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Advice re anxiety meds with bipolar

B

Berg

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 10, 2020
Messages
47
Location
UK
Hi all

Posting in this forum as I have Bipolar Disorder.

I hope you are all doing as well as possible.

A combination of my mood episodes over the last few years and the current climate of Covid-19 has essentially left me a shell of who I used to be. Lithium is working very effectively for me with mood symptoms (no emotional blunting too which I feared)

However although my mood is stable and far from extremes I am constantly battling anxiety - it’s pervasive almost all the time. My psychiatrist doesn’t think I’m comorbid with Generalised Anxiety Disorder as anxiety is a common feature of bipolar related illnesses (the jury is out on that one for me) and has recently prescribed diazepam to take for a couple of weeks to help calm my nerves (it has helped - I was having constant panic attacks) but I’m aware this is a short term fix and want to look at ways to improve these symptoms as I’m also developing agoraphobia and want confidence I’ll be able to enter the world and function in society when the world resumes.

I’m anxious about everything but mostly about what I’ll do when the medication runs out - go back to panic attacks and being afraid? I was having 2 attacks a day (sometimes blacking out entirely) and was left exhausted and physically in pain afterwards.

Does anybody have any advice on how I could speak to my psychiatrist to explore options moving forward? I tried Buispirone but it made me feel like I was going to faint so I had to stop taking it.

It’s just frustrating, depression and mania disappear and are simply replaced by panic and anxiety. I know it’s difficult but Bipolar has cost me everything - my job, friendships, the person I thought I was and although I am confident Lithium is working for those particular symptoms, there is now a completely different set of issues for me to battle with and try to make sense of. I’ve lost the core of who I was to depression and mania and now whatever is left I’m losing to anxiety.

I’m sure many of you will understand and I really do appreciate anyone who takes the time to read this and respond.
 
N

Nina998

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Joined
Mar 31, 2019
Messages
279
Location
Finland
I am sorry to hear your situation is so horrible. Two panic attacks a day... I know from experience how terrible that is and exhausting. Also know how it's like to live in fear every single day. Have you tried antipsychotics? I am on Lithium and Quetiapine and Quetiapine has helped me big time. Not just leveling my mood but especially with anxiety. There are two types of Quetiapine, slow release and immediate release. I take both.

I really don't have any other advice to give but know that you are not alone. There are so many helpful members on this forum. I wish things would work out well for you. I can totally relate to your situation.
 
E

Earl J

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Joined
Apr 2, 2020
Messages
82
Location
Ireland
I also am bipolar and I have found Lamictal keeps me level, I also take Quetiapine at night and it’s great for getting me to sleep. I used to have my worst panic attacks as I lay in bed in the dark of night but Quetiapine has saved me by restoring my sleep.
 
Zana

Zana

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Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
156
Location
England
At the risk of sounding repetitive, Quietapine is working wonders for me at the moment. I still get anxious and have outbursts but it's manageable.

@ Earl - that's a great phrase in your signature, shall borrow that :)
 
B

Berg

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 10, 2020
Messages
47
Location
UK
Hi all

Thank you for your lovely replies but unfortunately Quetiapine never agreed with me - I gained an awful lot of weight rapidly and it’s a shame because it would probably be ideal for me with its sedating properties. :(
 
Zana

Zana

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Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
156
Location
England
I don't know much about other medications but for now I think your best course of action is take it day by day and keep to your prescription until you see your doctor next, and then just be totally honest about how you're feeling. Focus on keeping a food and sleep routine as best you can, music can be a great aid too. Really anything to take your attention.

It's really tough especially with the world the way it is right now but remember that we who fight these illnesses every day just to try and have a normal life are some of the strongest people on the planet - keep strong and have faith that one day you'll find the balance of meds that works for you. The past is written but it is we who write our futures!

God bless!
 
B

Berg

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Joined
Mar 10, 2020
Messages
47
Location
UK
Thanks for your kind replies. I’m now on a mirtazipine lithium combo which is working absolute wonders. My appetite has certainly increased but I’m very disciplined with food anyway so fingers crossed I won’t balloon in weight.

I’ve certainly heard horror stories!
 
