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20 Years On Psych Meds, The Black Dog Of Depression Has Returned Again

schizoaffective disorder depression latuda

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#1 jendaizbee

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  • Diagnoses:Schizoaffective Disorder, hypothyroidism, Fibromyalgia, Sjogren's Syndrome
  • Current Meds:Prozac, Latuda, Clonazepam, Vistaril, Ambien, Risperdal Consta IM, Melatonin
  • Location:Florida, U.S.

Posted 02 October 2011 - 09:17 PM

Hi folks,

I don't know how to introduce myself here, since psych meds have been a big part of my life for the past 20 years. That's why when I went to write my signature I probably forgot twenty meds and left the list somewhat skimpy, since I have been on so many.

I'll try to be brief. I had a problem with depression, starting at least by age 14, and at age 15 had my first suicide attempt. That was when I was first hospitalized, got my frist pdoc, and got put on meds. I was on antidepressants, when SSRI's were just coming out. For whatever reasons, this doc would simply switch me to something new whenever something new came out. He was a rather shady doctor. At the same time, I had a long battle with anorexia nervosa, and with self injury, which were coping mechanisms I used to deal with the depression, which was my main problem until I got so physically sick from anorexia that I was hospitalized for that. After that, in my 20's because I had so much difficulty concentrating (which was exacerbated by Fibromyalgia and an autoimmune disease), and I got diagnosed with ADD and put on meds for that, briefly.

I didn't see a psychiatrist for a few years, as I was becoming delusional. By the time I was 24 I was severely psychotic, but nobody understood this fact. I did not talk out loud to voices I heard, or do things that would automatically make someone think, "psychosis!", so I ended up homeless several times and having a really difficult life where I couldn't work or function well for years. During these years, I was in and out of hospitals. I have had about 25 hospitalizations in my twenty years in this wonderful realm. I was diagnosed as Bipolar, but those meds didn't help because the real problem was that I was psychotic, and this was not being recognized or treated. I was diagnosed with Dissociative Disorder, because I had psychotic delusions about abuse, which were not recognized, and which resulted in me being estranged from my entire family for years, because I thought that I had been horribly abused as a child and reported people to the police, but all the while, I also thought I was being monitored by the CIA with a microchip in my leg, and other such things that, if people had known, might have made people understand that it was not a Dissociative Disorder I was dealing with.

In 2005, I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia - finally something really close to being accurate, because finally the psychosis was recognized after I nearly shot myself to death. I was ordered by a judge to be hospitalized for six months, and then, finally, I was able to get stabilized on AP's and start thinking clearly for the first time in six years. I had not known I was floridly psychotic for six years, but I was. I was greatly helped by biweekly injections of Risperdal Consta, which they originally started me on because I had been very non-compliant with meds in the past, but which I stayed on because every time i have gone off the injections, I have become psychotic again.

In recent years Seroquel greatly helped me too, but I had to go off that because the combination of Seroquel and Risperdal Consta led me to gain 100 pounds in a couple years, and I am now prediabetic, which is not exactly a positive impact. I would have stayed on Seroquel if not for this fact. I thought once I got rid of the Seroquel munchies I would lose weight, but that hasn't worked out well either. Anyway, ever since I started tapering off Seroquel a year ago, I started having more trouble sleeping again which has been a lifelong issue for me. After I finally got off Seroquel, this past spring, I was having horrible, horrible difficulty sleeping. Nothing has worked. Restoril, Ambien, both have not worked out well enough. I now take Ambien with my Clonazepam, with a muscle relaxer called Methocarbomal, with Vistaril, and with Melatonin, in order to sleep AT ALL. I am not manic. I have not been manic since around 2003. So I do not know why I am having such trouble sleeping, but my brain seems to have adjusted to being on Seroquel for years, which made me sleep very well, and without the Seroquel, my brain seems incapable of normal sleep. I am not sure what to do about this because my pdoc says there is nothing else he can prescribe for me for sleep that I haven't already tried.

When he told me about Latuda, I wanted to try it because I would like to eventually get off the Consta injections, since I believe they have partly led to my weight gain, and they have also led to very high prolactine levels that prevent me from having normal womanly cycles every month. So I was doing okay, and some mild psychosis symptoms went away with the Latuda, but then, in recent weeks, I've been hit with the black dog of depression once again. I have been having trouble getting out of bed to function, and I work part time but missed two days of work last week, and am getting behind in college classes, I also got way behind in housework. It seems that either I need another mood stabilizer or another antidepressant. I have been on Wellbutrin most of the time since around 1997.

