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Medication Dependency: What if I stop taking a med?


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Greetings fellow bipolar pps and people entertaining themselves via bipolar people. I have a question for anyone experienced with the disorder or psychiatry as it's currently going to be about two months before I see my psychiatrist next.

I've done some researching online in this area and couldn't find anything, so here goes:

I've taken lamotrigine daily for around two years now in addition to risperidal and recently for my own personal reasons have decided to experiment a bit with my meds. I am now continuing to take risperidal but haven't taken my lamotrigine in over a week. Its half-life I've read is approximately 12 hours and so by now it should be pretty much out of my system, and thus far I haven't felt any adverse effects beside being subtly re-energized. So I am wondering if taking a drug for two years will have any long term effects on the chemistry of the brain, if I am more likely to see a severe rebound by coming off of the meds with more pronounced effects than if I had never taken them.

Before people jump down my throat about talking to my doctor first I've been stable for a few years, have a pretty good working medical knowledge, and am more aware of my symptoms than most doctors I've had, but with that said I'd like to get any advice possible. My biggest worry is mania, not depression, and lamotrigine is mainly an anti-depressant so my intuition tells me this won't be an issue.

Anyway, thanks in advance!

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Experimenting with your meds for any reason, without cluing in your doctor, is just incredibly stupid. If you are so confident in your intuition, why not let your doctor know what you're up to? At least that way, he'll be expecting your call, when things go south.

I can't help pointing out that grandiosity, for instance, believing your medical knowledge an adequate substitute for a doctor's, is a symptom of mania. And people do most often seem to get the bright idea to go experimenting with their meds whilst manic, or headed that way.

The greatest danger of stopping lamictal is that of having a seizure, if you don't taper off slowly enough. And then, of course, symptoms returning.

Otherwise, your question doesn't make a ton of sense, unless you are really asking if taking a med consistently is going to create chemical changes in your brain, which will persist after you stop it?

Being neither a doctor, nor currently manic, I assume there may well be plenty I've missed, but no, as far as I know, no chemical changes will persist, when you're no longer taking a med. I've never personally encountered, heard, or read of any such thing.

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Seems to me that most doctors hire other doctors to provide their personal medical care. If they don't like the way a doctor is managing their care, they fire that one and hire another. Seems to me that you haven't attained this level of enlightenment. Your choice to d/c a med is roughly the type a 14 y/o would make so either you are a complete idiot or you are hypo/manic.

You cannot restart Lamictal at the level you just ended. You have to go back to square one at 25mg, then two weeks later at 50mg, etc. The rash deal is the same as when you first started. Just in case you want to suddenly reverse your move.

If you want off meds, you tell your psychiatrist and work with your doctor to d/c meds. Yes, they will help you stop meds safely.

Call your doctor. Be an adult. It is much better to do this now than to wait until you are nutz and have to fess up then. That delay might get you fired.

I don't think science has an answer to your question save that the effects of meds stop when you stop the med.

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Experimenting with your meds for any reason, without cluing in your doctor, is just incredibly stupid. If you are so confident in your intuition, why not let your doctor know what you're up to? At least that way, he'll be expecting your call, when things go south.

I can't help pointing out that grandiosity, for instance, believing your medical knowledge an adequate substitute for a doctor's, is a symptom of mania. And people do most often seem to get the bright idea to go experimenting with their meds whilst manic, or headed that way.

The greatest danger of stopping lamictal is that of having a seizure, if you don't taper off slowly enough. And then, of course, symptoms returning.

Otherwise, your question doesn't make a ton of sense, unless you are really asking if taking a med consistently is going to create chemical changes in your brain, which will persist after you stop it?

Being neither a doctor, nor currently manic, I assume there may well be plenty I've missed, but no, as far as I know, no chemical changes will persist, when you're no longer taking a med. I've never personally encountered, heard, or read of any such thing.

I mean, I understand that it makes more sense to reinforce the "norm" re: meds than to accept that maybe I know what I'm talking about, but just trust me, I know what I'm talking about, and just while we are on the topic doctors aren't always experts. I've had doctors make absolutely absurd medical decisions re: my bipolar that I have ignored and consequently still remained stable.

As for my question, take smoking as an example, you smoke and then experience a withdrawal period after quitting where you are more prone to depression while your neurological system stabilizes itself. Does anyone know if the same type of thing will apply to lamotrigine?

If I start experiencing abnormal depression or mania I will identify it immediately, but I thought I'd get those in the know to weigh in to supplement my knowledge.

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Seems to me that most doctors hire other doctors to provide their personal medical care. If they don't like the way a doctor is managing their care, they fire that one and hire another. Seems to me that you haven't attained this level of enlightenment. Your choice to d/c a med is roughly the type a 14 y/o would make so either you are a complete idiot or you are hypo/manic.

