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Lithium to treat depression only?


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Hi,

I was given Lithium to treat a depression, because the p-doc feared I might overshoot to mania with an anti-depressant. So far I'm doing ok, I've been on it for a few months and the depression is gone. I'm just not so sure if the meds have had anything to do with it. I've read it's mostly prescribed for mania. Is it really effective for depression alone as well?

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OK, that's a clear answer. :) I've been in a great mood lately, and I was actually worried of going hypomanic again. But my coach thinks I'm actually now getting out of a mild, lingering depression that I got used to as my 'normal' mood. That would mean that the drugs probably are working...

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Well, yesterday I got depressed again, after a period where my mood was absolutely fantastic. I was almost ready to throw the Lithium in the trash can, but later I decided to talk with the pdoc first. Am I expecting too much from it? Is it likely that the depressions will come back? I'm a new to getting treatment for my (apparent) bipolar disorder, so I really don't know what to expect. I've been taking Lithium for about 2 months now.

Edit: I must say that this depression seems to be lasting very short. Yesterday I felt like I wanted to die, today I feel kinda ok (but not very ok). Perhaps that's the effect of Lithium?

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Edit: I must say that this depression seems to be lasting very short. Yesterday I felt like I wanted to die, today I feel kinda ok (but not very ok). Perhaps that's the effect of Lithium?

I think the fact that your depressed mood didn't last and didn't spiral back down into the pit is very likely the good result of taking lithium. It definitely can be used just for depression, although it's more famous for it's anti-mania properties. The pdoc and I have planned it as the next med to try in the (sadly likely) event that I start into another depressive episode.

Since you've only been treated for a couple of months, there are two important things to keep in mind about getting well and staying well. One, you're still going to have up and down days, just like everyone. The goal of meds is to keep those ups and downs from going to extremes. Two, you need to start paying a lot of attention to other things that will help tremendously with keeping your mood stable, like exercise, getting a good night's sleep every night, a reasonably healthy diet, getting some fresh air and sunshine everyday, etc. Those little habits will all help you to stay stable and well.

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Thanks for the advice. I have to admit though, I get these crazy anxiety attacks that trigger a depression instantly. The intrusive thoughts I get are so embarrasing, that I'm having a hard time telling my pdoc about them. I won't even post them here anonymously. I really have to be honest about them next time I see the pdoc.

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hey dude,

i have MDD and i take lithium 1200mg and cipralex (antidepressant) 20mg. my pdoc said that the lithium would act like a ratchet on a jack - it wouldn't, by itself, elevate my mood (hence the AD) but it would help to hold my mood at a given level and keep it from slipping down.

in practice i would have to say that it has certainly levelled out my moods. i no longer have massive plunges but still experience my general mood cycle - my depression seems to be a genetic thing so the cycling is my normal course of things.

i do find that my emotional range is somewhat limited. i don't experience anxiety like i used to (probably due to the cipralex though) which is a good thing, but i get intensely bored ALL the time and have to live vicariously through movies.

not sure if that helps at all, but there you go.

cheers,

grouse.

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It's good to hear it helps against your anxiety. I think I will need some additional therapy for that (hopefully no meds). I do believe now that I'm feeling the effects of Lithium. After the depression hit me last thursday, I felt I was slowly stabilizing. Before, I would either be depressed for weeks or get in a crazy elevated/irritable mood (as if I'm compensating for my depression). I feel a lot more stable now, which is a good thing.

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