I was on Lamictal, starting last spring, but I developed an allergic reaction, and was sent to the ER by my pdoc who thought I might be in the beginnings of Stevens Johnson Syndrome (though he did not use that term, he just told me I could die from this allergy), and so I will never be taking Lamictal again. The reason I had been put on the Lamictal was because of depression developing, but then after I went off it, I seemed to be feeling okay mood-wise until recent weeks, when the depression has hit hard.

I'm sorry this is such a long introduction. It's hard to explain 20 years of psych med history in a brief post. If you have any input into why the depression might have come back, I am interested in hearing your thoughts or your ideas on what I might be able to try now.

I have not had much luck with SSRI's in the past, and Anafranil didn't seem to help too much. I was also partly put on Anafranil for some OCD symptoms.
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"Its Latin name may come from bellis, meaning beautiful, so Bellis Perennis can be translated to perennial beauty, as the daisy flowers for so long. Or bellis may come from bellum, Latin for war, because it grew in fields of battle, and can staunch bleeding and reduce bruising and shock. One of the daisy's old names is bruisewort.

The cheerful little daisy is a symbol of innocence because of its association with children, and of survival.
Daisies adapt to almost any landscape and soil type, and will survive being trodden underfoot and all the indignities of the hoe and the lawnmower."
-Anne McIntyre, Flower Power

http://www.suicidalnomore.com

Dx: Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Type

Current Meds: Trilafon, Clozaril (going off now), Prozac, Valium, Vistaril, Melatonin, Ambien, and non-psych meds for thyroid and Lupus

Past Meds: APs - Seroquel, Risperdone, Geodon, Abilify, Haldol and Thorazine (those 2 in hospitals)
Antidepressants: Prozac, Paxil, Effexxor, Anafranil, Elavil, Tofranil, Remeron 
 Prozac 50 mgs, Latuda 80 mgs, Clonazepam 1.5 mgs, Vistaril 100 mgs, Ambien 10 mgs, Risperdal Consta injections - 50 mgs biweekly, Melatonin for additional sleep help, other non-psych meds and other SSRI's I can't recall

Mood Stabilizers: Neurontin, Lithium, Lamictal, Depakote, perhaps others
Others: Luvox, Ritalin, Cogentin and others like it, Restoril, Trazadone plus more I cannot remember




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#2 Ophelia

Ophelia

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 10:02 PM

Hi, Jen, and welcome to Crazymeds!

How come you're not on lithium or an anticonvulsant?

And, FYI, it's possible you could take Lamictal again. Did you actually have SJS or just an allergic rash? Rashes with Lamictal are normal! If you do have another go at it, start at a really low dose - like 12.5mg or even 6.25mg and increase it by about that much every week or two until you get where you need to be.

It's good you've got a couple of AAPs (atypical antipsychotics) for the psychotic symptoms. But how come you're not on lithium or an anticonvulsant?

You've got the AD (antidepressant) pushing you up, and the AAPs and tranquilizers and sleep meds and Melatoninpushing you down. And none of those treat the bipolar and moderate the swings. You need a mood stabilizer.
Ophelia

Current Diagnosis: Bipolar disorder + PTSD
Current cocktail: Lamotrigine 287.5 mg, Seroquel XR 50 mg, Seroqel IR 50mg & PRN as needed, Wellbutrin SR 225 mg, Abilify 0.5 mg, Estradiol 1 mg, Aspirin 81 mg, Tegretol + Wellbutrin + Celexa, Methylin, Provigil, Depakote, Prozac, Pamelor, Dilantin, Tofranil, Elavil, Stelazine, lithium, Haldol, Desyrel, Valium, Nardil, and fish oil (for crying out loud! It threw me into a mixed episode)....
..........and others I can't remember
Supps: Calcium with Vitamin D, Vitamin D, Iron, Multi-Vitamin, Glucosamine with Chondroitin

#3 jendaizbee

jendaizbee

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  • Diagnoses:Schizoaffective Disorder, hypothyroidism, Fibromyalgia, Sjogren's Syndrome
  • Current Meds:Prozac, Latuda, Clonazepam, Vistaril, Ambien, Risperdal Consta IM, Melatonin
  • Location:Florida, U.S.