You cannot restart Lamictal at the level you just ended. You have to go back to square one at 25mg, then two weeks later at 50mg, etc. The rash deal is the same as when you first started. Just in case you want to suddenly reverse your move.

If you want off meds, you tell your psychiatrist and work with your doctor to d/c meds. Yes, they will help you stop meds safely.

Call your doctor. Be an adult. It is much better to do this now than to wait until you are nutz and have to fess up then. That delay might get you fired.

I don't think science has an answer to your question save that the effects of meds stop when you stop the med.

It is basically coming down to economics. Right now my drug plan isn't covering lamotrigine, and based on my knowledge of the drug I've determined that it's possible that I don't need it, so I am finding out. If I talk to a doctor he/she will have no better answer beside either blindly stay on the drug just because, or basically do exactly what I'm doing now.

And by the way, I did wean myself off of the drug first, it wasn't cold turkey.

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Seems to me that most doctors hire other doctors to provide their personal medical care. If they don't like the way a doctor is managing their care, they fire that one and hire another. Seems to me that you haven't attained this level of enlightenment. Your choice to d/c a med is roughly the type a 14 y/o would make so either you are a complete idiot or you are hypo/manic.

You cannot restart Lamictal at the level you just ended. You have to go back to square one at 25mg, then two weeks later at 50mg, etc. The rash deal is the same as when you first started. Just in case you want to suddenly reverse your move.

If you want off meds, you tell your psychiatrist and work with your doctor to d/c meds. Yes, they will help you stop meds safely.

Call your doctor. Be an adult. It is much better to do this now than to wait until you are nutz and have to fess up then. That delay might get you fired.

I don't think science has an answer to your question save that the effects of meds stop when you stop the med.

It is basically coming down to economics. Right now my drug plan isn't covering lamotrigine, and based on my knowledge of the drug I've determined that it's possible that I don't need it, so I am finding out. If I talk to a doctor he/she will have no better answer beside either blindly stay on the drug just because, or basically do exactly what I'm doing now.

And by the way, I did wean myself off of the drug first, it wasn't cold turkey.

Nah, stopping on your own was not financially driven. Not buyin'. Financial necessity would mean you talk to your pdoc about what to do. You didn't choose to do that. Instead, you made a unilateral, unsafe decision to take your treatment into your own hands.

If you just want off the med, then tell your doc that. Lol, the guy works for you.

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Yes, but as I stated in my first post I won't be able to see a doctor until March. If I could go in and talk to a doctor tomorrow I'd do it. I've just decided to make the decision without my doctor.

"Doctor, my insurance changed and I can no longer buy my meds."

"Tough shit. I won't see you for two months. Go without meds and go the hell away."

Um, not seeing this scenario in real life.

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And based on my own personal experience of actually being myself and having taken the drugs I've taken for years I am better equipped to make this decision than a doctor. Irrational would be continuing to take the medication for sixty more years because my doctor told me to.

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Yes, but as I stated in my first post I won't be able to see a doctor until March. If I could go in and talk to a doctor tomorrow I'd do it. I've just decided to make the decision without my doctor.

"Doctor, my insurance changed and I can no longer buy my meds."

"Tough shit. I won't see you for two months. Go without meds and go the hell away."

Um, not seeing this scenario in real life.

Risperidal and seroquil are covered and I have a two months supply of lamotrigine. It's not an emergency. I called my doctor and he's booked until March, I could maybe force my way in but it's not necessary.

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And based on my own personal experience of actually being myself and having taken the drugs I've taken for years I am better equipped to make this decision than a doctor. Irrational would be continuing to take the medication for sixty more years because my doctor told me to.

Grandiose, much?

Black and white thinking?

Really, you would take a med for sixty years because your doctor told you to do so? I personally would want to understand the basis for that recommendation. I would want options. I would assess. Then I would make a decision. That decision would then be a joint effort to implement.

You exercised but one of very many options. It was not a smart option to exercise.

ETA: edited to put in the response I was replying to.

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Experimenting with your meds for any reason, without cluing in your doctor, is just incredibly stupid. If you are so confident in your intuition, why not let your doctor know what you're up to? At least that way, he'll be expecting your call, when things go south.

I can't help pointing out that grandiosity, for instance, believing your medical knowledge an adequate substitute for a doctor's, is a symptom of mania. And people do most often seem to get the bright idea to go experimenting with their meds whilst manic, or headed that way.

The greatest danger of stopping lamictal is that of having a seizure, if you don't taper off slowly enough. And then, of course, symptoms returning.

Otherwise, your question doesn't make a ton of sense, unless you are really asking if taking a med consistently is going to create chemical changes in your brain, which will persist after you stop it?

