Bipolar Disorder Medications Side Effects Tip

I take a lot of Lamictal for my bipolar disorder. (My dose is really high: 700 mg)

This can be hard on the system if I only take it during the day. I now have it on a 24 hour cycle. I take half throughout the day and then take the rest throughout the night.

It’s hard to keep track of bipolar meds- I find it very frustrating, upsetting, worrisome, etc when I look at my daily bottle and all the meds are sitting there. I forgot to take them! That happens rarely, but it’s still a problem.

Here’s what I do to remember my meds. I have an empty bottle that I fill every day with my Lamictal dose. I put that in my bag and take the half of the meds. Then I come home and empty the bottle on my counter next to a glass of water. I take a pill, then [ Read More ]

What drugs interact with bipolar disorder medications? What about over the counter supplements?

All drugs can interact with bipolar disorder medications. Many times a health care professional will say that a certain medication will not affect bipolar disorder symptoms and this can be quite untrue. For example, steroid use such as cortisone is often given in small doses in very specific areas of the body. You may hear that the drug will stay in one spot and not affect moods, this is not the case. All medications go through organs including the brain and can affect moods. Check carefully before you take a small dose of anything.

Oh this is so true! I have had reactions to cortisone, valerian, amino acids, birth control pills and so many more! I had a reaction to homeopathic lithium!

There are MANY over the counter drugs, supplements, vitamins, minterals,etc that can interact with bipolar medications as well as affect brain chemistry seperately. I recently tried a new amino acid called NAC and [ Read More ]

BP Magazine Blog: Why Can’t I Take Anti Depressants or ADHD Meds if I Have Bipolar Disorder?

I am a regular columinist and blogger for BP Magazine. (If you don’t alreade receive this publication, it’s amazing. Especially for family members and partners.)

My BP Magazine blog is normally separate from this blog, but the one this week is so imporant, I want to post it in two places.

Here is the first paragraph of the blog- you can then click over to the mag site to read the rest:


Why Can’t I Take Anti Depresants or ADHD Meds if I Have Bipolar Disorder?

The answer is that you can- in some very carefully monitored situations. One of the main problems I see in my coaching clients is where a child or partner has a manic episode due to taking an antidepressant or stimulant. It’s a [ Read More ]

I need help with a book chapter!

My coauthor Dr. John Preston and I are writing a new chapter to be added to our book Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder. It’s on the topic of medications as I didn’t cover it in depth in the first edition of the book. I spent more time on medications in Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder.

I really could use your help with this new chapter in two ways. I need to hear some medication success stories from partners of people with bipolar.

How do medications help your partner and your relationship?

Then, I need people to finish this sentence:

I’m thankful for my medications because…….

I have plenty of stories in the chapter about the difficulties of taking bipolar illness medications, but I want some positive as well!

I will start….

I am thankful for [ Read More ]

A medications and weight gain newsletter is coming soon!

My counter once looked like this! Just kidding.

Yes, after a brief hiatus the newsletter will be out soon. This is a great one: a four part series on bipolar disorder medications and weight gain. What a topic. I know it has been a serious worry of mine since I started medications in 1995.

The newsletter series explains the ins and outs of the weight gain, tells lots of stories and offers ideas on how to stay on bipolar meds and maintain a healthy body. I also cover the topic of metabolic syndrome. It is for those with the illness as well as family members, partners, friends and health care professionals.

Let’s work together on this. It’s a serious issue in so many ways. We need a plan that covers all areas of bipolar disorder management- [ Read More ]

Newsletter: EMpower (True Hope) Supplements for Bipolar Disorder

I recently received a common from Alex about the over the counter mental health supplement ‘EMpower’ from the manufacturer True Hope. He wrote in response to my blog post on the potential dangers of EMpower and other such natural supplements. I have replied below.

Hi Julie,

My father killed himself when I was only two years old, after only a few weeks of manic behavior (his condition went undiagnosed at the time). Twenty years later, my sister was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder after a few months of insane and dangerous behavior. She spent two days in a mental institution before being released. She slept about four hours every two days, and would swing from extremely hyper to drowsy/lethargic in a matter of minutes. My family and I spent two weeks keeping her on round-the-clock suicide watch. During this period, we kept her on the proper loading dose of EMPower (which I think was something like [ Read More ]