CDHeed96

CDHeed96

Member
Joined
May 9, 2020
Messages
10
Location
Peterlee, United Kingdom
Hi all

Posting in this forum as I have Bipolar Disorder.

I hope you are all doing as well as possible.

A combination of my mood episodes over the last few years and the current climate of Covid-19 has essentially left me a shell of who I used to be. Lithium is working very effectively for me with mood symptoms (no emotional blunting too which I feared)

However although my mood is stable and far from extremes I am constantly battling anxiety - it’s pervasive almost all the time. My psychiatrist doesn’t think I’m comorbid with Generalised Anxiety Disorder as anxiety is a common feature of bipolar related illnesses (the jury is out on that one for me) and has recently prescribed diazepam to take for a couple of weeks to help calm my nerves (it has helped - I was having constant panic attacks) but I’m aware this is a short term fix and want to look at ways to improve these symptoms as I’m also developing agoraphobia and want confidence I’ll be able to enter the world and function in society when the world resumes.

I’m anxious about everything but mostly about what I’ll do when the medication runs out - go back to panic attacks and being afraid? I was having 2 attacks a day (sometimes blacking out entirely) and was left exhausted and physically in pain afterwards.

Does anybody have any advice on how I could speak to my psychiatrist to explore options moving forward? I tried Buispirone but it made me feel like I was going to faint so I had to stop taking it.

It’s just frustrating, depression and mania disappear and are simply replaced by panic and anxiety. I know it’s difficult but Bipolar has cost me everything - my job, friendships, the person I thought I was and although I am confident Lithium is working for those particular symptoms, there is now a completely different set of issues for me to battle with and try to make sense of. I’ve lost the core of who I was to depression and mania and now whatever is left I’m losing to anxiety.

I’m sure many of you will understand and I really do appreciate anyone who takes the time to read this and respond.
Hey Berg, I'm so sorry to hear about your situation. I hope things improve, I initially took Buspirone and it made me feel very light headed actually. It tends to wear off over time (well it did for me, and I kept going up the doses until it was too high and couldn't go any further) I take Pregabalin it's really good and I find it even levels out my mood a little. There's alot of stigma attached to it because of people misusing it, I only take 225mg (the highest dose is 600mg) and it works wonders for my anxiety without any real side effects. Hope you get sorted ASAP!!
 
HLon99

HLon99

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Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
931
Location
London, UK
I also suffer from panic attacks comorbid with my Bipolar Disorder. I started getting them even before my first episode Bipolar.
My Bipolar meds (abilify and Lamictal) help control most of the anxiety associated with the Bipolar itself; but do nothing for the panic attacks. I have managed to identify several triggers to my panic attacks, particularly when I remember bad memories from my past. So the trigger is clearly psychological, not psychiatric.

I'm sorry to hear that you're going through this. I understand the temptation to take a pill just to get rid of it, but as you quite rightly said its a quick fix not a long term solution. Valium is highly addictive, and I have known many friends who have struggled with this addiction for months and even years.

Speak to your GP about the possibility of entering therapy for anxiety, it can really be a helpful adjunct to your bipolar treatment as well. But what really worked for me is meditation. As little as 10 minutes a day of the old headspace app can make all the difference!
 
B

Berg

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 10, 2020
Messages
47
Location
UK
I also suffer from panic attacks comorbid with my Bipolar Disorder. I started getting them even before my first episode Bipolar.
My Bipolar meds (abilify and Lamictal) help control most of the anxiety associated with the Bipolar itself; but do nothing for the panic attacks. I have managed to identify several triggers to my panic attacks, particularly when I remember bad memories from my past. So the trigger is clearly psychological, not psychiatric.

I'm sorry to hear that you're going through this. I understand the temptation to take a pill just to get rid of it, but as you quite rightly said its a quick fix not a long term solution. Valium is highly addictive, and I have known many friends who have struggled with this addiction for months and even years.

Speak to your GP about the possibility of entering therapy for anxiety, it can really be a helpful adjunct to your bipolar treatment as well. But what really worked for me is meditation. As little as 10 minutes a day of the old headspace app can make all the difference!
Thanks for this thoughtful response! It has helped a lot. :)
 
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