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Unread 12-27-2009, 07:24 PM   #1
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Default Do Your Meds Make You Stupid?

Okay, first of all, I'm not running down psych meds. They can do a lot of good, salvage bad situations, and help with recovery. If your meds are working, for heaven's sake stay on them!

But.

Does anyone feel their psych meds have hampered their intelligence and/or judgment--especially when taken long-term?

For four years I've taken several meds for bipolar II (Abilify, Lamictal, lithium, various antidepressants, Adderall, Vyvanse, various sleeping pills). They definitely make a difference. My day-to-day behavior is apparently level-headed and predictable. I perform normal adult responsibilities. I have a job as a computer programmer (so I guess I have some reasoning capability).

But during those years, I've made some incredibly bad decisions, especially financially--bad news when the economy is already lousy! I have put aside real financial recordkeeping and just winged it on large money decisions. (Not out of manic impatience, I don't think, but out of depressive apathy.) I am much worse off than if I had concentrated and analyzed the decisions.

I have also lost my drive to improve my career, and have just treaded water--again, a bad idea in a bad economy! I've been laid off once; they said it was strictly because of tough financial times, but I suspect they picked me because my performance was only adequate, and I wasn't the rising star I had once been.

I used to be an active musician. I'm still perfectly capable, but I no longer feel a compulsion to play.

The meds keep me consistently functional, which is quite an accomplishment! Unfortunately, "functional" seems to mean just getting by, phoning it in, being a garden-variety corporate drone, etc.

Maybe these are symptoms of the stubborn depression I am fighting. But my psychiatrist and I believe I was bipolar for years before getting treatment, and back then, I was more focused, driven, and intelligent (although I had alarming mood swings). I used to look at the long term. Now I am just getting by day-to-day.

I'm curious if anyone else feels this way, regardless of your diagnosis or your particular meds.

(Standard disclaimer: yes, I'll bring this up with my therapist and/or psychiatrist, but the next appointment is a ways away. )
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Unread 12-27-2009, 07:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: Do Your Meds Make You Stupid?

Hi there. I am a long term major depression "coper" as well.

Honestly, I have always found when my meds are working, I am as sharp as a tack, as I would "normally" be.

When I am in relapse, or I am having a difficult time coping. I find I am in a bit of a stuper (for lack of a better word) My thinking slows down, as do most of my motor functions like speaking and even some movements. Probably due to the confusion I get during that time as well.

So from my personal experience (non professional), I have not found the various meds slowed me down, I found when my meds possably need a dosage tweeking, that is when I find myself slowing.

Glad you are going to let your therapist and doctors know. It is always important they know
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Unread 12-29-2009, 10:13 PM   #3
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Default Re: Do Your Meds Make You Stupid?

I think you've got a good point, GC. I may be in more of a depressive phase than I thought. I am slowed down. It's as if time is moving quite fast but I'm too slow to keep up with it.

Parts of my mind are sharp. It's weird: I can sit there in a thinking-stupor, reasoning furiously through some arcane computer programming issue, but totally unable to focus on larger issues, like whether my career is going anywhere.

The stimulants I take provide a period of productive mental activity and positive mood, but they can't blow away the generalized fog I'm in. They can't make me actually care!

My meds were adjusted six weeks ago, and it's helped some, but something still ain't working. Back to the drawing board!
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Unread 12-30-2009, 01:00 AM   #4
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Default Re: Do Your Meds Make You Stupid?

When I was taking Topamax I noticed that I started having trouble composing text on my laptop. Difficulty finding the right word, spelling and grammar. I was taking Topamax for migraines so I switched to verapamil.
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Unread 12-30-2009, 01:13 AM   #5
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Default Re: Do Your Meds Make You Stupid?

I quit taking meds because I felt emotionally numb. I wanted to see what I was like without them.

I had some strange things happen on different psych meds. Once after the cashier at the grocery store told me my total, I handed her my money and said "Seven". Seven was not a part of my total or anything else and I was so embarassed! I have no idea to this day why I said that.
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Unread 12-30-2009, 12:50 PM   #6
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Default Re: Do Your Meds Make You Stupid?

I have found some that have. And while Effexor made me stupid, Cymbalta (very simlar meds) helped and heighted my creativity.. But as we know, meds for everyone is diffrent.
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Unread 12-30-2009, 10:23 PM   #7
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Default Re: Do Your Meds Make You Stupid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoda View Post
When I was taking Topamax I noticed that I started having trouble composing text on my laptop. Difficulty finding the right word, spelling and grammar.
Wow -- now that you mention it, I remember TOTALLY having that problem back when I was taking nothing but an antidepressant. I was REALLY slowed down at that point.
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Unread 12-30-2009, 10:24 PM   #8
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Default Re: Do Your Meds Make You Stupid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ECHOES View Post
I quit taking meds because I felt emotionally numb. I wanted to see what I was like without them.
Yeah, it's a difficult trade-off. I do feel that my emotions are weirdly "shifted" by the meds, and that some are dulled.

LOL about "seven"!!
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Unread 12-30-2009, 10:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: Do Your Meds Make You Stupid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slothrop View Post
I can sit there in a thinking-stupor, reasoning furiously through some arcane computer programming issue, but totally unable to focus on larger issues, like whether my career is going anywhere.
I have the same problem, but with Excel.

I could sit all day and do crazy things with Excel, but when I actually have to do research/other work, it takes FOREVER.

As for the drugs making you stupid, I had to quit taking Depakote because it made me stupid. The worst part was the stuttering.
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Unread 12-30-2009, 10:40 PM   #10
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Default Re: Do Your Meds Make You Stupid?

Interesting thread. I need my anti-d's right now but feel they make me forgetful. I too have not been having much luck at all with my finances and manage to overdraw my account regularly lately. I keep forgetting stuff. Prior to my meds I was journaling and writing tons of poetry but my pen has dried up. My mood has lifted but I have paid a price.
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