Many people with bipolar disorder (BPD) refuse to take medication. Even if they do go on meds, they may reduce the dose or not take enough to control their symptoms. This can be for a few reasons, 1) The side effects may be so bad that the meds may be intolerable. For example I have had literally half my hair fall out with Depakote and Trileptal. I have also had debilitating migraines with Latuda, unbelievable anxiety with Wellbutryn SR, and other pretty bad side effects from a plethora of other drugs. 2) Some patients may be sort of addicted to the ups of mania and don’t want to take any medication that will bring them down to normal. Although I don’t really have ups, I have mixed episodes, for some reason I didn’t want to take the full 900 mg of Lithium, so I used to suffer through major mood upheaval every year. I don’t know why I didn’t take the recommended dose, I told myself that I didn’t need that high a dose, that my body couldn’t handle that high a dose, that I was fine taking 1/3 the recommended dose. And it is true, a 900 mg dose was a lot for me at first, but now after about 2 months of being on 900 mg of Lithium, the side effects have abated a bit and it is actually not too bad. So what I’ve realized now is that I’ve been sabotaging myself as far as taking the correct dosage is concerned. Yes I am dismayed that I caused so much suffering for my self and my loved ones, however, I am starting from now and changing what I can. I can not go back to the past and undo what happened, if I could I certainly would. Ugh… I don’t know why I didn’t just take 900 mg, it is really foolhardy that I didn’t. I suffered a lot and lost days and days of my life. Also, a recent experience in my life has taught me that I need to take full responsibility for my illness and my mood, so I am now doing that, starting with taking the correct dosage of the correct medicine.
I am going to have a Lithium level done on Monday, and the optimal dose is 0.6-0.75 mmol/L. Hopefully mine level is there, if not, I may try to increase the dose in conjunction with my doctor.
I am very hopeful that this dose will stop the cycling allowing me to be normal and productive and happy and healthy :)) Also, this will stop me from being a burden to my amazing and lovely family and friends who have always been there for me.
Wish me luck in this endeavor!