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That is confusing! I had the same thing - my first p-doc say that I may not need to be on meds for ever - 'maybe just a few years'. However the next p-doc said I would be on meds forever. Having mixed states & rapid cycling I would be a bit concerned about going off my meds anyway. It takes so long for a treatment to kick in that the experiment of going off them to see if I'm better sounds a little bit too risky to chance to me.

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The American Psychiatric Association guidelines dictate medication or medication plus therapy continuously. From their "Let's Talk Facts About Bipolar Disorder" patient info resource [which you can get here:

Because bipolar disorder is a recurrent illness, long-term preventive

treatment is strongly recommended. Medication alone or a combination of psychotherapy and medication is optimal for managing the disorder over time. Medications known as

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I am not sure why your doctor told you meds were temporary. For most people with bipolar, they are a lifelong thing. I think we'd all like to dream of the days where we dont need the meds. But that would be the exception with those with bipolar. Since you are a rapid cycler, I can't imagine why it would be a good idea any time soon to try you without meds. I'm not saying it isn't possible someday you won't need them. But given the information you've provided, I am not sure why the doctor said that to you.

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in retrospect, i think he meant to say "you won't be on this dosage/cocktail forever" because he did talk about tapering down the dosages in time. but he did say something about my brain chemicals taking over the medications... argh! maybe he just said it without thinking? he's a good pdoc, very into my treatment and quite friendly.

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in retrospect, i think he meant to say "you won't be on this dosage/cocktail forever" because he did talk about tapering down the dosages in time. but he did say something about my brain chemicals taking over the medications... argh! maybe he just said it without thinking? he's a good pdoc, very into my treatment and quite friendly.

Can brain chemicals "take over" the job of medications? How long do medicines have to "adjust" neuro-transmitter pathways in the brain before the changes are permanent? Are permanent changes even possible or guaranteed? Will the brain revert to its old ways once the medication is stopped? Is it the same for everyone? I'm just throwing out the questions... I don't have any answers except for the last one - I don't think it is the same for everyone. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.

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