• 6 months ago

    I'm sick of being a lab rat

    In 2009 I was diagnosed as Bipolar. Almost 10 years and several medications later, I don't think this was correct. I've tried it all. Lexapro, Zoloft, Neurontin, Lithium, Risperdal, Trazadone, Seroquel... plus more. Most recently I was on a combination of Lithium 450 2x a day, Zoloft 200 1x a day, Seroquel 400 1x at bedtime, Xanax .5 3x a day, Antabuse 1x a day for alcoholism. Before I started the Antabuse I was drinking and mixing these meds and had 3 seizures so if you are on meds, PLEASE BE CAREFUL! But I recently started taking the Antabuse and had 2 episodes where I was so disoriented and confused I almost went to the ER in fear of a stroke. Turns out to be a negative side effect of the Antabuse. So I am done. I am quitting all these medications and going to a more holistic and herbal approach. The Lithium obviously hasn't helped over the past ten years because I still get so depressed I turn to alcohol and my visits to Rehabs and Psych wards have not slowed or helped. These medications are making things worse as I see it. I failed to mention, when I was diagnosed as Bipolar, I was heavily using cocaine on a daily basis. I have not used any drugs in at least a year and alcohol in 2 weeks. Does anyone have any advice? Herbal supplement suggestions? I am not going to return to the psychiatrist for the simple fact that I leave with more than I started with. Also, even with the medications, I attempted suicide twice... it wasn't a permanent threat, more like a cry for help because I was so "squirrelly" inside my head. Thanks for listening and I wish everyone only the best.


  • 6 months ago

    RE: I'm sick of being a lab rat

    Hi Samanthaaj83,

    I hear you re tired of being a lab rat! I do believe that there are some good Psychiatrists out there, but I also believe that many that I've seen and heard of are constantly adding med after med after med, and I think it's abusive! That's using my "good girl" language! lol

    Based on one thing that you said, i.e. "I was diagnosed Bipolar when I was heavily using cocaine on a daily basis." Was it a Psychiatrist who diagnosed you? Regardless of who it was, they should have known better than to diagnose ANYONE who is on drugs or alcohol! There's no way for the doctor to know what is a drug or alcohol symptom or a mental health symptom! So first of all, to that doctor - "Idiot!" In order for you to have had a proper diagnosis, you need to have been clean for a certain amount of time (don't know how long), so who knows if that diagnosis is accurate or not!

    Let's just pretend that it is - it's very possible that you are what's called "Treatment Resistant," which means that you don't respond to typical psych meds. One of the meds or class of meds that is tried for those who are Treatment Resistant are called MAOI's - medications under that class are Nardil, Parnate, Marplan, and EmSam (a patch). I am treatment resistant and about 27 years ago after trying many meds, I was put on Nardil (and Lithium) and have been on it ever since. I am unable to take any of the more common meds - I get sick and they don't help re depression. I am diagnosed with Bipolar Type 2.

    MAOI's aren't prescribed as much these days (they are one of the first anti-depressants) because of the various drug interactions and some food interactions, and it can effect ones blood pressure; however, they are not an issue as long as you make sure all your doctors know you are on an MAOI and you adhere to the food diet, which doesn't amount to much.

    But, the little bit of hassle is worth if it helps re depression.

    As far as other herbal and/or alternative treatments to try that would/could work for you; I couldn't tell you. Much of it depends on your diagnosis. If your diagnosis of Bipolar is accurate, then medication is necessary; the hard part is, as you know, finding the right one(s). I would suggest you going to a different Psychiatrist (maybe one who is recommended and not known for over-medicating) and get another diagnosis (as long as you are clean) and then go over your history with him/her and go from there. I would definitely let him/her know that you WILL NOT go on a truck load of medication unless you life depended on it! Let them know that from day one! You don't have to take every medication they throw at you! If you are not comfortable with what the treatment is, then you discuss it with the doctor. I've known people where they told their doctor that an anti-depressant didn't work and so rather than the doctor either increasing the dose first OR trying a different anti-depressant, they will instead ADD another med to piggy-back the first med. Then after a week or month, they add another med to treat the side effect of the 2nd med! Why didn't they FIRST increase the dose of the first med and if that didn't work, CHANGE the anti-depressant? Granted, sometimes those additions are called for, but I highly doubt they are much of the time!

    So, you HAVE to be proactive and be your own best advocate! There are some meds that I absolutely will NOT take for my own personal reasons, and if a doctor wants to prescribe them, I just let them know that I'm not interested and they can find something else.

    There is a line to draw in that we do need to realize that the doc has more medication knowledge than I do and I need to respect that, but I know my body more and I know what works for me and what doesn't, and they need to respect my knowledge! If a Psychiatrist won't do that, then I'm off to find someone else!

    There ARE things that we can do even with meds that can help - things like diet, exercise, and basic self-care. Therapy is also a very needed mode of treatment that does so much more than medications alone (or at all) if you're willing to put in the work. That might be something for you to look into.

    If you are going to go off your meds without the assist of your doctor, I would HIGHLY recommend that you NOT go off them cold-turkey! You will be in for a rude awakening if you do that! But I wouldn't go off them at all without first seeing a new Psychiatrist to re-diagnose you and see what he/she can do re meds without having to take a sh**load of meds!

    Sorry I ramble! lol

    I wish you the best, and I'm sorry that you've had to go through all this! I would lay off the alcohol (not a judgment, just for you health as it's not good to mix with meds).

    Hang in there and get a 2nd opinion!