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Anti-Depressants, Bipolar Disorder & Other Illnesses

Discussion in 'Mental Health Disorders' started by RonPrice, Dec 10, 2010.

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  1. RonPrice

    RonPrice Member

    I was diagnosed with a mild schizoaffective disorder in the autumn of 1968. After six months(6/68-11/68) in four different psychiatric wards and hospitals I was eventually released. I have also been taking the anti-depressants luvox(fluvoxamine-2001) and then effexor(venlafaxine-2007) for depression. The side-effects from these anti-depressants which I have manifested in the years 2001 to 2010 are: sleepiness, fatigue and weight gain. Less common side-effects that have been manifest in my day to day life include: gas, difficult or laboured breathing, some loss of touch with reality, neck pain, vertigo, diarrhoea, heartburn, abnormal dreams, unusual tiredness and social withdrawal symptoms.

    The luvox and effexor have helped decrease the intensity of the depressions which I had been experiencing late at night for 20 years. The sense of relief from the intensity of that late-night depression was a source of positive energy, a wonderful injection of spirit and joy into my life. The significance of the depressed phase of BPD has been markedly underestimated not only by those familiar with BPD but by the wider society. Bipolar depression accounts for most of the morbidity and mortality due to this illness.
  2. aoeu

    aoeu Well-Known Member

    Antidepressants are potentially harmful for bipolar disorder, causing increased cycling in some cases. My mom's doctor also believes (I've been unable to find any clinical research on this) that antidepressants tend to cause bad digestive tract side effects in individuals with bipolar disorder as well.

    Maybe it's time to look into new drugs. Seroquel is a unipolar antidepressant as well as a mood stabilizer; lamotrigine has similar effects, I'm not sure exactly.

    I definitely agree with you about the dangers of bipolar depressions. The manias can be kind of fun (assuming you don't ruin life... They're sketchy. But fun.)
  3. RonPrice

    RonPrice Member

    Thanks aoeu....I'll say a few more things about my recent experience of bipolar disorder to give some more context to the above.-Ron
    The affects of BPD on my day to day life seem to have been finally put into a reasonably comfortable niche so that I can go on with the next chapter of my life. The negative affects may rear their ugly heads, yet again at some future time but, for now, I can put this account to bed. I have to thank my psychiatrist for his skills and expertise and the medications and consultations that are part of modern psychopharmacology and psychiatry for this progress—in the main. The profound advances in bio-medical knowledge and research so rapidly accruing today, although not being effectively transformed into meaningful advances in health care for literally billions of people in our global society, are being brought to my attention and applied to my BPD, as they are to other billions on this earth.

    When I say that I can put this account to bed I do not mean to imply that my personal response patterns in day-to-day life do not involve imbalances, immaturities and imperfections, as I have indicated above. I am often unaware of these patterns even after these many years of living and dealing with BPD. My wife helps to keep me conscious of my behavioural failings in these areas. I am often simply unaware of both my external behaviours and the internal messages, the triggers, what might be called the inner psychic mechanisms and the automatic external responses that result from these patterns.

    I am aware that tracking, exploring and processing this inner world, what is sometimes called mindfulness, can be very beneficial to my therapeutic progress. The little knowledge I have gained, thusfar, over several decades, about these patterns and processes has given me a pathway to being proactive and it has helped me create a better life. It is also an ongoing process that may quite probably never end.

    Taking stock of my strengths and weaknesses and making deliberate efforts to bring my behaviour patterns into harmony, balance and full development is a lifelong journey. Some encounters in life demand what we are equal to, what our nerves can handle. Over the course of a life-time, though, we experience many encounters which we are far from equal-to, which are simply beyond our capacity to handle. We can call this experience life’s tests and some of these tests we lose; some relationships fail; some verbal exchanges are far, far from adequate to the situation.

    With each individual BPD is idiosyncratic; individual consumers of mental health services must work out the pattern of their BPD, if there is one: whether, for example, they have rapid cycling bipolar disorder, that is, four or more episodes in one year or whether they experience a bout of depression at one moment with extreme giddiness the next, with no lull in between. Such a switch is considered as the worse type of bipolar disorder. It is also known as biphasic cycling. I have never had either of these typicalities. Each BPD sufferer must work out what is best for them in terms of: (a) the mental health services and specialists they require and (b) what life activities and lifestyle are appropriate for them within their coping capacity in life’s day-to-day spectrum. This, too, is a complex question and I don’t want to dwell on it unduly here. It is my hope that my story may help others to work out their own particular regimen of treatment programs and their daily coping tools.

    There is no single answer to the question how does a BPD sufferer cope. Sometimes the sufferer copes successfully and moves on and other times the illness takes over and leaves behind a path of destruction. One of one’s goals is to have a Skills Toolbox to reach into and use in any situation. While the basic principles of coping are the same, everyone has to work out how to apply them and that makes the principles somewhat ‘iffy.’ There is a need to avoid stress and find balance. How the person practices actual skills and conquers situations may differ completely. The process for me is still a work in progress, as they say.

    The question of how to cope deals with so many variables that the question of how anyone is expected to master a technique is partly answered by having support, not going it on one’s own, understanding one’s needs and making sure they are being met. I have written this account in the hope that (a) I can meet the challenge of filling my Coping Tool Box with skills, ideas, and plans of action and (b) my experience can play a role in helping others. That is why I am prepared to share the story of what works for me here in this lengthy document. In the process readers may learn new possibilities and leave feeling understood and supported. One can but hope.

    I have not developed, nor has it been my intention to do so, a comprehensive treatment plan for others to manage their BPD successfully. This hardly goes without saying. During my lifetime I have needed something that worked for me personally. I did not draw on a cookie-cutter idea used for all people with the illness, although my focus on medications has certainly helped me to simplify this complex experience. Some sufferers with BPD develop their own management system to deal with their disorder, to cut the number of their symptoms and to live a more stable life; other sufferers put their hands into the arms of professionals to work out their BPD treatment program.

    Research by readers on the internet will reveal a number of systems that BPD sufferers use. Readers here will find no such system only the slow working out of regimes and changed packages of treatment over many decades by one person—namely me. One can not remove a fly from a friend’s forehead, as an old English proverb says, with a hatchet, an axe or a hammer or, I might add necessarily, with 70,000 words(as this entire account takes) on an internet site. Sometimes all one can do is let time take its course in one’s own dear life and the lives of others.

    The view that a person’s vulnerability to developing a major affective disorder is genetically transmitted and neurochemically expressed has been strengthened in the years since I have gone off lithium at the turn of the millennium in 2001. The development in this orientation to BPD has unfortunately been accompanied by a philosophy that drugs and various physical/body/somatic therapies offer the best and sometimes the only choice for treatment. This view of what comprises adequate treatment is sometimes short-sighted and, indeed, it may be in my case. I have adopted a strict adherence to a purely psychotherapeutic or purely pharmacological treatment strategy. If the human genome project comes up with a treatment regime that is an improvement on my present medication package I will change my present treatment but not for any other reason.
    --------ENOUGH FOR NOW-------------Ron Price, Australia----
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