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Thread: Scared to try drugs for bipolar treatment. Dr suggested trying antiepileptic drugs

  1. Default Scared to try drugs for bipolar treatment. Dr suggested trying antiepileptic drugs

    I was recently been dx'd as bipolar II by my psych doc, who is currently treating me for adhd. He has so far prescribed me abilify and lamictal, both of which I have tried. I looked each med up and was scared of all the side affects associated with both. The only alternative now are drugs such as gabapentin and topamax which have some track record of treating bipolar conditions. Has anyone had any success with either gabapentin or topamax?

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  3. #2
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    what were ur results from the Altman Self-Rating Mania Scale or the clinician-based Young Mania Rating Scale? If he is just pulling this out of his ass run and get a new doc!
    Helpful SamCro Rated helpful

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by msj288 View Post
    I was recently been dx'd as bipolar II by my psych doc, who is currently treating me for adhd. He has so far prescribed me abilify and lamictal, both of which I have tried. I looked each med up and was scared of all the side affects associated with both. The only alternative now are drugs such as gabapentin and topamax which have some track record of treating bipolar conditions. Has anyone had any success with either gabapentin or topamax?
    I have posted extensively about this. The process needs to start in very small dosages, one at a time, and increased over a period of 4 - 6 weeks. You need to keep a notebook and record the pros and cons. If that's not working, then the addition of Lamictal as a mood stabilizer might come into play. Small and increasing dosages of 4-6 weeks. Doesn't work? Start over. It is a long and tedious process and you must be patient with your shrink and your shrink must be patient with you.

    Took me nine months. Over a period of 10 years, she threw a new one into the mix. First two weeks exaggerated the existing symptoms but subsided as time went one. Keep in mind, you're not using an antibiotic to cure an acute infection; you are using drugs to manage a chronic mental condition and everybody is wired differently.
    Helpful Humbleweed, djrick Rated helpful

  5. #4
    Agreed with @billyboy1965

    Many psychiatric drugs have this "darkest before dawn" period where the symptoms are exacerbated as the medication alters brain chemistry and the balance its used to. But life is not without its risk. Of course it would be great if you treated your bipolar (easier said than done!) but you should do it under your doc's supervision to look for any abnormality.

    I do NOT know about bipolar meds, but some psychiatric drugs (i.e. chantix for nicotine addiction) could cause suicidal ideation. So I would also consider "harm to self or others" as a THRESHOLD for how many side effects would you embrace to treat your bipolar. If that or any other major health problems are not going to be a concern, take a plunge and discuss a plan with your doc (like it was said earlier, gradual -- slow and steady wins the race)

    Good luck!
    Helpful Humbleweed Rated helpful

  6. #5
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    Good advice @billyboy1965 .

    Think tortoise not hare.

    I like advice like that.
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  7. #6
    Bipolar 2 is not truly something that needs to be treated and isn't as distinct as Bipolar 1. Although some people suffer from Bipolar 2 it is much more rare and it leads to over-diagnosis from diagnosis-hungry psychiatrists and physicians. Abilify is the only third-generation antipsychotic it is quite good, but many users report becoming manic or hypomanic off it (paradoxical reaction) I have taken it and just felt off. Lamictal is another mood-stabilizer but it isn't an antipsychotic, it's used for epilepsy and found to do quite well to stabilize mood; but some users break out in a rash. Again you don't have to be afraid of either drug but I would stay away from antipsychotics unless you have full-blown mania.

    Again you should also be careful of psychostimulant usage which can mimic hypomania or exacerbate the condition if you truly have it. Make sure you aren't abusing your ADHD medication or taking dangerously high dosages. Substance-Induced Mood Disorders and Psychotic Disorders often go unnoticed and you can be stuck with horrible diagnoses that aren't truly accurate. The psychostimulants in ADHD generally do more good than bad, so I'd say stick with. If you feel that you aren't truly Bipolar please leave this doctor as the more you comply with treatment the more you agree with his diagnosis the more it legitimizes it.

    I have been diagnosed with ADHD and other mental health diagnoses and choose not to accept them because I know myself more than someone who has seen me for 5 minutes and prescription pad.

    Again you shouldn't fear the medications used they are generally safe but stick to general mood stabilizers (generally anti-epileptic variety) and another silverlining if this applies is that Topamax has weight loss as a side effect in many users. Any how I'm knowledgeable of mental health issues and if you have an specific questions feel free to send me a private message.

