15 thoughts on “Bipolar Medication Non-Adherence Issues

  • November 15, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    ‘They feel that the meds “flatten” them – and take away their creativity and spark.’

    While I won’t go off my meds b/c I don’t want to end up in the hospital and have an unstable life again; I understand the temptation so that I can write again. I was prolific, but now it’s flat and I have very little imagination, which is disheartening since I’ve been identified as a writer all my life. I’m working it out w/ my counselor and in a writing group to get through this, but I really miss the ease and comfort of writing that I once had.

    I’d like to know of forums for how other people with BP artists/writers cope with it.

  • December 3, 2008 at 7:52 am

    honestly, i’ve never found a truly workable one. i have a history of “non-compliance” with my meds. they flatten my head, and i’ve never found one that doesn’t. i’ve stopped taking my meds multiple times because of that.

    i do yoga and meditation exercises, which at least helps me to focus my manic episodes into something useful/creative… my art when -on- the meds is full of fail.

    i know this probably isn’t terribly helpful in the way you were hoping, but sometimes it is nice to know you aren’t the only one that the meds affect that way.

  • December 15, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    I have 2 questions.

    What about “non-compliance” because one doesn’t think he/she has bipolar? Is this an uncommon reason to be non-compliant?

    One time when I was non-compliant in the past, it was only for a few days. I stopped abruptly causing physical withdrawal and an increase in manic & psychotic symptoms. My question is: Were those manic and psychotic symptoms a direct result of sudden withdral NOT necessarily because I have been diagnosed with bipolar?

  • December 16, 2008 at 6:02 am

    Hi, Lisa–

    I would say that non-compliance due to the belief that one really doesn’t have bipolar disorder is very common. This can happen when someone really doesn’t have bipolar, is receiving treatment that’s working (so they don’t feel bipolar), or are hypomanic (so they feel great).

    As for your experience – it’s never a good idea to abruptly stop taking your meds (as you probably know). I doubt there’s any way to tell whether your increased mania and psychotic symptoms were due to withdrawing the meds too quickly, not having meds in place to muffle your moods, or a combination of the two.

    That would be something to address with your doctor and try to sort out over time.

  • March 15, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    I am on quite a few meds for my bipolar, and I wonder if other people are. (lithium, depakote, tegretol, lamictal, seroquel, and buspar). When I brought the issue up with the pdoc he was firm about the need for each one. But I still am uneasy. Does this seem excessive?

    • December 24, 2013 at 2:42 pm

      I don’t know how you function or have any quality of life while taking that many medications. Are you able to drive a car, read a book, socialize, organize a vacation alone, or cook meals, or even tie your own shoe laces?

  • April 10, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    i have a friend that has bipolar used zoloft to ween herself off paxil then stopped takin her meds alltogether whats going to happen

  • May 12, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    will i ever be able to come off my medication and be a normal person. i have been doing well for a number of years. i miss the energy that i use to have. what can happen if i ween myself off my meds. if i got worse i could always go back on them. how long would the meds take effect? would the same medication that i take now work if i stopped taking them for a period of time?

  • May 26, 2009 at 8:15 am

    I have been battling my mind for 3 years, and I have been labeled BiPolar, Skitzo, Major Depressive, PTSD and many more. I stopped my lithium last week because I can’t stand the flatness, or the diarrhea. I am not being stubborn or non-compliant, I just want to live life the way I am.

  • June 17, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    In response to Deb who’s taking lithium, depakote, tegretol, lamictal, seroquel, and buspar, I am in the process of reducing the number of drugs I take to control my BPD. The ideal, I believe, is maximum benefit with minimum chemical input. Your brain is a delicate organ. You may well need all of these drugs right now, but will you need them all a few months or a year down the road? Let’s hope not. They’re all very powerful psychotropics with serious short-term and long-term side effects. The key is to find the best possible mix for you using the least number of drugs.

    When I was first diagnosed with bipolar disease, I was already taking a unipolar antidepressant, Wellbutrin; I was taking buspar and clonazepam for anxiety; and I was taking something, I forget what, for a misdiagnosed case of OCD. My new psychiatrist didn’t drop those drugs immediately when she began adding bipolar medications. The changes she made were gradual. As I say, our brains are delicate, and you never know what small change is going to throw someone off the manic-depressive cliff.

    It’s been more than a year, and we’re still working on that mix. Lamictal did nothing for me, and so I’m gradually weaning off that drug. Lithium has been a lifesaver, and I’m still on Seroquel, clonazepam, Wellbutrin, and Topamax. This is down dramatically from what I was taking in the beginning, so what I’d say is hang in there and keep expressing your desire to taper off and, if you can, take fewer drugs at some happy point in the near future. Good luck!

