Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Mental handicap = a gateway to paradise.

(Edit: This article was written when I was in psychosis.  It is not a representation of what I actually believe in)
Bipolarity is a way of life. A life that we choose and direct. Medication gives us sanctity that we will get better and consoles our wounded soul. Some of us take our medication until we die but the sole problem is that we believe we have a problem. Yes indeed Houston we have a problem.

What is the problem? Honestly what is the problem? The problem is for me that Iam not one with nature. The first caveman didnt fight dinosaurs with a bag of lithium in his hand, he had a spear! He used his brain on how he could out wit the dinosaur and capture it for a feast.

Studies do not prove that medication even works properly but one thing it does for certain is that it hooks you. Once you take that medication and continue it you need a long period of detoxification to completely free yourself. I welcome all medication companies, enthusiasts and loyalists to post their crap about medication for the whole world to see because it makes me proud to know that I can batter you all!

Physically all drugs are effective. Mentally they are all placebos. We are bipolar and that makes us intelligent enough to overcome all the emotions that exist in the universe.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Regular Sleeping patterns help Bipolarity

It is apparent that regular sleeping patterns help bipolar people to remain emotionally stable. The occurrence of lapsing into mania or depression is much higher in bipolar patients who have irregular sleeping patterns. It is advised that people diagnosed as bipolar should engage in more leisure or work activities so that they can function "normally." Regular sleeping patterns involve sleeping and waking up at specific times. The normal amount of sleep required for the average person is 7 hours. As explained in an article I wrote earlier, the human body requires light to sustain itself. So light helps our body if we are awake during the day.

As such it is the time of year when we are all beginning to realize that it is no longer the year 2007 and we must make changes in the year 2008. It is time to complete desired goals and start doing our best. Potentially we can all live a life without medication and together with supplements and maintenance regimes we can reach this objective. We cannot rely completely on our therapists because we also have make an effort. As funny joke says:

How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light-bulb?
It all depends on whether the light-bulb wants to change.

We can visit psychiatrists for years and years but if we don't want to change then nothing will be accomplished. If you want to change then you will and this involves entering a strict regime. 7 hours sleep, routine regimes, supplements and proper intake of medication seems to be the best options available.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Lithium - Bipolar remedy or Exacerbation?

In the late 1800s it was discovered as having mood stabilizing effects but bipolar patients have different viewpoints towards this drug: Lithium. Sting, Evanescence and Kurt Cobain all wrote songs about it and their interpretations highlighted ambivalence around this drug. No one can say for sure whether this drug is the essential choice to treat bipolar disorder but it most certainly is a primary one. It would be interesting therefore to look at how the drug actually works and whether the side-effects associated with it are worth the effort.

Lithium was originally used as a compound to treat gout and by 1970, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration declared its prescription for the treatment of manic-depression as official. For 50 years bipolar people were using lithium as a treatment without any understanding of how the drug actually worked. But in 1998 researchers of the University of Wisconsin pinpointed that it was made an effect on nerve cells in the brain and the receptors for the neurotransmitter glutamate. As such lithium causes the stabilisation of glutamate neurotransmitters ands keeps the 'amount of glutamate active between cells at a stable, healthy level, neither too much nor too little'(1).
(1)Quote is from Marcia Purse at verywellmind.com

We all know the '
half-life of a single dose of lithium is from 12-27 hours (varies with age)'(2) which means that we should be careful not to intoxicate ourselves by taking too much of this drug. It is advised that if you miss a dose you should take your next dose at your next regularly scheduled time and avoid taking more to compensate for the dose you missed. If you overdose it is advised that you seek medical attention immediately. There are many symptoms involved in situations where you might have overdosed: 'nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, muscle weakness, tremor, lack of coordination, blurred vision, or ringing in your ears'(3). 

