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Risperidone is Hell, my friends.

For much of my adult life, I've had problems with fatigue, micro-naps, low energy etc... I'd say at least since my mid-20s. I'm 32 now. Beyond that, I've never had any serious mental health problems (a bit of paranoia and intrusive thoughts because of low self-esteem, but nothing too crazy) and the only meds I had ever taken up to that point were a few  lorazepams in my early-20s because I had gone through a brief spell of panic attacks that cleared up after a few weeks.

So anyways, the problem got so severe that I was micronapping at work, falling asleep on the couch at family functions, and lost a girlfriend because I was unfocused and dozing off during our dates and she was convinced I didn't like her and broke up with me.  I also  had little trouble falling asleep at night, but I could never stay asleep and I could never feel rested. Everyone around me was telling me that I need medical attention to address the sleep problem.

So I get a physical in February of 2015 and the GP gives me a referral to a sleep clinic. They're able to see me this past May and we discover that I have extremely severe sleep apnea, to the extend that their tests showed that I stopped breathing ~100 times an hour during my sleep (30 is the threshold for severe, so I was pretty sick). So I go to a clinic, I get a CPAP machine, and the quality of my sleep improves dramatically, and within a couple of weeks I start feeling incredible. I'm able to express myself in French (my second language) like never people, I'm solving and coordinating complex problems at work, I feel like I'm able to get up and speak for 12 hours Fidel Castro style, and I'm motivated to write all sorts of political rhetoric and to take on all of these personal and political projects.

Then, the breakdown happens. I get so wrapped up and excited about the projects that I was trying to get off the ground and about where life was going to take me that I never wanted to go to bed. (Since I was so used to being exhausted, even a couple of hours of quality sleep were making me feel like a million bucks), I start going through stretches of anxiety and paranoia for a few days that couples in my thinking that I discovered the singularity and feeling a strong need to run away. At work, I'm still performing better than ever, but a couple of cracks were beginning to appear in my armour,

So I decide one day to take a one-hour cab ride to my hometown, everyone comes to the conclusion that I'm manic, and I end up going to the hospital with my dad, speak with a social worker and some hospital staff, and agree to stay in the psych ward for 72 hours. I'm given 25 mg of Seroquel and 2 mg of risperidone a day, along with the occasional ativan. The Seroquel made me really tired; I had no idea what risperidone was or what it was doing.
I have extremely intense hallucinations and hear voices in my room the first couple of nights. I also go through alternating periods of anxiety and tranquility and I hear voices say weird shit that makes me scared of diseases and of work.

I end up staying in the hospital a few weeks and am asked to continue with the meds when I go back home, which was late June.

I was also taken off seroquel and given lithium because the Seroquel made me too sleepy.

I'm not having any manic or psychotic symptoms anymore, mercifully, but since coming home from the hospital, the clarity and the focus that I had immediately after starting my CPAP therapy are replaced by a fog that has decimated my writing and my ability to communicate over the phone and hold conversations, I constantly feel bored and unmotivated by stuff that I found fun before my breakdown, I have anxiety attacks, particularly with respect to work (even though I've always loved my job and the company that I work for), and the coup the grace -- nobody ever warned me that risperidone would devastate my libido (I couldn't get an erection or ejaculate for weeks after I left the hospital), make me so bored, or make it nearly impossible for me to lose weight. Having these things sneak up on me without any warning from the hospital or my pdoc made me really anxious and scared. And now since I refuse to take it, I have to deal with the withdrawl symptoms. The lithium seems to be helping with my mood though.
Anyways, I think I just had a psychotic episode brought forth by the changes in my biochemistry caused by treating the sleep apnea, but now I'm stuck figuring out this mess of meds, trying to get stronger, and trying to keep the anxiety at bay.

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Your experiences sound pretty terrible.

Risperadal made me lacatate, so my experiences with it were brief.

Are risperdal, seroquel, and lithium the only medications you've tried? If so, then the good news is there are heaps of others you haven't and so lots of possibilities still.

Also, Seroquel makes everyone tired I think, but mostly that wears off over time. 25mg is a very low does, and strangely, I've read the lower doses can cause more sedation than higher ones. I'm on 600, which is pretty high, and no sedation past the morning.

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Sorry to hear that, I'm wondering why the activating antipsychotics weren't tried, I guess they thought why'd swing your levels of sleep the other way, rarely going to sleep.

I've had an amazing time with risperidone, it mostly keeps voices at bay and removes distortions in my vision, my doctor's certain that I have Asperger's syndrome too (which might count for the "psychic involution" above)  so it makes me more social-able and less wanting to isolate myself. On the flip side is though because I don't have a good network of friends anymore, I now tend to get a bit depressed because I don't really have anyone to talk to aside from my parents. It been on the majority a good experience though, it really is subjective to the person unfortunately.

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  • 2 weeks later...

i had a lot of really bad side effects from risperdal consta and the pills when i was on it too.  it messed me up more than any other antipsychotic med, and i've been on a lot of them and all of them caused me so much troubles that i didnt stay on them. 

i think a lot of psychiatrists are attracted to risperdal because it's heavily marketed and because it's so potent that it works fast.  so they can get people out of the hospital faster than with some other drugs.  but docs like that arent tuned into the side effects which is why most people go off of the medications.   the docs arent looking at the complete picture of the patient's life.  it's for this reason that i have a lot of resentment towards a lot of psychiatrists even though the medication keeps me from having delusions.  my quality of life is actually better during my psychosis and worse during my medicated times due to the side effects. 

but i'm at a point in my life where i cant keep going off my meds so i'm just stuck feeling miserable most of the time.  the best i can do is fight for the lowest effective dosage of my current medication.  but i'm already at that point and i still feel miserable and sleep most of the time.  so my life sucks. 

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