Our friend Lithium

The most common treatment for bipolar is Lithium (used as the base and combined with anti-psychotics, etc). I always think of it as just being salt. But there is a lot to lithium and how our levels need to be spot on.  I now go for bloodwork monthly rather than every six months because my lithium levels were slipping.

The medication itself can cause a number of side effects:

  • Tremors
  • Thirst
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight gain
  • Impaired memory
  • Poor concentration
  • Drowsiness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Hair loss or acne
  • Thyroid problems
  • Sudden death

I have most of these side effects.  I take propronolonol for the tremors and magnesium for the vomiting.  It is a terrible cycle of side effect = more medications. In total, I am on 9 different meds.  But lithium is the most important. 

I’m not going to lie, the sudden death one has me a little freaked out.

Over the  years, I have had a really tough time with weight gain.  So much so that I have come off my meds without telling anyone.  It usually takes a week before my partner notices and trots me back to the Dr for a stern lecture about the importance of being medicated. 

Fast Fact

It is next to impossible for a bipolar to obtain life insurance in Canada due to the fact that a) we have manic and depressive episodes and b) we are on lithium.  I personally have been denied by three companies alone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *