of my mind and delusional. It took an excellent shrink to finally realize that my body apparently reacts opposite of most people. Says will cause drowsiness--nope I'm climbing the walls. Lithium helped me regain my sanity and ability to continue on as a functioning financial manager in a large company, mother two children and stay married to the same wonderful man for 46 years. My problem now is I had my thyroid removed one year ago and all of a sudden I have two doctors (One is an Endocrinologist) insisting I get off lithium because it "may" be damaging some of my organs. Tried to go from 600mg to 0 in about 6 weeks time so they could start trying all of these psychotic drugs instead--- Abilify, and 3 other kinds in a matter of 2 months. I cannot tolerate them. Blood pressure has gone crazy high then low and most from my anxiety. Is long term lithium usage dangerous? I wish these doctors would leave my meds alone but what if they are correct and I could be shortening my life? They have never heard of ANYONE using lithium for this length of time. Can someone give me input please?? My nerves are on edge and I never want another bi-polar breakdown which is where I'm afraid I could be heading. thank you for sharing any of your knowledge
I've heard of lithium hurting the liver and yes that has to do with monitoring lithium levels. I suspect the doctors are wanting to find a "safer" alternative to lithium of which there are many. Sounds like you have tried a lot. Finding the right medication or combination there of can be a frustrating ordeal, but working with your docs closely to find it is worth the effort. Don't let yourself tailspin though. Keep hope on your side.
As far as i was aware, lithium can be used over long periods of time, regardless of age, as long as close monitoring is in place to identify early onset of any organ damage. I agree that there are many 'safer' alternatives but as you have experienced, finding the right one for you can be very difficult, time consuming and in the short term, worse for your mental health. I don't have Bipolar, i have BPD and i take Seroquel (XR), (an antipsychotic) which has proven very successful for me. Have you tried this medication?
Hi, gayley! All I can say is stand your ground and take the medications that YOU know work for YOU. You've been on lithium for 22yrs and you're not dead? Well, hello!! I have not been taking lithium that long ~ maybe 6yrs ~ and my marvelous psych orders blood work to monitor organ functions. If, and when, there's ever an abnormality we'll deal with it.
I also have to take a thyroid supplement. What's the big deal?
I can't go near antidepressants because they throw me right into hypermania.
Another thing I don't quite know how to say is that there is quality of life and quantity of life. Given my choice of living to 80 as a happy, functional woman or living to 85 as a blithering, dazed idiot running in circles?? I know what I would choose!
YOU have the right to make your health care decisions. Choose what's best for you.
My best wishes, WCV
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