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Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 30
   Posted 11/11/2006 4:50 AM (GMT -7)   
It seems that most people posting on these message boards are going through difficult times right now.  Certainly, I have felt the same way in the past on many different occassions.  From the months of darkness, moments of light, rage, and regret to now.  Somehow, things have remained stable for about the past 6 months, I feel good, confident, and able to cope with life's distractions that would have triggered negative consequences in the past.  I'm beginning to question whether my condition was merely a result of substance abuse and have been thinking about slowly discontinuing my medications.  Granted, my dosages are low so it shouldn't be too difficult.  Is this the right thing to do?  Who knows and only time will tell but past generations of my family obviously learned to cope without the luxury of medication.  Tough decision... I just really want to try and live again without expensive medications and possibly the mental illusion that they make everything better.  Life is still difficult, no doubt, but we all are some unique combination of genetic material.  Who must decide what is the wrong combination?  Natural selection has gotten us this far somehow.  Has anyone else quit their medication and experienced terrible consequences?  Has anyone quit their medications succeeded without returning?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1441
   Posted 11/11/2006 5:10 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi DJ,
I have been experiencing that same thing as you. Doesn't it feel great? I am finally on the least amount of meds now then when I was first diagnosed. I have always been open with my Psych doctor and have discussed with him many times when "I thought" a med change was is order. Sometimes he agreed and sometimes he didn't.
I would suggest that you talk with your Psych and tell him/her exactly how you have been feeling and that you think you would like to try to ween off some of the meds. The doctor's will know whether it's time for you or not.
Don't go off the meds by yourself. Most need to be tapered off. You got this far which is a tremendous feat. Don't jepordize your situation by taking matters into your own hands.
Ever time I took myself off a medication by myself I suffered the consequences and took 2 steps backwards. Please discuss this with your doctor.
Glad to hear your finally feeling better. Keep us posted.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1529
   Posted 11/11/2006 3:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi D_J,

Welcome to HW! -- It's so good to see you joining in and helping others already -- and to find out more about you. :)

Many people with bp get to a stage where they think "hey, things are stable. I could come off the meds". Please don't be mistaken: with bp, you *have* to stay on your meds: bp is not an "I can learn to cope better on my own" condition. There is a seriously high incidence of very bad mania/depression coming on within 6 months of coming of med for bp sufferers: it's like if you had diabetes that was under control and you thought "hey, people eat candy every day: I'll just learn to cope with it better".

Do what Sukay says and speak to your pdoc. He/she will be able to talk to you in much more detail about what's needed and what's not -- and make sure that this is the case if you have one of those pdocs who is a bit officious and doesn't normally take the time!!

Also, keep reading up on this condition: you will find out just how much you are not alone -- in bad times and in good times! :)

Rosie x


People are not like fish: they do not work well battered.

When I'm not in my right mind, my left mind gets pretty crowded...


Moderator, Bipolar Forum

Post Edited (CounterClockwise) : 11/11/2006 4:29:29 PM (GMT-7)

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 105
   Posted 11/11/2006 4:13 PM (GMT -7)   

D_J, a little while after I was first diangosed with bipolar disorder I decided to go off my mood stabalizer.  I then just stopped seeing the psychiatrist, and only saw the psychologist.  The psychologist figured out I wasn't on my meds.  Strangley enough she then told me that since I had been doing fine for about 3 months off meds, she didn't think I had bipolar disorder.  This is exactly what I wanted to hear.  Unfortunately, this woman didn't know what she was talking about.

I was doing really well off meds for almost a year.  However, then I crashed with a full blown manic episode.  I ended up in the hospital.  I almost didn't finish the semester of college.  All my professors knew about what happened, and it was really embarrassing.  And it was really hard to get stable again.  I say that I hit the lowest low that I have ever been in after I came out of the mania.  The worst part of it was that I knew that it wouldn't have happened if I had only stayed on the meds.  I knew that I could have prevented my life falling to pieces.

D_J, what meds are you currently on?  I know that it is vital to be on a mood stabalizer.  However, I know that they might add or drop other meds.  Like if you are on an antidepressant and have not been depressed, they might taper the dose and see how you do.  Sometimes, during a mania they use an antipsychotic.  However, once you are stabalized for a while they might discontinue the antispychotic.  I would at least talk to your doctor about the best options.  You also mentioned expense.  Some of the mood stabalizers are cheaper than others, so you might want to bring that up too.  I have found it is always best to be upfront with the psychiatrist.  They are in that field so they can help people.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 285
   Posted 11/11/2006 4:53 PM (GMT -7)   
DJ, I can understand wondering whether you should be on medication or not. If you see my post I wrote just now, I'm a bit fed up and scared of it all myself.

But unfortunately, this is something we can't just 'get over' or 'cope with', it's a very serious, and often debilitating, condition.

If you are wondering, go and see your psychiatrist. Talk to them about the possibility of whether this could just be from substance abuse. But don't stop your medication before doing so. Besides, stopping medication suddenly can cause all sorts of bad effects!
You can explain to them why you feel that perhaps you shouldn't be on medication, then they can see what they think and talk it through with you. It may be that they agree you could be on less at the moment, with the option of going back up if you get into a situation you can't quite cope with.

Best of luck!
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome from birth - Diagnosed 1999
Fibromyalgia from birth - Diagnosed 2005
(?) Ulcerative Colitis - waiting for tests
(?) BiPolar

Epilim Chrono 500mg at night (Sodium Valproate)
Lofepramine (Feprapax or Gamanil) 70mg at night.
Quetiapine (Seroquel) when needed.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 30
   Posted 11/11/2006 7:45 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks everyone for your responses,
I do know in the back of my mind that discontinuing my medications is probably not a good idea. Its just something that comes up every time I have prolonged (years) periods of stability. Right now, I'm taking 150mg of Wellbutrin XL and 200 mg of Lamictal daily. In the past, I've taken Seroquel (unsure of the dosage) for episodes of mania, which wasn't a pleasant experience. Perhaps unfortunately, my extremely long periods of mania (3 months or so) have caused very few consequences. However, its the contrast between this and the following depression that has made me feel terrible for being two seperate psyches who cannot exist together. Anyway, my psychiatrist at a branch of Mayo clinic is very good and I will talk to her next month for her expert opinion. Again, thanks for your feedback.


New Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 11/12/2006 5:46 AM (GMT -7)   
HI there. I read your post, and there were a couple of things that came to mind. THe first was that I hope that you will celebrate your stability by considering all the aspects of it tha tyou appreciate. Make a list of what you have been able to enjoy while you have been stable, and a list of the things that you love being free from. THen look carefully at that list. Do you want to take a gamble and give up the perks? Want to take a chance on revisiting the lows? That is what you have to be willing to take on if you change meds on your own.

If you really think you don't need them .. clear it with your Dr. That will verify your theory, one way or the other. (And you can feel good about knowing that no matter what happens, you cleared it with a professional .. that takes the blame off of yourself if there is a med change ... who needs anything else to feel guilty about ) But please please please don't change anything on your own. I know that I can relate to not wanting to need meds. For lots of reasons. But I have been down the 'I'm ok now' path off and on for 10 long years ... and God help me on this one .. but I am hoping that I NEVER go down it again. It feels good to feel GOOD ... do what it takes to hold on to that. For your sake, and for the sake of the people who love you.
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