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Diagnosed today, now what? Im scared x



Aug 10, 2009
Hi I am 24 years old and have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder today.
The dr gave me lithium but I havent to start it until I have been for a blood test and heart rate test, whatever that is?
My dad is bipolar also and he says lithium makes u like a zombie?
Im scared of taking it after that and all the stories I have read, like diorreah (spelling) and hair loss?
Plus all the blood tests.
If I really dont want to take it can I tell the dr and get prescribed something else? What doesnt involve blood tests? It seems really dangerous to me I dont wanna take it.
Help please xxx


Aug 10, 2009
Hi Queenyboo,

How are you today?

I can't help on the meds thing, but all I will say is that all meds effect people in different ways, so you may find that lithium is fine for you.
I was put on citalapram last year and I felt like I went off my head for a few weeks - I was zoning out, I was constantly tired, I didn't know what was going on half of the time - yet my friend is on it, and she's fine. I'm now on fluoxotine and i'm fine!

Why don't you chat to your cons about your concerns and see what they can offer. Like I say, i'm not able to comment on the drugs, but I would have thought that you'd have to blood tests with most meds.

Good luck and let us know how you get on!


Well-known member
Jul 23, 2009
The reason you have to go for a blood test first is because they need to work out if you are physically healthy enough to take lithium. They also need to work out a safe dose for you.
You have to go back for regular blood tests so they can monitor the lithium levels in your blood, too much lithium is toxic and can cause serious damage or potentially kill you.

Although I don't want to scare you with that as too much of any chemical can cause serious harm or kill you anyway. Just lithium is a little more serious.

Was none of this explained by your doctor?


It is understandable that you have fears, anxieties & apprehensions about all this. I take a med, I hate taking it. There are no doubt other viable ways of recovery that do not involve meds; but such approaches are not mainstream; & in fact the mainstream (& most people), deny & ignore the evidence that shows that a large amount of people can recover med free if given the chance. The problem is in finding the support & assistance; from people that are not in total alignment to the Bio-Chemical model.

Don't beat yourself up over it. I have tried my best over the years to recover med free; & due to circumstances, I have had to finally accept that a low dose of med I will likely be on for a while longer.

It is worth making it very clear to the Doctor about how you feel - even maybe writing a letter. But sadly; we are living in a society & a system that promotes the main cause of mental illness as being biological; & the main treatment as meds. & there isn't a huge amount that we can do about that, except hope that one day MH care becomes more enlightened.


Well-known member
Jun 26, 2009
Try not to worry, I'm on lithium and I've not heard about hair loss with it. I was on sodium valporate which was making my hair fall out! So they put me on lithium for that reason, I don't think hair loss is connected with it so don't worry on that one.

Lithium has been very successful for me, I am not like a zombie! I have read about drugs "dampening" senses. Sometimes I think about this, but I know I have to stick on the meds. I am going to ask about this next time I see my CPN

I have a blood test every 3 months, it is just to check the theraputic level ( Between 0.5 and 0.8 I think, don't quote me on that) I know mine is normally around the 0.4 mark but that is the level which is working well enough for me. There was only one time when it shot up to 1! But that was because I lost weight and wasn't drinking enough water and I experienced a "Low". So that is why you need regular blood tests.

It is not a dangerous drug and is not even a drug, it is an element. As long as you drink plenty of water and I heard salt is important too, you should be fine on it hopefully

Let us know how you get on with it:)

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