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SO MANY QUESTIONS!


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Lately, it seems like I have been getting depressed one week and than my spirits will be up the next.

Can the "highs" and "lows" of bipolar get closer and closer over time if un-treated?

Earlier this year, when I started school, I had began taking lexapro. I thought it was really working until I became depressed again a few months later.

Well, now I am on effexor and I still don't feel any different.

... What does it feel like when you are on a medication and you just KNOW its working? W

Lastly, I know meds are an individual thing. Although, I am just wondering if anyone has suggestions for the right combo of meds for bipolar II and ADD.

I am curious what has worked for others.

One more thing. Its not my proudest moment, but I recently got a DUI.

Any advice?

Any comments are appreciated ;)

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Closer cycling can happen with untreated bipolar. It's called "kindling."

There are two common patterns for bipolar people to get with antidepressants: one is to get manic/hypomanic or rapid cycle, and the other is to have the medication stop working after a few months. The latter doesn't get as much recognition as the first but it does happen.

I can't speak for others but when I'm on a medication that's working, the world feels qualitatively different from how it did before. Are you mood charting? That might help you see if there are objective changes even if they're not subjectively noticeable.

I may or may not be bipolar II (I was initially told II, but got an NOS diagnosis written on my paperwork, and later got a I, but don't know what it was for since nothing major happened between NOS and I - so for right now I'm sticking with bipolar), but I like the common combination of lithium-anticonvulsant-antipsychotic, and recently started taking Adderall. It's generally recommended to not try stimulants until people are stable moodwise, though.

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I'm having a hard time trying to keep the energy to provide long comlete answers so I'll be short.

Yes, the longer bipolar disorder goes untreated the faster the cycles come and the greater the highs/lows. Dr. Jim Phelps has diagrams: http://www.psycheducation.org

What happens when the meds take effect? You can go through a day without blowing up, or getting hopelessly depressed. You start to realize that the little things that people do and say that annoyed the hell out of you really ARE little and unimportant. You don't have that feeling of utter hoplessness of life deep in your chest. You don't constantly think about how being dead would provide relief from the daily misery. Time flows a smooth and constant manner. You can drink a cup of coffee and just enjoy the beauty of the sun rising on a calm morning.

Who is really picking your meds, and why? [This is something that sends up red flags for me. A Pdoc is the professional and should be the one selecting the meds. I see some members here who give me the impression that the situation is they are either pushy or uncooperative with the pdoc who essentially gives up and lets the patient pick their own poison and assume the responsiblity when the med doesn't work.]

The second part of this is why this cocktail of Effexor and Adderall? None of the meds you list are first line meds for bipolar. In fact Lexapro and Effexor are AD's which conventional wisdom says, should not be given alone to Bipolars. The conventional method of treating bipolars is to first treat the bipolar symptoms with a mood stabilizer like lithium, Lamictal, Depakote, then when some stability is achieved, add an AD if necessary for depression. Note that Lithium and Lamictal are FDA approved for treating both Bipolar cycling and bipolar depression. I'm not playing doctor and saying you should change, but you should have a good understanding of the rational for why you are not taking a mood stabilizer. BTW, a fair percentage of bipolars will experience worsening of their cycling when taking an AD alone.

You didn't get ill overnight, you wont' be well overnight. It's going to take some time and some experimentation under the pdoc's guidance. Do all the supporting things: Talk therapy, stop drinking, eat square meals, get a little exercise and a little sunshine every day, try to socialize with people you enjoy.

Hang in there. a.m.

p.s. Get a lawyer. He probably wont' get you off the DUI charge, but he can keep you from getting shafted.

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You start to realize that the little things that people do and say that annoyed the hell out of you really ARE little and unimportant.

They are NOT. ;)

How do I know my meds are working? Well I don't mood chart, cuz I find that any chart that would be useful would be too complex and time consuming. SO...I just compare how I am to how Iwas 6 months, a year ago. And then I watch for any gradual changes...how many times a day do I really want to die? Am I crying at work? Am I getting snide and snippy with no reason? (Recently I've been snapping at a coworker, but she sits right next to me and complains about everything and has this idea there's an "elite Group of 8" for some reason in the office and Jesus she only works half-days, well kinda, and she's "corrected" at least one of MY files and THEN she has the nerve to get snippy with me...and oh yeah she blew up at one of my coworkers the other day...she needs to just RETIRE...OK, you maybe get why I might get snappy with her)

Other than that, well, these days I compare how the lith is working versus Topamax...less well, but as for the price, it's favorable.

I concur with A.M.: you are not on what may be cosidered meds that would properly treat bp. In fact, I might say the Effexor would even exacerbate it. Perhaps, go in for a tune-up? Or a new pdoc? I dunno why you're medicated like this with a bp dx. Find out, I think.

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It's generally recommended to not try stimulants until people are stable moodwise, though.

I was waiting for the bipolar folks to speak first on this. On the depression side of things, Adderall isn't much more than a good decongestant if the mood disorder isn't at least under control. For antidepressants, the noradrenergic medications might be more effective without being destabilizing and four of those (Wellbutrin, Straterra, Norpramin, and Vivactil,) double as ADD medications. They're generally second-tier for ADD alone, but they work longer than the stimulants and that's a very big plus when you're looking at ADD in adulthood.

edit: short-acting meds probably aren't so wonderful for bipolar either. That would HAVE to suck.

