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Unread 08-13-2010, 12:54 PM   #1
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Default Is it possible to live without medication with bipolar?

Is it possible to live without meds with bipolar disorder? I'm on meds, but I met someone once who wasn't taking meds and had the same condition.
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Unread 08-13-2010, 01:28 PM   #2
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Default Re: Is it possible to live without medication with bipolar?

Not highly recommended and I would suggest that you contemplate this move with the assistance of a licensed and trained Psychiatrist.
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Unread 08-13-2010, 01:35 PM   #3
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Default Re: Is it possible to live without medication with bipolar?

Depends on the severity of your symptoms, i have episodes when i need meds, but long patches inbetween when i can cope without, but need to have a stable and very routine life to do this!
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Unread 08-13-2010, 01:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: Is it possible to live without medication with bipolar?

I'd say that most diagnosed with bipolar require medication.

I tried to go off my medication once by myself, and it turned out to be a horrible decision. I had to be hospitalized and put back on medication.

That being said, everyone is different. cdunn42 is right...if you are considering this move of going off medication, then you should do it with the assistance of your pdoc.
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Unread 08-13-2010, 01:56 PM   #5
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Default Re: Is it possible to live without medication with bipolar?

I too have had the experience of being hospitalized as the consequence of going off of medication. It's just too risky for me.
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Unread 08-13-2010, 01:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: Is it possible to live without medication with bipolar?

My doctor decided that I wasn't bipolar even after having the diagnosis almost my entire life, he decided I am just a plain old drug addict, and he flat out refuses to give me any medication besides regular antidepressants, which always induce mania- distractibility, racing thoughts, inability to sit still, not sleeping, sometimes hearing "voices"though they are more like thoughts that other people are in myhead, reading my thoughts and talking to me telepathically, seeing "signs" in all sorts of mundane things. etc. This guy is a quack, I don't feel safe with him at all. I have been begging for a new doc for over two years, to no avail. I think I should be able to sue this guy for taking all these years away from me- I've been nonfunctional for years!!
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Unread 08-13-2010, 06:28 PM   #7
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Default Re: Is it possible to live without medication with bipolar?

Chenryu, Living without meds is not an option for me. BP can be from mild to extreme and if a person is on the mild end it may give them a sense that he or she can go without meds. It may also be that the person is chasing the high of the hypomania or mania. Personally, I hate both the hypomania and depression.

I have had symptoms since I was very young (my first attempt was at 8). I did not seek help until I was 31 and I had ended up in a 6 week Psych hospital stay. For me the illness got worse as I aged and even now the depressions are still brutal even with meds (I have BP II). For many there is a progression in the illness. For instance untreated or even treated the illness can progress for BP II to BP I.

kryia, can you get a referral to a new p-doc from your gp? Are you still using? If you are using that may be why your current p-doc is having difficulties diagnosing because he or she can't tell if the symptoms are from the bp or the drug use?
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Unread 08-13-2010, 06:38 PM   #8
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Default Re: Is it possible to live without medication with bipolar?

I know that I don't function without medication. I was on Effexor and lithium in 1992-95 and thought I could go off them. Every 3 or 4 months I would go into hypomania with extreme irritability and was given anti-anxiety medication. Then, finally after about 1.5 years, I crashed into a depression that lasted 3 years before it was finally under control, for awhile. I have now had a year of stability due to medications and ECT.

I know that I am in for a lifetime of medication and probably some ECT treatment.
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Unread 08-13-2010, 06:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: Is it possible to live without medication with bipolar?

I am beginning to doubt it very much. I was first dx'ed with BP when I was in my late teens. I refused treatment and just lived with the consequences. Crash and burn depresssions routinely alternated with flying high manic episodes that would last days, weeks and even months.

Now I am in my 50's and I don't recover or cope like I used to. The mania is less intense then it used to be but the depression is much more intense and the episodes last a lot longer.

I think I have more mixed and rapid cycling then I remember ever having before. Now it is like a constant monitoring of my moods and reprogramming of my thinking. Other health issues the last decade have compounded the symptoms too.

I have refused medication for a variety or reasons. All of which seem to be wearing thin on me because I am not getting better. In fact other then being more aware, attentive and better equiped to cope since accepting the diagnosis it isn't enough. All the behavioural changes and mental exercises in the world don't seem to be helping me get better. I cope and I suffer. I don't get any relief.

I am tempted to check out my new doctor and see where a conversation about meds to treat the bi polar might take us. I will likely need to go back to the pdoc. It is very difficult for me to open this door. I am so afraid of doctors and meds that my hands shake just writing about it. Huge triggers of fear and anxiety.

I have been at this point before and talked myself out it time and time again. I could write a book of my excuses why not to take meds. Truth be told..... if the proof is in the pudding I am proof that going it without meds may not be a very wise decision.
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Unread 08-13-2010, 10:35 PM   #10
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Default Re: Is it possible to live without medication with bipolar?

I don't suggest going without meds. To me it is just too risky to go without them. I would be a basket case if I didn't take mine. The mania and depression are bad enough with them.
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