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The Weight of Bipolar Disorder

weight lossNo one really warns you. You are expected to read all the fine print, all the side effects. What a long list it is. But in it are two small words that will change your life – “weight gain.”

When I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder I was put on Zyprexa in addition to some other meds. In six weeks I gained 20 pounds. I know. Incredible. I couldn’t eat enough. I ate in my sleep. I would wake up to cereal boxes and empty bowls on the counter. Snack cake wrappers. Carbs. GIVE ME CARBS!

I was switched from the Zyprexa regimen to something else, something different. I don’t remember what. In the beginning there were so many drug cocktails – just trying to find the right one. The pace of the weight gain lessened, but I carried around with me that extra 20.

When I started taking Saphris, the medication that I swear has saved me, it was like Zyprexa all over again. I gained 5 pounds the first week. So my psychiatrist prescribed Topamax to quell my insatiable appetite. And it did. It helped. Until I lost my health insurance and couldn’t afford one more medication to pay for. Topamax was left behind.

Today I am chubby. Not by choice. Of course I can’t blame all my weight problems on the meds I take, but I can attribute a lot of it to them.

Recently I had a newly diagnosed friend start taking mood stabilizers and she immediately started gaining weight so she went off them. That’s the thing – you shouldn’t have to choose between a healthy body and a healthy mind. They should all go together.

Tomorrow I am starting a new workout program and healthy, clean eating program which I hope will help me kick these extra pounds to the curb because I want to be as beautifully bipolar on the outside as I am on the inside.


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The Weight of Bipolar Disorder

Elaina J. Martin

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APA Reference
Martin, E. (2014). The Weight of Bipolar Disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 19, 2019, from


Last updated: 16 Feb 2014
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Feb 2014
Published on All rights reserved.