Posted 02 October 2011 - 10:26 PM

Thank you, and I really like this board. I think you are right, a mood stabilizer would probably help. To be honest, I'm not sure why I was taken off of Lithium years ago. I think it might have been because of weight gain, but I really don't remember, and I wasn't on it long. I am wary of it because of the weight gain it often causes. I really do not want to develop diabetes, and my endocrinologist says that if I do not lose weight soon that is where I am headed. So I am very wary of another weight-gaining drug. I was actually thinking Topomax would be good to try again, even though it didn't seem to help when I was on it briefly a few years ago. Unfortunately, at the community mental health center where I go, I have had my doctors change because people left or retired, several times, so I now have a doctor who is not that familiar with all the meds I've been on, and doesn't, of course, have time to look at all the charting from the past five years.

Do people ever take Lithium and NOT gain weight? I know this is probably a stupid question, but people like you on this forum seem to be very familiar with side effects and how common they are.

As far as Lamictal, I was not diagnosed with SJS and I did not even have a rash. But what happened was I had a burning sensation inside, horrible headaches, and nausea, and my doctor, who I think is pretty good as he's the medical director of the community mental health center, said that this was how an allergic reaction starts, and that I would probably get the rash next. So he immediately told me I could never take it again. I know that my sister, who takes it for Epilepsy, had an allergic reaction that landed her in a hospital, and then years later, was put back on it, and now she can tolerate it. I don't know for sure why my doctor said I could NEVER take it again, if that is not true. He might just be doing the cya thing.

OH editing this to add, I am also on Neurontin. I actually take it for peripheral neuropathy but I know it is sometimes used as a mood stabilizer (right?). At least I think it is. My brain is a little fuzzy right now.

Edited by jendaizbee, 02 October 2011 - 10:34 PM.

  • 0

"Its Latin name may come from bellis, meaning beautiful, so Bellis Perennis can be translated to perennial beauty, as the daisy flowers for so long. Or bellis may come from bellum, Latin for war, because it grew in fields of battle, and can staunch bleeding and reduce bruising and shock. One of the daisy's old names is bruisewort.

The cheerful little daisy is a symbol of innocence because of its association with children, and of survival.
Daisies adapt to almost any landscape and soil type, and will survive being trodden underfoot and all the indignities of the hoe and the lawnmower."
-Anne McIntyre, Flower Power

http://www.suicidalnomore.com

Dx: Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Type

Current Meds: Trilafon, Clozaril (going off now), Prozac, Valium, Vistaril, Melatonin, Ambien, and non-psych meds for thyroid and Lupus

Past Meds: APs - Seroquel, Risperdone, Geodon, Abilify, Haldol and Thorazine (those 2 in hospitals)
Antidepressants: Prozac, Paxil, Effexxor, Anafranil, Elavil, Tofranil, Remeron 
 Prozac 50 mgs, Latuda 80 mgs, Clonazepam 1.5 mgs, Vistaril 100 mgs, Ambien 10 mgs, Risperdal Consta injections - 50 mgs biweekly, Melatonin for additional sleep help, other non-psych meds and other SSRI's I can't recall

Mood Stabilizers: Neurontin, Lithium, Lamictal, Depakote, perhaps others
Others: Luvox, Ritalin, Cogentin and others like it, Restoril, Trazadone plus more I cannot remember


#4 Ophelia

Ophelia

    Would-be Neurologist

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  • Diagnoses:Bipolar II, PTSD
  • Current Meds:Lamotrigine, Seroquel, Bupropion
  • Location:San Jose, California

Posted 03 October 2011 - 10:00 AM

Pdoc doesn't have to look at all the charting; I think they can just look at the meds part if they like. So just ask him to check the mood stabilizers you've been on with the dates if possible. If more information is needed, he could then look at the charting when the meds were discontinued and find out why.

Look at the pages on the main site for more information on the particular meds, and also check out the forums. You can also google and find out about side effects. I do know that many people have stopped and restarted Lamictal with good results. The key is to start low and go slow like a snail. Headaches are so common starting Lamictal that people refer to the Lamictal Headache.

I started Lamictal at 25mg/day and increased it by 25mg per week, but I ended up with cognitive impairment which went away when the dose was lowered. After that, the titration was at 12.5mg every week or two. When I got near the dose where I'd had problems, we started increasing by 6.25mg. It's tricky slicing a 25mg pill 4 ways, but it can be done (check for a thread on pill cutters). Alternatively, you could use the pediatric liquid form.

Yes on the Neurontin; it's an anticonvulsant. It's also been nicknamed "Morontin" and is probably responsible for the brain fuzzies. All anticonvulsants, as far as I know, can cause brain fog. But it's dose-dependent, so if you reduce the dosage and titrate more slowly, you'll probably be fine; the brain fog also may go away on its own as you adjust to the med.

