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Are most BP's on meds?


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OK...I'm new to this BP game...I am trying to read as much as possible to help my husband.  When I read these postings of you guys talking about cycling and being manic and/or depressed...is it while you are currently medicated?  I really don't mean to sound so stupid, it's just that when my husband is medicated he's never had bipolar symptoms.  Only when he slyly stopped taking them because he hates the side effects and I figured it out...or when he totally quit them altogether.  The only medicated episodes he's ever had was when he was only on AD's...they triggered hypomania.  That's what lead to his BP dx. 

Thanks for any info, and also we are in the Atlanta, GA are and want to join a support group.  I've read about the one posted at this site, if anyone knows of anymore in my area please fill me in on them...

~Peace~

Kim

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Are most BPs on meds?  Globally, probably not, but a good number of them haven't even been diagnosed yet.  Out of the diagnosed bipolar population, pretty much all of us need meds if we're to maintain a stable life, but not all of us *want* meds.  Hypomania has its perks.  It's terrible to think of giving up all the good stuff, especially if you aren't in a frame of mind to remember all of the bad. 

I've been terribly lucky with meds so far.  I've been diagnosed for four months, and I already think my meds might be working.  There are some weird side effects, and I won't REALLY believe I'm stable until I've seen it day in day out for six months or longer, but I really seem to be stabilizing.  Yay for me!  For many others, it takes months (if not years) to find the correct medications for them. 

There are some individuals on this forum who are unmedicated, but it seems most posters are still trying to find the right combination to quell their symptoms.  Also, we will generally still have symptoms (ie mood swings, anxiety, etc) until we've reached the correct dosage of the correct medications.  There's gonna be a lot of cycling going on. 

Cycling while medicated?  Yep.  Cycling while medicated correctly?  Not so much.  Maybe not at all. 

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I really don't mean to sound so stupid, it's just that when my husband is medicated he's never had bipolar symptoms.

That's great for your husband. I have breakthrough symptoms even on medication; not as bad as without, but still there. I never go off meds.

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I guess I've hit the best drug for me (Topamax) about a year ago and have cycled "spectacularly" once while on it that required an intervention drug (Zyprexa) but now I've stabilized so the Zyprexa is going bye-bye.  I also take another drug (anticonvulsant) called Frisium for seizures.  I'm still a bit of a work in progress but I'm mostly stable.

Prior to the right med, however? Yikes!

Karen

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On a scale of  1(depressed) to 10(manic), with 5 being "normal".

Me without meds: swinging from 1 to 8, with lots of mixed states.

Me with meds: mostly 5, very occasionally 3, 4, or 6.

I agree with Kassiane on this one- Bipolar II is a slippery thing.

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A lot of folks are here because they're either going through medication changes or are pretty newly diagnosed and not stabilized yet.  So most of us are swinging because our meds aren't working yet (or they're not the right meds).

Personally I was just jim-dandy on Depakote and Wellbutrin for years, but developed insulin problems (a fairly rare side-effect) so am switching meds.  No cycling to speak of, other than a little SAD in the winter, and a little hypo if I stopped sleeping enough.  Now things are getting better; on my 3rd week of lamictal titration and my head's starting to clear.

A great book on bipolar is Frances Mondemore's "Bipolar Disorder."  It was the first thing I read after diagnosis, and taught me tons about the varieties of the disease as well as medication strategies.  It's a little dated now but has really helpful stuff for family members.

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Yeah, I'm pretty med compliant.  The only time I don't take them is when I forget, and the only time I forget is if I'm cycling.  I'm new to this cocktail, so I've had a couple of breakthrough episodes, especially during times of stress.

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I think- and I am only one crazy person and no pdoc- that most of us (and I am BP1, cannot speak for other BP spectrum folks) do have break through episodes. At least for me, and for my BP friends, the meds increase the amount of time between when we need stronger intervention, whether that is more frequent pdoc visits wtih fast on your feet med changes, or hospitalization.

And yes, to agree with other posters, many of us are finding the right med or meds for us and swing all over the place because this magical formula has not been identified. Heck, I just got out of the nut house 2 weeks ago!

Let him know this- he MUST comply with his med order. All of us here can tell you about side effects- one of my more interesting ones was feeling my eyeballs on fire in my head- if the side effects are THAT bad, he may want his meds adjusted. Otherwise, my advice is to try to get used to it and find ways to make it more tolerable.

The reason??!! Because BP gets worse as you age. BP cycles are terrible- when you go up, you fall down harder the next time (or so it feels). BP2 has the same DEATH RATE from suicide as BP1- it is NO JOKE. So force those meds down his throat if you have to, tell him to stop whining, and be well. Peace!

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