question about lithium and what it does

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Ginny
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 5514
   Posted 4/25/2005 7:05 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi everyone,
My dad is manic depressed. Has been since his teenage years. He was finally diagnosed in the mid 90's and was put on lithium. From my understanding, I thought lithium only dealt with the manic side of the disorder? Does it deal with the depression too? My dad still has bouts of the depression, he's in one now. I'm just wondering if he needs to be on an anti-depressant or are his lithium levels off?
Thanks for any input!
 
Ginny
"Thank you God for the storms that blow me right into your arms!"

Diagnosed with lupus in 2000. Fibromyalgia, anti-phospholipid syndrome(stroke),Sjogren's, seizure disorder, libman sach's endocarditis, vasculitis, food allergies
Prednisone, Imuran, Coumidin, Clobazam, Amitriptyline, Paxil, micronor, didrocal, monopril, calcium, multi-vitamin, vitamin D, Acidophilus


keldew
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 22
   Posted 4/25/2005 8:45 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Ginny,
 
Now I'm no expert, I'm sure Dana (Danarx) or Shannon (psychnurse) are much better qualified, but being a user of lithium, I just thought I'd add my thoughts.
 
Lithium is a mood stabilizer, not just an anti-manic drug.  In some cases, bipolar can be controlled with just lithium, but in many cases, as in mine, an anti-depressant is necessary.  Does your dad have a psychiatrist?  If not I highly recommend that he get one-a family doc is great for controlling depression, but with lithium, a psychiatrist, I feel is your best bet.
 
Your father should probably be evaluated on how often he is manic or hypomanic versus depressed.  Typically if he has a longer history of depressive episodes then he probably needs to be on an anti-depressant.  Then again, depending on any other pre-existing health conditions, lithium may be the only medication he can take.  He really needs to see his doctor.
 
Bottom line to remember is this, lithium is meant to stabilize and even out a person's mood, it doesn't always control the onset of a depressive or manic stage it just helps to lessen the frequency.
 
Hope this helps!
 
Kelly

psychnurse
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Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 4/26/2005 7:25 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Kelly!   Lithium is a mood stabilizer, but the name would suggest  all moods.  It does not stop depression, mood stabilizers are to stop or lessen the effects of mania.  Antidepressants are not recommended for bipolar depression - can cause a mania or panic/anxiety attacks even with a stabilizer.  The drug of choice is usually lamictal, also a mood stabilizer, but the only one with excellent antidepressant effects for bipolars.  For some reason, it really works for us; it doesn't have the same effect on regular depression.  My pdoc put me on it; at first I didn't believe it would work, but it saved my life.  Not to say it works for everyone; all meds don't work for all people.  But it doesn't have the side effects of antidepressants (especially SSRIs).  Your dad needs to talk to his pdoc and get the situation under control ASAP.  The one drawback to lamictal is the lowest therapeutic dose is 200mg, and it takes a pretty good while to work up to it, usually starting out at 25mg.  The reason is because there is a slight (rare) risk of a rash called Steven-Johnson syndrome that can be deadly if worked up too soon.  Don't let that worry you, tho.  It is extremely rare.  I hope that helps!

Post Edited (psychnurse) : 4/26/2005 8:32:49 AM (GMT-6)


Ginny
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Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 5514
   Posted 4/26/2005 10:29 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you SO much both of you!
that explains a lot. He's been really great for about 7 years now. No manic episodes, and no depression. I talked to him last night and he mentioned that for the past two weeks he's been having the depression symptoms. I said to him, "Why haven't you gone to the doctor yet! It's been two weeks!" I guess with that depression, even getting help is hard for him. The depression is way worse than the manic side for him, which is why I was feeling funny that he wasn't on an anti-d as well. Now I know! I'm going to print these out and give them to him. He needs to know how this all works.
 
Thanks again!
 
Ginny
"Thank you God for the storms that blow me right into your arms!"

Diagnosed with lupus in 2000. Fibromyalgia, anti-phospholipid syndrome(stroke),Sjogren's, seizure disorder, libman sach's endocarditis, vasculitis, food allergies
Prednisone, Imuran, Coumidin, Clobazam, Amitriptyline, Paxil, micronor, didrocal, monopril, calcium, multi-vitamin, vitamin D, Acidophilus


Danarx
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 585
   Posted 4/26/2005 12:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Just to put in my two cents. Lithium is suppose to work for the bipolar depression as well as the mania. And works differently in everyone however there are a plethra of studies showing efficacy in both mania and depression.

However Lamictal is wonderful and my drug of choice for me. And does help with depression if the lithium is not cutting it.

The jury is still out on antidepressants and bipolar disorder. So the consensus is if they are needed for a bipolar person, they MUST be on a moodstabilizer in addition to the anit-D.

(I did my own research on this a few years ago and the studies are not solid on the effects of anti-ds and bipolar disorder)
 ~ With Love ~ Dana, Pharm. D.
 
~ Diagnosed with Lupus in May of 2004 and Bipolar II in April of 2001. 
 
Disclaimer:  On any medical information I provide, please bring your concerns to your physician.  I have no financial interests in any drug or drug company.  I will try be as objective as possible.  If I am giving my opinion I will state it first. 


Ginny
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 5514
   Posted 4/26/2005 3:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Dana thanks for confirming! I'm calling dad tonight to see if he went to the doctor. I have a funny feeling he didn't. Hope I'm wrong!
 
Love
ginny
"Thank you God for the storms that blow me right into your arms!"

Diagnosed with lupus in 2000. Fibromyalgia, anti-phospholipid syndrome(stroke),Sjogren's, seizure disorder, libman sach's endocarditis, vasculitis, food allergies
Prednisone, Imuran, Coumidin, Clobazam, Amitriptyline, Paxil, micronor, didrocal, monopril, calcium, multi-vitamin, vitamin D, Acidophilus


clic
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 114
   Posted 4/28/2005 1:23 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Ginny!

My p doc put me on Mirapex, which is actually a treatment for Parkinson's. Anyhow, they use it in psych because of its action on dopamine-they figure it acts as an antidepressant. The jury is still out as to whether it works or not as they are adjusting my doses, but I'll let ya know!


Ginny
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 5514
   Posted 5/6/2005 9:09 PM (GMT -7)   
Well I have good news about my dad. It was just a little "blip" in how he was feeling. He's back to being well again. His lithium prescription runs out this month, so he automatically gets his levels checked for each new prescription.
But he's doing just fine! I think the fact that he even mentioned his depression to me helped him to know that he isn't alone. Someone cares about him!
 
Thanks everyone!
God bless,
ginny
"Thank you God for the storms that blow me right into your arms!"

Diagnosed with lupus in 2000. Fibromyalgia, anti-phospholipid syndrome(stroke),Sjogren's, seizure disorder, libman sach's endocarditis, vasculitis, food allergies
Prednisone, Imuran, Coumidin, Clobazam, Amitriptyline, Paxil, micronor, didrocal, monopril, calcium, multi-vitamin, vitamin D, Acidophilus

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