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Hey!

Just noticed that you also 21 and at college, got told I was bipolar last year and also ADD? So got something in common. Also been juggling all my meds round recently, trying to get the swing of this whole thing, and keep a balance with vasity and friends has been very tricky.

I'm on seroquel, and topamax for the bipolar

Ritalin for the ADD

and rivotril for nerves!

but what basically I wanted to say is don't know what the heck is going on most of the time! Not that its been that long, but I'm guessing its a lot to do with trial and error? a working procsess.

Got the same questions as you!

Most of my friends at vasity, have no concept of whats going on with me, so extending the hand of friendship! ;)

Hope things get sorted out!

And don't stress, last month I wrote my car off, and I don't have a drivers lience! Been to scared to take the test! I'm still not sure how I got away with it! think the police felt sorry for me? they said on the police report that someone was with me! I wacked my head on the wheel so was soo dazed! Think it was my blonde hair and blue eyes!

I'm taking the test next month, its booked and I'm terrified!

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i have bp1, but my pdoc said my meds (potentially minus abilify) would be good for bp2 as well.

as you see in my sig, i take adderall, abilify, wb, and lamictal. lamictal and adderall, according to my pdoc, are the most important drugs i take.

i don't think a bp person can maintain a good mood without a mood stabilizer. it just won't happen. lithium and lamictal are approved for the treatment of both mania and depression, but lamictal is more famous for the treatment of bp2. i'd check with your pdoc to see if it is a possibility.

i hope it works out! meds DO work when you have the right ones, and they work very well. i personally love the lamictal and it helps with both sides of bp for me.

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This is an important concept to understand.

http://bipolar.about.com/cs/brainchemistry...9_kindling1.htm

Are you on any kind of mood stabilizer or is the Adderal and Effexor it?

Thanks, the site was helpful.

And, effexor and adderall are all I am taking. I was on topamax, but I was really really tired on it. I thought it was a side effect, but I am still really super tired all the time. I don't know why.

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Most of my friends at vasity, have no concept of whats going on with me, so extending the hand of friendship! ;)

Hey Kaytee-

Its nice to meet another college student! I actually dated a guy from South Africa (well, it was only a few dates!) but that was a couple years ago. I love the accent from there though!

Anyway, I know what you mean about people not being able to understand what your going through. I tried to explain it to one of my friends and she thought I was nuts!

Having BP is hard. I was in denial about for awhile. Like, I would just think the doctor must be wrong. But I am coming to accept it more now. This site helps.

So do you experience many side effects from topamax? I want to get on a mood stabilizer. I am just curious.

Talk to ya later

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This is an important concept to understand.

http://bipolar.about.com/cs/brainchemistry...9_kindling1.htm

Are you on any kind of mood stabilizer or is the Adderal and Effexor it?

Thanks, the site was helpful.

And, effexor and adderall are all I am taking. I was on topamax, but I was really really tired on it. I thought it was a side effect, but I am still really super tired all the time. I don't know why.

OK, well, both of those two have the potential to cause problems for bipolars if they are not on a mood stabilizer to start out with?

How long did you give the topamax? I think most people who have taken it will agree that it really puts you on your ass for the first six weeks or so that you take it but it often gets better after that.

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topa caused the exact opposite issue for me. i was up all night and all day, couldn't concentrate, and was ultra crabby. i had a dysphoric hypo period and i was taken off of topa after a couple of months like that. my pdoc thought it would maybe go away, but for me it didn't.

i hope that if you try topa that you have better luck. did you say you did or didn't try lamictal? for me anyway it has been a side-effect free miracle.

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hello there!

Well the topamax hasn't been that bad, although I think its made me a little slow, which can bug me quite a bit, words do tend to fail me some times, oh and it definatly kicked my appite. But whos complaining about a little weight loss!!! hmmm..... I mean we are girls right? Jokes. But only started it this year on a really low dose and about three weeks we increased quite it quite a lot, that and my seroquel, and the only horrid thing which I've been wanting to actually ask myself is that ever since my meds been increased I got such bad heartburn? Really not cool!!!! So less eating for me. Only side effects really?

You said you ADD too? you on anything for that? I was on strattera, did nothing! then conserta, didn't sleep for twoo weeks! now normal ritalin and don't know how I feel about it?

Anyways!!!!

South African Guys are hot! Well Played!

Where did you say u where from again?

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I was on topa. Expect to be again, soon.

Side effects vary greatly, though some are common. Many tend to go away or come and say "hi" when the dose changes. For instance, while titrating up, at one point I forgot my name...but, it went away. Eventually I found my "sweet spot"--few side effects and maximum efficacy. This will differ from person to person. naturally. Many pdocs may be reluctant to script this--for instance, on the Texas Bipolar Algoithm thiny-bobber, there are seven steps of treatment. Level 6 is ECT; Level 7 is topa. (I got it from my gp, partly for mood stabilization, partly for alcoholism)

Don't be afraid of it; when it works, it's awesome. If it doesn't, drop it.

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