Being neither a doctor, nor currently manic, I assume there may well be plenty I've missed, but no, as far as I know, no chemical changes will persist, when you're no longer taking a med. I've never personally encountered, heard, or read of any such thing.

I mean, I understand that it makes more sense to reinforce the "norm" re: meds than to accept that maybe I know what I'm talking about, but just trust me, I know what I'm talking about, and just while we are on the topic doctors aren't always experts. I've had doctors make absolutely absurd medical decisions re: my bipolar that I have ignored and consequently still remained stable.

As for my question, take smoking as an example, you smoke and then experience a withdrawal period after quitting where you are more prone to depression while your neurological system stabilizes itself. Does anyone know if the same type of thing will apply to lamotrigine?

If I start experiencing abnormal depression or mania I will identify it immediately, but I thought I'd get those in the know to weigh in to supplement my knowledge.

I don't have any stake in reinforcing any sort of norms. What I'm saying comes from my own experiences, and from what I've seen others here go through. I have no idea what kind of doctors you've had, what kind of medical advice you've ignored, or how realisticmyour assessment of your own stability is.

Had you spoken to a doctor, he or she might have advised you to continue taking lamictal, which might or might not have been, "blind," or, as you've suggested, he or she might have recommended you taper it, as you did. Or, he or she might have wanted to replace it with another med your insurance would have covered, or to see if he or she couldn't get your insurance to authorize it, as is sometimes possible. Maybe he or she would have had some samples, to hold you over for a bit, or could have helped you sort out a patent assistance program. Maybe he or she would have written some extra risperdal for you, so you'd at least have had that option, should discontinuing lamictal not go so well.

I mean, if you should identify abnormal depression or mania, what exactly are you planning to do about it?

I am not at all sure, btw, that your analogy about stopping smoking is correct, but that's tangential.

Again, as far as I know, from my experience, from that of others here, and assorted reading, you will not have any kind of special crazy from stopping lamictal.

As far as your insistence that you know what you're talking about, people doing things like what you're doing pretty much never know what they're talking about. I certainly hope for your sake that you're the exception.

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My decision was fine. I understand that when advising people via an internet message board you need to take the cautious approach, but it's not necessary, I am very unlikely to come anywhere close to psychosis again, and am very unlikely to experience adverse effects via ceasing an anti-depressant when my tendency is mania.

With that said I'd like to direct the convo back to the topic at hand.

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Yes, but as I stated in my first post I won't be able to see a doctor until March. If I could go in and talk to a doctor tomorrow I'd do it. I've just decided to make the decision without my doctor.

"Doctor, my insurance changed and I can no longer buy my meds."

"Tough shit. I won't see you for two months. Go without meds and go the hell away."

Um, not seeing this scenario in real life.

Risperidal and seroquil are covered and I have a two months supply of lamotrigine. It's not an emergency. I called my doctor and he's booked until March, I could maybe force my way in but it's not necessary.

You could, actually, tell him the situation, and let him make that call.

Although, if you have enough lamictal to last until your next scheduled appointment, which it would seem you do, I'm not at all clear as to the need to stop it now. Clearly not so much what you're telling us, though.

ETA: moving this to the med board, as it's a question about a med, rather than a question about bipolar disorder.

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Experimenting with your meds for any reason, without cluing in your doctor, is just incredibly stupid. If you are so confident in your intuition, why not let your doctor know what you're up to? At least that way, he'll be expecting your call, when things go south.

I can't help pointing out that grandiosity, for instance, believing your medical knowledge an adequate substitute for a doctor's, is a symptom of mania. And people do most often seem to get the bright idea to go experimenting with their meds whilst manic, or headed that way.

The greatest danger of stopping lamictal is that of having a seizure, if you don't taper off slowly enough. And then, of course, symptoms returning.

Otherwise, your question doesn't make a ton of sense, unless you are really asking if taking a med consistently is going to create chemical changes in your brain, which will persist after you stop it?

Being neither a doctor, nor currently manic, I assume there may well be plenty I've missed, but no, as far as I know, no chemical changes will persist, when you're no longer taking a med. I've never personally encountered, heard, or read of any such thing.

I mean, I understand that it makes more sense to reinforce the "norm" re: meds than to accept that maybe I know what I'm talking about, but just trust me, I know what I'm talking about, and just while we are on the topic doctors aren't always experts. I've had doctors make absolutely absurd medical decisions re: my bipolar that I have ignored and consequently still remained stable.

As for my question, take smoking as an example, you smoke and then experience a withdrawal period after quitting where you are more prone to depression while your neurological system stabilizes itself. Does anyone know if the same type of thing will apply to lamotrigine?

If I start experiencing abnormal depression or mania I will identify it immediately, but I thought I'd get those in the know to weigh in to supplement my knowledge.