    Good Luck

    Gallimaufry
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  8. I have bipolar 1 and had good results from lithium(900 mg) and wellbutrin(300mg)(as an antidepressant).

    They will likely try different drugs on you and eventually some combination will hopefully stick. It is not an exact science.
    Helpful WhatWeDoIsSecret Rated helpful
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    I have been on the anti-psychotic Abilify for over 7 years & it has been wonderful for the severe mood swings that I had experienced my whole life. Initially, I was afraid to take it because of all the side effects listed. But my psychiatrist encouraged me to try it & after about a month, the initial jittery feeling passed. I have worked up to taking 30mgs. daily, which is a lot but it works for me with zero side effects. My life has changed so much for the better since I've been taking it & if your doctor suggests it, I would certainly give it a try. I also take 60mgs. of Paxil along with it. It's very expensive but I get the Abilify for free through their Patient Assistance Program.
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  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Gallimaufry View Post
    I have been diagnosed with ADHD and other mental health diagnoses and choose not to accept them because I know myself more than someone who has seen me for 5 minutes and prescription pad
    Alzheimer's patients are the same way. I'd agree with you if you could step out of your body and size yourself up, but you can't.
    Helpful Binky, djrick Rated helpful
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  11. #10
    You don't know me, so who are you judge me. Just because you might be in some sort of denial or had been doesn't mean I am. People around me (especially close friends and family) said it was ridiculous and even other doctors agreed with me. You don't know me or my situation so it's absolutely ridiculous to judge me especially not knowing anything about my diagnoses or medical history. I am more than capable of monitoring myself, and second opinions have proven helpful.

    And how is dementia or Alzheimer's in any way similar to my situation? Do you have an attitude problem or just a chemical imbalance?

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Gallimaufry View Post
    You don't know me, so who are you judge me.
    I know this:


    I'm in my early 20's and have been pharmaceutically enhanced since about the age of 16. I'm Egyptian, Turkish, and Greek, currently I'm attending school for nursing, and I am a Starbucks barista. I volunteer at a local hospital, and I am obsessively involved with cancer events and animal right groups. I live in the North-East US. I had a very rocky life growing up and everything was constantly out of control; I try my best to keep everything running smoothly and am always trying to do everything for everyone. This of course doesn't always work out.

    I love just about any type of music, and am a TV show junkie...Devious Maids, Once Upon A Time, Revenge & Scandal. I watch my shows instead of sleeping and it helps me relax at night.

    I am a big fan of wine (Tempranillo, Moscato, and Syrah), and especially Sangria! I am an avid user of psychostimulants.

    I enjoy poetry, art museums, puppies, kittens, penguins, the beach, independent films, coffee, psychology, neuropharmacology, the stock market, spicy food, dancing, shopping, and gardening. I also do runs for all sorts of charities when they are available.


    I am also a twin

    I genuinely believe that their is good in everyone, you just have to dig deeper in some people than others.

    So I'm glad to be a part of this community, and I hope we can become friendly (if you are at least semi-sane) !


    Of course I don't know you. You are black letters on a white screen; black letters on a white screen can not be judged. "Pharmaceutically enhanced" has a wide array of definitions which makes it even more difficult to "know you."

    And how is dementia or Alzheimer's in any way similar to my situation?

    They fall into the mental illness category; your self-admission indicates you have one.

    Do you have an attitude problem or just a chemical imbalance?

    My chemical imbalance is controlled under medical supervision.

    As far as having an attitude problem, "you don't know me." Many on this board do. I am NOT in denial. I'd advise a junior member with twelve posts to "dig deeper" and not burn his bridges before he pays the toll.
    Last edited by billyboy; 08-24-2013 at 08:06 PM.
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  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Binky View Post
    I have been on the anti-psychotic Abilify for over 7 years & it has been wonderful for the severe mood swings that I had experienced my whole life. Initially, I was afraid to take it because of all the side effects listed. But my psychiatrist encouraged me to try it & after about a month, the initial jittery feeling passed. I have worked up to taking 30mgs. daily, which is a lot but it works for me with zero side effects. My life has changed so much for the better since I've been taking it & if your doctor suggests it, I would certainly give it a try. I also take 60mgs. of Paxil along with it. It's very expensive but I get the Abilify for free through their Patient Assistance Program.

