It’s a crap shoot at best, from beginning to end. How can we find the right mental health medication to treat bipolar and other mental disorders? After a lot of trial and error one may find a medication or a combination of it that can be very effective in treating symptoms.
When I was first committed to a psychiatric hospital, the first drug I received was an injection of Haldol, a strong anti-psychotic drug. This was to bring me out of a catatonic state or state of unresponsiveness. My psychotic break was severe and untreated for a week before I was finally admitted.
After they captured me back, they concluded that I was bipolar and I was started on Lithium. Shortly after that I was put on Prozac to pull me out of depression.
Not long after that the dose of Prozac they had given me, I became agitated and I couldn’t sleep. I believe I went manic. I don’t remember all the reasons and symptoms and reactions, but I know I was tried on Depakote (mood stabilizer) and that was ineffective, so back on Lithium. Then the amount of Lithium I was making me toxic and I was nauseous and throwing up. They realized that a lower dose was more therapeutic for me. Then after time on Lithium, my thyroid was affected.
Over the years the doctors tried numerous drugs, from anti-depressants, to mood stabilizers, meds for side effects, anti-psychotics, and even meds for ADD. Finally years later I was put on yet another mood stabilizer, an anxiety med, and Zyprexa, for the schizophrenic traits.
My diagnosis changed with the different medications and hospitalizations. They finally came up with a new category, called schizoaffective disorder or bipolar with manic tendencies. This stands today.
I learned not to complain about insignificant symptoms, as then the psychiatrist would suggest new meds and back to the hospital I would go. Not good.
It took twelve years of changes, before I was put on this last regiment. The medication has worked. The only change was to change my Zyprexa from pills to tablets that would dissolve and get the med in my blood system quicker.
Even when I went back to the hospital over the years, they deemed that they would keep me on the same meds until my mania subsided. I have been on the same regimen for ten years.
I feel for the psychiatrist and the person taking meds, because the med doctor generally see the patient for 15 minutes and then they prescribe a mind altering drug. Like I said each case is different. So, the doctors don’t know how one will respond. It’s an educated guess.
My wife researched the drugs and bought a pill book. The best way to go about it is to try to be aware of your symptoms and the side affects from the drugs and to be educated. You are your most important advocate.
How many times have you changed meds? Have you finally found the right combination? Has your experience been like mine?