I don't have any stake in reinforcing any sort of norms. What I'm saying comes from my own experiences, and from what I've seen others here go through. I have no idea what kind of doctors you've had, what kind of medical advice you've ignored, or how realisticmyour assessment of your own stability is.

Had you spoken to a doctor, he or she might have advised you to continue taking lamictal, which might or might not have been, "blind," or, as you've suggested, he or she might have recommended you taper it, as you did. Or, he or she might have wanted to replace it with another med your insurance would have covered, or to see if he or she couldn't get your insurance to authorize it, as is sometimes possible. Maybe he or she would have had some samples, to hold you over for a bit, or could have helped you sort out a patent assistance program. Maybe he or she would have written some extra risperdal for you, so you'd at least have had that option, should discontinuing lamictal not go so well.

I mean, if you should identify abnormal depression or mania, what exactly are you planning to do about it?

I am not at all sure, btw, that your analogy about stopping smoking is correct, but that's tangential.

Again, as far as I know, from my experience, from that of others here, and assorted reading, you will not have any kind of special crazy from stopping lamictal.

As far as your insistence that you know what you're talking about, people doing things like what you're doing pretty much never know what they're talking about. I certainly hope for your sake that you're the exception.

Off topic, but is that the list of meds you currently take in your sig?

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Yes, but as I stated in my first post I won't be able to see a doctor until March. If I could go in and talk to a doctor tomorrow I'd do it. I've just decided to make the decision without my doctor.

"Doctor, my insurance changed and I can no longer buy my meds."

"Tough shit. I won't see you for two months. Go without meds and go the hell away."

Um, not seeing this scenario in real life.

Risperidal and seroquil are covered and I have a two months supply of lamotrigine. It's not an emergency. I called my doctor and he's booked until March, I could maybe force my way in but it's not necessary.

You cannot restart your Lamictal at any higher than 25mg. It is too late. You got that, right?

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Experimenting with your meds for any reason, without cluing in your doctor, is just incredibly stupid. If you are so confident in your intuition, why not let your doctor know what you're up to? At least that way, he'll be expecting your call, when things go south.

I can't help pointing out that grandiosity, for instance, believing your medical knowledge an adequate substitute for a doctor's, is a symptom of mania. And people do most often seem to get the bright idea to go experimenting with their meds whilst manic, or headed that way.

The greatest danger of stopping lamictal is that of having a seizure, if you don't taper off slowly enough. And then, of course, symptoms returning.

Otherwise, your question doesn't make a ton of sense, unless you are really asking if taking a med consistently is going to create chemical changes in your brain, which will persist after you stop it?

Being neither a doctor, nor currently manic, I assume there may well be plenty I've missed, but no, as far as I know, no chemical changes will persist, when you're no longer taking a med. I've never personally encountered, heard, or read of any such thing.

I mean, I understand that it makes more sense to reinforce the "norm" re: meds than to accept that maybe I know what I'm talking about, but just trust me, I know what I'm talking about, and just while we are on the topic doctors aren't always experts. I've had doctors make absolutely absurd medical decisions re: my bipolar that I have ignored and consequently still remained stable.

As for my question, take smoking as an example, you smoke and then experience a withdrawal period after quitting where you are more prone to depression while your neurological system stabilizes itself. Does anyone know if the same type of thing will apply to lamotrigine?

If I start experiencing abnormal depression or mania I will identify it immediately, but I thought I'd get those in the know to weigh in to supplement my knowledge.

I don't have any stake in reinforcing any sort of norms. What I'm saying comes from my own experiences, and from what I've seen others here go through. I have no idea what kind of doctors you've had, what kind of medical advice you've ignored, or how realistic your assessment of your own stability is.

Had you spoken to a doctor, he or she might have advised you to continue taking lamictal, which might or might not have been, "blind," or, as you've suggested, he or she might have recommended you taper it, as you did. Or, he or she might have wanted to replace it with another med your insurance would have covered, or to see if he or she couldn't get your insurance to authorize it, as is sometimes possible. Maybe he or she would have had some samples, to hold you over for a bit, or could have helped you sort out a patent assistance program. Maybe he or she would have written some extra risperdal for you, so you'd at least have had that option, should discontinuing lamictal not go so well.

I mean, if you should identify abnormal depression or mania, what exactly are you planning to do about it?

I am not at all sure, btw, that your analogy about stopping smoking is correct, but that's tangential.

Again, as far as I know, from my experience, from that of others here, and assorted reading, you will not have any kind of special crazy from stopping lamictal.

As far as your insistence that you know what you're talking about, people doing things like what you're doing pretty much never know what they're talking about. I certainly hope for your sake that you're the exception.

Off topic, but is that the list of meds you currently take in your sig?

It is. Why do you ask?

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