(2)Quote is from David C. Lee, MD at medscape.com
(3)Symptoms of overdose provided by Cerner Multum at drugs.com

The side-effects of this drug are the most dreaded elements of this compound and even though some explain lithium is worth the effort (despite its side-effects),
others believe that lithium is a burden on their lives(4). Some of the side-effects involved during the normal intake of lithium may include:
  • extreme thirst, urinating more or less than usual;
  • weakness, fever, feeling restless or confused, eye pain and vision problems;
  • restless muscle movements in your eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck;
  • pain, cold feeling, or discoloration in your fingers or toes;
  • feeling light-headed, fainting, slow heart rate;
  • hallucinations, seizure (blackout or convulsions);
  • fever with muscle stiffness, sweating, fast or uneven heartbeats; or
  • early signs of lithium toxicity, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, muscle weakness, tremor, lack of coordination, blurred vision, or ringing in your ears. (5)
  • Other side-effects include acne as well problems associated with a failed kidney.

(4)This list of side-effects was produced by Cerner Multum at drugs.com

Some never experience any of these side-effects but many do and researchers must address these issues. It is said that 1 in a 1000 Americans are on Lithium treatment. The U.S government and other researchers responsible for the production of bipolar treating drugs should make some changes. Ongoing use of lithium can help treat us but it can also harm us significantly. The potential risks of lithium can be enormous if we are "unlucky". Risks involve:

(a)Mild-to-moderate toxicity: Generalized weakness, Fine resting tremor, Mild confusion
(b)Moderate-to-severe toxicity: Severe tremor, Muscle fasciculations, Choreoathetosis, Hyperreflexia, Clonus, Opisthotonos, Stupor, Seizures, Coma, Signs of cardiovascular collapse*

*List of physical problems involved (a to b) have been gathered from James G Linakis, PhD, MD 2007 writings on the web.

Evidently while using Lithium we have to be careful to take care of our body. For pe
ople with bipolar disorder this will mean a hard commitment in avoiding over-intoxication and to fight off the sleepiness we feel when taking this drug. Personally I still cannot commit myself to sleep less than 10 hours a day and it is as if I am fighting a sleeping pill. Perhaps a little exercise can help us pill-poppers but excessive exercise in lithium users means more desire for liquids. Overall Lithium cannot be named as our savior but it does help with mood swings.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

SAD and Bipolar disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder is primarily known as too much sleep caused by the absence of light or day-light and it quite commonly appears among many people during the winter season when days becoming increasingly shorter. Researchers argue that with light therapy, dawn simulation, high-density negative air ionization or antidepressants the symptoms of this condition can be cured. This is particularly a case present in countries of the Northern and Southern hemisphere where occasionally day becomes night. As levels of serotonin and melatonin are altered within our body we tend to sleep more and do not feel awake during the day.

The symptoms of SAD are defined as:
  • Lack of energy including increased fatigue, an increased need for sleep, and lethargy.
  • Increased appetite, possible weight gain, and increased cravings for sugar and carbs.
  • Withdrawal from friends and family, relationship problems, loss of libido, and anxiety.
  • Problems with focusing or concentrating on various types of tasks or work.
  • An increase in the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome or PMS, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder which is also called PMDD.
  • Seasonal depression during Fall and Winter.
Bulletpoints quoted from Tracee Cornforth at verywellmind.com

Although this may seem like a fictitious creation of a condition, manufacturers have designed special light therapy lamps for use around the household. The lamps have a power rating of 10,000 lux so it is advised that one doesn't look directly at them. The lamps have timers so that you can set them 2 hours before the time you should wake up and the cheapest ones cost a little more than 100usd. This may be a healthy investment for those bipolar people who believe that sun deprivation maybe the main reason why they can't wake up in the mornings. Light therapy can last from half an hour to 2 hours so it doesn't really impact electricity bills. Turning on all the lights may be even more expensive. Yet I am a firm believer that sunlight is definitely beneficial to the soul and an investment into a light therapy lamp sounds like good money worth spent.