One very important reason to take the correct dose of the correct medication is shown below from the article: “Impulsivity and Risk Taking in Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia” published in Neuropsychpharmacology in September 2013. Here is the reference if anyone would like to read the whole article: http://www.nature.com/npp/journal/v39/n2/full/npp2013218a.html
Basically what this article is saying is that impulsiveness, which is defined as risky decision making, high risk attitudes, acting without planning, poor inhibition of risky actions, high risk attitudes, and rapid decision making (which basically means making decisions without thinking them through). Please understand that these are symptoms of mania. Once you are in a manic phase, you are going to do this. In a hypomanic phase, you are also going to do this but to a much lesser degree, your actions will not be as risky to your life or health. Please also understand that the only way to stop this from happening is to NOT go into a manic or hypomanic phase. The way to do that is to take the right amounts of the right medication as you doctor had prescribed. And if you feel like your mood is slipping towards mania or depression, to call your doctor and let them know. This is a BIOCHEMICAL disease involving levels or metabolism of neurotransmitters. All these neurotransmitters have certain effects on the brain. When their activity or levels of these neurotransmitters are high, we become impulsive. So, just take the right dose of your medication and head these problems off at the pass, nip them in the bud, stop them before they happen. If you don’t, this disease WILL ruin your life, it will destroy your peace of mind, it will destroy your relationships, it will destroy your friendships, it may even take your life. That is as bluntly as I can put it. I am definitely on the therapeutic dose of lithium and I’m staying on it for the rest of my life, I am not allowing this mood disorder to control my life or take days away from me or most importantly take my family or beloved friends away from me.
Not me, not now, not ever again! I hope you too will make a commitment to your health and sanity and your life, and follow your doctor’s advice to the letter.
Below in quotes are passages from the above mentioned article.
“Impulsiveness is a clinical feature of bipolar disorder. Broadly, impulsivity refers to a predisposition toward unplanned reactions without consideration of consequences and can include risky decision making, self-reported high-risk attitudes, poor response inhibition, and rapid decision making.
Bipolar disorder is often characterized by impulsive behavior and increased tendency to work toward a reward, often without sufficient planning. Although risky-impulsive behavior is a diagnostic criterion for mania and bipolar patients consistently show abnormalities on self-report measures of impulsivity, they do not consistently show deficits on behavioral tasks that require planning and forethought. These differences may reflect the multi-faceted nature of impulsivity, or the measurement tools used to assess the construct.
Finally, some of the mixed findings in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia regarding impulsivity and risk taking may be attributable to the types of medications patients are taking. The neurochemical basis of impulsivity and risk taking involves dopaminergic, serotonergic, and other neurotransmitter systems, and these systems are affected by antipsychotic (AP) medications. Some studies find a reduction in impulsiveness associated with AP medications, whereas others find no such effect in psychotic samples. Thus, it is important to consider the role of AP medications on measures of impulsivity and risk taking.
This is one of the first studies to examine both self-report and behavioral measures of impulsivity in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The study had two goals. The primary goal was to conduct a careful analysis of impulsivity using multiple approaches across three groups: bipolar disorder patients, schizophrenia patients, and healthy controls. The secondary goal was to compare subgroups of bipolar disorder patients who differed in terms of AP medications and history of psychosis on measures of impulsivity and risk taking.”