20891998 tn?1576631007

Has anyone tried Lithium?

Hi I am bipolar II. I was on Lamictal, but just did not seem to work anymore. So my Dr. wants me to try Lithium,and I am scared to try it. Any advice? Oh, I am on Wellbutrin SR as an antidepressant. Thanks
4 Responses
Avatar universal
Everyone has their own reaction to meds, so someone else's experience might not match yours.  You also have a diagnosis that isn't classic bipolar.  Bipolar 2 is a form of depression that manifests in certain ways, but it isn't a psychosis as true bipolar is so taking antipsychotics isn't necessarily going to help any better than an antidepressant.  It might, it might not.  It's more likely to have certain side effects, but not necessarily for you.  I might add, if you tolerate wellbutrin, a highly stimulating antidepressant, and it doesn't drive you into something like manic behavior, you might want to ask your psychiatrist if you do need an antipsychotic for a non-psychotic diagnosis.  But only trying it will tell you how you will react to it, unfortunately.  
Thank you for your reply. However, I disagree with the statement that my diagnosis is not "classic" bipolar. The main difference between bipolar 1 and bipolar 2 disorders lies in the severity of the manic episodes caused by each. Bipolar 1 disorder causes mania, and may cause depression, while bipolar 2 disorder causes hypomania and depression.
Furthermore,people with bipolar I can experience a broader range of symptoms than those with bipolar II, but both can go through psychosis. Therefore, Lithium carbonate is the most commonly prescribed long-term drug to treat long-term episodes of depression and mania or hypomania (BP1 AND 2)(https://www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder/bipolar-1-vs-bipolar-2#symptoms12/18/19).  

In bipolar 2, lithium helps with depression, and as a mood stabilizer. Oftentimes, individuals perceive BP 2 as not "true" bipolar because they do not see the episodes of hypomania. Therefore, they only see the depressive side, which can be very very severe. Thoughts and attempts of suicide are common, I should know, I just got out of the hospital for a near fatal suicide attempt. which would be my 3rd. I have had many attempts, but only 3 near fatal attempts since I was 12yrs old. I do know when I am having a hypomania episode, my friends and family notice as well.

**Here are some key points about bipolar disorder.****
-Bipolar disorder is a serious condition that involves severe abnormalities in mood.
-The person experiences alternating bouts of mania or hypomania and depression, which may involve psychosis.
-Episodes may last several weeks or months, with periods of stability in between.
-It can be managed with medication, but it may take some time to find the right dose and combination.(https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/37010.php,12/18/19)

I have done some research and critical thinking about your statement that BP2 is not a bipolar disorder. As you can see I found some solid information. Please do visit these sites for more information. Take Care Rinas4

Are you thinking of Cyclothymia?The DSM-V classifies it separately from bipolar disorder, because the mood changes are less dramatic. It is considered the 3rd form of BP.
973741 tn?1342342773
Hi there. Bipolar has gotten complex over the years with bipolar 1 and bipolar 2 and everything in between!  My dear friend has been diagnosed with bipolar 2 and to me, she is often more classic in her presentation but I'm no doctor. The important thing is that she receives treatment and medication that really helps. She's on lamictal  as well.  She has not attempted suicide but her lows are scary.  I'm sorry you have been there as well and to the point of trying to take your life.  I AM quite glad though that you are in tune with your bipolar/mental health and working diligently with a doctor.  When my friend spirals, it happens when she is not being cooperative with those things. paxiled is a lay person here and not a doctor, nor am I.  You, as the person with bipolar, are probably much more versed than either of us.  :>) Take what you read with a grain of salt here but  know everyone just tries to help.  I had years of dealing with mental health disease that was not my own to deal with but learned a lot during that time.  But, that is going to be different than what you've experienced living it.  

Now, my best friend when she is having hypomania, it is apparent very quickly to me and her loved ones.  She is often upset when it is pointed out to her but she is probably older than you so is well aware of 'what is next' which is depression that is so awful for her. If we can catch her before she gets there, all the better.  But she greatly enjoys the high of mania.  Sigh.  She feels on top of the world and like nothing can stop her.  

What is your fear of taking lithium? From all I've read, it helps at both ends of bipolar and is very well studied.  It helps tone down mania and improve depression.  
Avatar universal
Lithium as with other medications have different side effects with certain people.  

It has worked for me to date.  It is important to have your blood monitored and to understand what the level indicates.  I started on a higher dose when I was in the treatment phase and then over time had the dose reduced to where it is now which is within the maintenance phase.  

But I also attend many groups, with one specific to bipolar.  I learn through the meetings how to manage the ups and downs that still will occur.  The meds are only part of the remedy.  Life is still going to have happiness and sadness.  These I deal with by connecting with others, so I have a stronger support system and don’t deviate to alcohol to try and manage my emotions.   Good luck in the journey and I hope you find a path that will give pleasure and comfort.  Bipolar is manageable.
Avatar universal
I strongly suggest lithium. My bipolar was beginning to sky rocket very quickly and once I began taking it at a therapeutic level (0.4 being the min recommended dose) my stability has been so much better. I have no negative side effects, and it works better than the other mood stabilizers I’ve tried. One more thing that is sort of unrelated to bipolar, but lithium has cured my dissociation as well. All around it’s been helpful. (Although you can’t drink alcohol while on it)
Lithium had been suggested for my son due to intrusive thoughts (of suicide) with his major depression.  We didn't end up going that route as the dose wouldn't have improved his depression/anxiety symptoms and we really NEEDED that. So, we thought we'd hold off until later to see if we could treat him without lithium for now. Anyway, it prompted me though to do a lot of research on lithium.  It IS a pretty amazing little mineral.  The interesting things I was reading on how it improves cognition, for example.  I'm really glad it is working for you!  How long have you been taking it? You'd tried some of the other atypicals?  
Not having any issue with this except your use of the term atypicals.  Lithium is used two different ways.  One is a medication with a very strong dose that can be very hard to tolerate.  It's used for psychosis.  Lithium as a mineral is a much lower dose you can buy at a supplement store.  Don't know if it does much.  Atypicals are when certain meds are used for someone for something they weren't intended to be used for or for drugs that just don't fit in any category largely because they didn't work very well in clinical trials for what they were originally invented for.  If you have depression and/or anxiety, you don't start with drugs for psychoses because those drugs are much harder for most people to take, compliance therefore is typically difficult, and they have more profound effects on the brain.  You start with meds designed for the much lesser illness of depression or anxiety.  If nothing works, you end up with the quote unquote atypicals.  
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