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Meds to augment lithium


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Guest ex pot advocate

Hi all, great site.  I've recently been to a new therapist, and she perceptively picked out that what I thought was Seasonal Affective Disorder, is actually Bipolar II.  Quick lil rundown, I've experienced free floating anxiety and social phobias since I started school (age 4), along with some OCD.  The winter after I turned 19 nearly killed me, namely I wanted to kill me.  Peaked mid-february, but was sleeping 12-16 hours/night, and daytime was filled with agorophobia, and what I now know as mixed states; a despairing anxiety; tons of guilt, sadness, weeping, and a general feeling that something was really wrong.  Slowly pulled out of it starting in April, and by August, the world was mine.  No psychotic mania, just felt a little "too good", but you don't complain about that coming out of the pits.  Since that winter, I fear nearly every winter, and have leaned on lotsa stuff to get by.

I have been on lithium now for a little over a week, now at 1200mg/day split into two doses.  Initially, it felt great; I even quit using marijuana which would have been impossible without it.  But now I'm experiencing alot of tension in my head, the kind I know would go away if I got stoned, but I don't want to.  I thought that I might be experiencing some anxiety not related to the bipolar, so I took 30mg Cymbalta to see if the serotonin/norepinephrine combo would help.  Nope.  Good thing it was almost time for another dose of lithium, because I was starting to jog in place (literally) to combat the psychomotor agitation. 

My med doc mentioned to me that he likes to use lithium in combo with wellbutrin; any thoughts?  Perhaps the dopamine reuptake is what my pot-starved brain is looking for?  I would prefer to talk to some real folks who have experience taking these meds, rather than a guy with a degree who only has experience prescribing them.

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One med commonly used to augment lithium is Seroquel. Some might take as little as 25mg prn in order to quash signs of hypomania or perhaps agitated anxiety. Others take up to 1200mg daily as their main medication, in place of lithium. In between, 100-150mg in combination with lithium can serve as a non-addictive sleep aid. (Most official hypnotics can be extremely habit-forming and must be handled still more carefully than the average medication.) Regular sleep helps to stave off hypomania, making you less likely to become overly wound up for any but situational causes. Side effects at low doses tend to be small.

More information on Seroquel can be found on the atypical antipsychotics board, and in combination with other med stories in other forums. It's becoming one of those popular drugs a lot of people take at one point or another, perhaps due to the growing overuse (mostly from off-label uses, like Seroquel for insomnia) of antipsychotics. You'll find many opinions around. Do your research.

Many lithium-takers post in the anticonvulsants forum. Any further combo questions will likely find the most giddy amateur evil scientists to proffer advice in the pharmaceutical cocktails forum.

ex advocate, welcome to CrazyBoards. ;)

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Since that winter, I fear nearly every winter, and have leaned on lotsa stuff to get by.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Usually it hits me in November, but of some reason winter came early this year. Just a few days ago, actually. I feel like shit, and my Lamictal + Zyprexa combo seems to not work as well as Lithium or Depakote. I'm fed up with meds that only take away the joys of (hypo)mania, but don't do anything for your (seasonal) depression.

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i do lithium and lamictal daily

seroqul as needed for sleep

zyprexa and resridol as needed for mania

Basically im on my L&L cocktail everyday and then when im in a "crisis" i use the other stuff.

Personally antidepressents and i DO NOT get along!!!! they jacked me on them before we figgured me out so i was rapid cycling majorly!!! not fun, then they had me on lamictal and prozac for a while before i figgured out that the great feeling wasnt supposed to be there (ok when i finally realized that thinking the bums were govt agents wasnt a good thing...yikes) so no more anti depressents and me, ive hear many have that problem

with the green....k so i was a major pot head for a while (doc actually said he would rather me be on that than drinking..self medication i guess) So yeah when it was dry or now that i havent smoked in a LONG time (ok only what 2 1/2 months) at first i feel crappy then i awake from the haze and life is good

you said youve only been on lithium for a couple of weeks? you have to give these drugs time...at least a month in my experience, you shouldnt expect rapid change in feelings or personality. And since you are withdrawing from another drug that adds a whole nother element to your brain. My advice dont switch drugs up all the time, give them time to work and if they arnt working THEN switch

btw did they do a blood draw on you? lithium, TSH..if so do you know where you were in the theraputic lithium range? (good thing to know, mine changes by the freakin seasons!)

otherwise if your in a 'crisis' you SHOULD contact your doc for something to get you through jmo

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I've heard that's a good combo too.  Unfortunately, it isn't approved as an anti-depressent in the stupid country I live in.  I tried talking my pdoc into it and she wouldn't go for it.

Give the lithium some time to really kick in.  It takes a while.  I haven't had much trouble with it and I've been on it for over 6 months now.  Of course I did attempt suicide while taking it, but that's the fault of another medication and a very bad breakup.

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a "good" antidepressent....to me it all DEPENDS!

were all different, what works for me maybe wont work for you.  for me the limictal does wonders for the depression side with out pushing me into hypomania/mania....thats why i think it is now being perscribed on a wider basis.

have you checked out the crazymeds.us page? that place helped me sort through the differnt options for therapy, what all the differnet types were etc...THEN when i went to my pdoc i could acutally discuss my options with some knowledge instead of just taking the drugs he offers. (he actually knows now that i come prepared and just asks me what im thinking drug wise if i want to change, then we discuss if its the best option for me..and yes he will tell me no if its not a good choice in his opinon) but it is my body and i know it best

sorry i cant give you more help than that...its just how i play the game

good luck

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I have heard that lithium and lexapro should not be used together,does andyone know why? and what's a good antidepressant to get on with lithium?

There's no reason why lith and lex needn't go together, in general.  A med combo's a med combo; everyone is different.  YMMV and all that jazz.

Ergo, a good AD to match with lith would be...whatever works!

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