I'm glad you're on an AC. Don't change anything - dosage or anything - without checking with your pdoc.

Good luck, and hang in there. You've made an important first step by researching this stuff on your own instead of just swallowing whatever pill you're handed and discontinuing when told to without knowing why.
Ophelia

Current Diagnosis: Bipolar disorder + PTSD
Current cocktail: Lamotrigine 287.5 mg, Seroquel XR 50 mg, Seroqel IR 50mg & PRN as needed, Wellbutrin SR 225 mg, Abilify 0.5 mg, Estradiol 1 mg, Aspirin 81 mg, Tegretol + Wellbutrin + Celexa, Methylin, Provigil, Depakote, Prozac, Pamelor, Dilantin, Tofranil, Elavil, Stelazine, lithium, Haldol, Desyrel, Valium, Nardil, and fish oil (for crying out loud! It threw me into a mixed episode)....
..........and others I can't remember
Supps: Calcium with Vitamin D, Vitamin D, Iron, Multi-Vitamin, Glucosamine with Chondroitin

#5 In_Remission_witchy

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 09:20 AM

I'm new here and don't have much knowledge about the drugs you're on, because my diagnosis is a very simple Major Depressive Disorder. But I couldn't help noticing that one of your drugs caused you to gain weight and caused you to become prediabetic. This alone can cause mood issues, because of blood sugar spikes and crashes. Have you tried adding a regular exercise routine to your regimen? A daily walk or yoga practice, maybe? It's not a cure-all, but for some it's more effective than an AD.

#6 jendaizbee

jendaizbee

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  • Diagnoses:Schizoaffective Disorder, hypothyroidism, Fibromyalgia, Sjogren's Syndrome
  • Current Meds:Prozac, Latuda, Clonazepam, Vistaril, Ambien, Risperdal Consta IM, Melatonin
  • Location:Florida, U.S.

Posted 07 October 2011 - 10:28 AM

I came back to clarify that I think something other than depression is the problem at this time. It is more aligned with psychosis, based on my unfortunately extensive experience with being psychotic and what I have learned about it over the years. So, this sucks because what my doctor did was increase my Buproprion since I did not really understand when I talked to him how confused I actually was. But I'm experiencing a lot of confusion. I do not think Latuda is helping me right now, and I am wondering if it is actually making me feel more confused since, the time period during which my current problems started correlates with the time period (about two months) that I've been on Latuda. I go to a community mental health center where they do not just let you come right back two or three days after you had an appointment, so I went to see my former therapist there, gave her a list of my symptoms, and she said that she would be giving it to my doctor, because clearly my brain is malfunctioning right now pretty badly. I don't know yet what he will do, but I do not want to keep taking Latuda. It probably works great for other people, but it isn't working out at all for me. I am doing things like talking to myself endlessly and being unable to read, amongst numerous other problems, which pretty clearly indicate that I'm not just depressed now. Oh well. This too shall pass, eventually. I hope.
  • 0

"Its Latin name may come from bellis, meaning beautiful, so Bellis Perennis can be translated to perennial beauty, as the daisy flowers for so long. Or bellis may come from bellum, Latin for war, because it grew in fields of battle, and can staunch bleeding and reduce bruising and shock. One of the daisy's old names is bruisewort.

The cheerful little daisy is a symbol of innocence because of its association with children, and of survival.
Daisies adapt to almost any landscape and soil type, and will survive being trodden underfoot and all the indignities of the hoe and the lawnmower."
-Anne McIntyre, Flower Power

http://www.suicidalnomore.com

Dx: Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Type

Current Meds: Trilafon, Clozaril (going off now), Prozac, Valium, Vistaril, Melatonin, Ambien, and non-psych meds for thyroid and Lupus

Past Meds: APs - Seroquel, Risperdone, Geodon, Abilify, Haldol and Thorazine (those 2 in hospitals)
Antidepressants: Prozac, Paxil, Effexxor, Anafranil, Elavil, Tofranil, Remeron 
 Prozac 50 mgs, Latuda 80 mgs, Clonazepam 1.5 mgs, Vistaril 100 mgs, Ambien 10 mgs, Risperdal Consta injections - 50 mgs biweekly, Melatonin for additional sleep help, other non-psych meds and other SSRI's I can't recall

Mood Stabilizers: Neurontin, Lithium, Lamictal, Depakote, perhaps others
Others: Luvox, Ritalin, Cogentin and others like it, Restoril, Trazadone plus more I cannot remember




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