    I'm not being nosey- but do you have children Binky? and if so, how old? Did they let you take it when pregnant?
    Please tell me to bounce off if I'm prying too much, k?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bananabrains View Post
    I'm not being nosey- but do you have children Binky? and if so, how old? Did they let you take it when pregnant?
    Please tell me to bounce off if I'm prying too much, k?
    Hello @Bananabrains . My sons are 26 & 28 years old, so I wasn't pregnant while on Abilify. I'm sorry but I'm not sure whether or not it's safe to take when pregnant. I can tell you that I sure hope I never have to go off it.
    Helpful Keith K Stone, djrick Rated helpful
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  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Binky View Post
    Hello @Bananabrains . My sons are 26 & 28 years old, so I wasn't pregnant while on Abilify. I'm sorry but I'm not sure whether or not it's safe to take when pregnant. I can tell you that I sure hope I never have to go off it.
    Oh! I'm not worried about for me (that would be an ugly, but humorous rumour to start!)!!! I was more curious then anything else... Did you try a lot of different combos before getting to Abilify?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bananabrains View Post
    Oh! I'm not worried about for me (that would be an ugly, but humorous rumour to start!)!!! I was more curious then anything else... Did you try a lot of different combos before getting to Abilify?
    Yes, I tried just about every anti-depressant & combinations of them that are on the market. I'm 56 now but was 40 when I finally went to see a psychiatrist. So, I've been on them for 16yrs. I'm so glad I went, I suffered terribly with major depression, mood swings & severe anxiety ever since I can remember. I just wish I had seen a psychiatrist early on.
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  17. #16
    I'm convinced your post was to get me to see the light in some way or another; however most of my instability was directly connected to my living situation. I'm dropping this from this point on, but if you think defending myself constitutes as "burning bridges," you're mistaken. And how does the fact that I'm a junior member give you the right to rationalize being rude, insensitive, and judgmental. You compared my supposed 'lack of insight' as to having a progressive form of dementia (which rooted from Latin means 'out of one's mind'). The neurodegenerative disease is eventually fatal (it's actually 6th leading cause of death in the US) and incredibly difficult to treat, and sufferers in advanced stages even suffer from psychotic symptoms; this is a major contrast to a mood disorder and an attention disorder.

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Gallimaufry View Post
    You compared my supposed 'lack of insight' as to having a progressive form of dementia (which rooted from Latin means 'out of one's mind').
    I never mentioned dementia.

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by billyboy1965 View Post
    I never mentioned dementia.

    Yes, you you did. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia. What exactly did you think Alzheimer's was?

    "Alzheimer's disease (AD), is one form of dementia that gradually gets worse over time."

    Source: National Library of Medicine
    Last edited by Gallimaufry; 08-26-2013 at 12:52 AM.

  20. #19
    The posts are old, but I am compelled to post on the topic. First off someone mentioned topamax and gabapentin for a comorbid adhd and bipolar diagnosis. As I am not a psychiatrist, I have no idea how one would manage a disorder that involves swings from depression to mania while also managing a disorder that is usually treated by stimulants which would in turn trigger the very manias doctors seek to avoid. If antidepressants can trigger mania, imagine what stimulants could do.

    Someone had the audacity to suggest that bipolar 2 doesn't require treatment and doesn't require diagnosis. A mountain of evidence and studies would contradict that idea. For instance, a recent article in medscape analyzes the difficulties in differentiating borderline personality disorder from bipolar type II disorder. As I am bipolar type II, have suffered hypomanias and debilitating depressions that have required therapy and concurrent medication regimens to manage it, I challenge anyone to submit empirical research that discounts "bipolar II". Bipolar II is as distinct. Perhaps the writer meant to say that bipolar type II is not as severe and debilitating as bipolar I because only bipolar type I results in episodes of true mania and psychosis (as opposed to hypomanias occurring bipolar type II).

    The difficulty in differentiating the two would be difficult for a non-medical professional though, unless one suffered from either disorder oneself. The writer's confusion is understandable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by msj288 View Post
    I was recently been dx'd as bipolar II by my psych doc, who is currently treating me for adhd. He has so far prescribed me abilify and lamictal, both of which I have tried. I looked each med up and was scared of all the side affects associated with both. The only alternative now are drugs such as gabapentin and topamax which have some track record of treating bipolar conditions. Has anyone had any success with either gabapentin or topamax?
    -

    Nope, my shrink treats my bipolarity with 20mg Olanzapine (man is that ever strong), Kemadrin, 45mg Restoril (strong too) and, obviously, 1g lithium. Took a long time of trial/error before we settled on this cocktail. Works well tho.
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  22. Scared to try drugs for bipolar treatment. Dr suggested trying antiepileptic drugs
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