V - so glad to hear that things are moving in the right directions. Guess its a typical two steps forward, one step back situation. Just remember that baby steps can go a long way and it sounds like you are closer to finding something that's going to work.
As far as the depakote, every one is totally different, but at this point in time I am doing really well with it. I never had the hair loss, but did have some slight weight gain in the beggining. Once i was stable after about a year, I weaned off the effexor i was taking and have since lost a considerable amount of the weight that I had gained while ill and recovering. When it comes to the weight thing and medication, I decided long ago that I would sooner be a little heavier and healthy, happy, stable, content, productive, etc. than be the skinny, stressed, depressed, unhappy, individual I was before the medication. Now I only take the depakote and feel pretty confident that it is working well for me. I do get the blood tests regularly and am on a fairly low dose but am also pretty med sensitive. And I think because of the chemistry of it, its important to drink lots of water.
Obviously, everyone is going to have a different experience, I just wanted to let you know that there are good stories. Just make sure that your wife gives it a little time to kick in and is open with her doctor about her concerns or sideeffects. There are lots of options and sometimes it will take a few mediciations to do the trick.