  • December 4, 2011 at 7:03 am

    hello I’m 26 and my girlfriends sister have a damn bad case of bipolar. she don’t take her meds and her family says it like night and day when she did take them. she will flat out be a itchy smart was and will never stop back talking anyone and she has 2 kids and yells at the 2 yr old all the time and wants nothing to do with her 9 month old. and if there was ever anyone that u could say had a psycho crazy look in there eye she has that look on her face all the time like a person in a medical ward would look like sitting in the corner starring at a wall rocking back and forward , that kinda look on her face. I don’t care what ppl think. but I think if u have bipolar so bad or have it past a certain degree then I think u should be required by law to take u damn meds if u want to keep living if life in public. but not all should be required to take meds by law. just the ones that have been diagnosed with it and ppl even tell em they have something wrong with them and they still deny it, them are the ones that’s start to push the boundary of should the meds be required by law.

  • December 4, 2011 at 11:09 am

    I see the comments here and realize this forum is a support for those dealing with their own treatment. My problem is different. What does a family do to address a family member who goes off her medication and becomes so depressed she can no longer see their benefit, and refuses to accept it? There is no reasoning with depression and you cannot force someone to take a pill. When does it become acceptable to allow a state agency to send police out and forcibly remove an aged person from her bed? Is one to simply allow this person to deteriorate to a situation of emergency?

  • December 16, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Average rate of gray matter loss: evidence of neuroleptic drug-induced brain damage. The more drugs you’ve been given, the more brain tissue you lose. What exactly do these drugs do? They block basal ganglia activity. The prefrontal cortex doesn’t get the input it needs and is being shut down by drugs. That reduces the psychotic symptoms. It also causes the prefrontal cortex to slowly atrophy.~ Dr. Nancy C. Andreasen, New York Times, Sept. 16, 2008 Both the older and the atypical neuroleptics shrink brain tissue during routine clinical exposure.~ Dr. Peter R. Breggin, Brain Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry (2008)

  • December 26, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    These drugs originate from the chemical phenothiazene, which was used as synthetic dye in 1883. In 1934 Phenothiazene was used by the veterinary practice as an insecticide and extended for killing swine parasites; phenothiazene affects the brains Acetlycholinergic System and results in lethal increases of acetlycholine in the periphery and central nervous system of insects !!

    Real Disease vs. Mental “Disorder”

    Psychiatric disorders are not medical diseases. There are no lab tests, brain scans, X-rays or chemical imbalance tests that can verify any mental disorder is a physical condition. This is not to say that people do not get depressed, or that people can’t experience emotional or mental duress, but psychiatry has repackaged these emotions and behaviors as “disease” in order to sell drugs. This is a brilliant marketing campaign, but it is not science.

    Psychiatric Disorders Voted Into Existence

    Psychiatry’s diagnostic criteria are literally voted into existence and inserted into the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM). What is voted in is a system of classification of symptoms that is drastically different from, and foreign to, anything in medicine. None of the diagnoses are supported by objective evidence of physical disease, illness, or science.


    Psychiatry Admits It Has No Cures

    “We do not know the causes [of any mental illness]. We don’t have the methods of ‘curing’ these illnesses yet.” —Dr. Rex Cowdry, psychiatrist and director of National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 1995


    No Brain Scans For Mental Illness

    Psychiatrists claim that brain scans now show brain changes that “prove” mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and depression, are brain-based. There is no scientific evidence to prove this: it remains what the “fine print” in the studies tell you: “suggests,” “may” and “it is hoped.”


    Side Effects

    Psychiatrists can’t predict what adverse side effects you might experience because not one of them knows how their drugs work.

    Psychotropic drugs are increasingly being exposed as chemical toxins with the power to kill. Psychiatrists claim their drugs save lives, but according to their own studies, psychotropic drugs can double the risk of suicide.


    No Genetic Proof of Mental Illnesses

    “No claim for a gene for a psychiatric condition has stood the test of time, in spite of popular misinformation.” —Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, Harvard Medical School psychiatrist

    Of course this is crazy. No sane person could possibly see it otherwise. It is, though, how psychiatrists make a living. It’s not terribly difficult, actually. Just select a behavior, a mood, or a complaint, and attach a diagnosis to it. The only trick is to make sure that it’s listed in the psychiatric bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM for short. The reason is quite simple: Each so-called disorder comes with its own special number. That number is entered into a form and sent to an insurance company. Then, like magic, money gets returned in the mail.

    This is not an exaggeration. It’s exactly what happens. There is absolutely no science behind any of the DSM diagnoses. Not one shred of proof demonstrates that there’s any physical disorder of the brain behind a single diagnosis. People have experimented by going to several different psychiatrists and making the same complaint in each office. The result would be laughable, except that real people are diagnosed and drugged…and drugged and drugged…by these same shrinks every single day.

  • December 26, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    I share the sentiment of ‘what can I really do?’when my significant other quits taking lamictal. Promises were made to the psychiatrist, but is currently not adhering to recommendations. I fear for the next manic unmanageable episode and for our son who has no idea of the illness facing his parent. Living with the ups and downs of bpd as a spouse is just plain upredictable and hard.


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