There are a large variety of medications to help treat bipolar disorder including mood stabilizers, anti-depressants, and anti-psychotics, just to name a few. Some people take only one medication or treatment, while others take multiple medication and treatments; everyone’s body is different and reacts differently to medications. Some people do well on a group of medications for a period of time, but after a while the medications don’t work as well as they did initially. A person may slip back into a depression or manic episode.
My last group of medications and ECT treatment worked well enough to bring me out of a major depression and stay out of that depression for about one year. Then, for some reason, I fell back into a depression that I couldn’t get rid of. This happens often because the individual’s body adjusts to the medications and treatments. When this happens, changing medications can be helpful. Medication changes are scary because you never know how you will react, but it’s important to remember that changes can be the solution you’ve been looking for.
Once I had been out of my depression for several months, I decided to stop ECT. Now that I’ve been struggling again with a depressive episode, my psychiatrist and I have made several changes to my medications. When it was apparent that the medication changes were not working, we decided to go back to ECT. It often feels like I’m running out of solutions, but it’s important to remember that there are always new medications and treatments being approved by the FDA.
Over time, your body changes and adapts to its new environment; you adjust to the medication and its side effects. Sometimes, after a while, side effects can lessen or possibly even disappear. This doesn’t happen all of the time, but there is a chance. However, in order for this to possibly occur, it is vital that you take your medication as prescribed every day.
The biggest lesson that I’ve learned from medication changes and dosage adjustments is to never give up. I often think about not taking my meds or stopping treatment without my psychiatrist’s approval, but that would get me nowhere. If I want to change my medications, I must talk to my psychiatrist about it. It’s important to know that our doctors have our best interests at heart and only do things that they believe will help.
It’s essential to talk openly and honestly to your psychiatrist about your meds and your mental health status. When I go to my psych appointment, I generally write down all of my questions, my medication list, and what refills I need. By doing this, I make sure all of my questions are answered. If changes are being made, I always ask my psychiatrist why he is making the change and why he chose that specific medication or dose. No matter how bad it is now, there is always hope for the future.