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Stopping Medications: What Consumers Have to Say

Speaking From Experience


Updated June 26, 2014

Many people taking medications for bipolar disorder wish they could stop taking their meds. Anyone who does this should do it with the permission and oversight of the prescribing doctor, as stopping on your own, especially all at once, can have serious and even lethal consequences. Stopping medications or reducing/increasing dosage without a doctor's permission is called "noncompliance."

Why do people stop taking psychiatric medications? Why do they consider stopping but decide not to? What happens when they stop? These articles will address all these issues and give you a lot of food for thought as you examine your own attitudes toward taking your bipolar disorder medications.

5 Bad Reasons Not to Take Medications: Reasons 1 and 2
There are more than five bad reasons not to take medications, but in this article we look at some of the most common reasons people either refuse to start or stop taking meds. The common thread in these bad reasons is that they can all lead to serious, even life-threatening problems. Part 1 covers two reasons people don't want to take medications at all.

5 Bad Reasons Not to Take Medications: Reasons 3 and 4
In Part 2 of this article, we look at two of the most common reasons people want to stop taking meds. One deals with mania and the other deals with depression.

5 Bad Reasons Not to Take Medications: Reason 5
In Part 3 of this article, we look at one of the most common reasons people either refuse to start or stop taking meds: side effects.

About Stopping Your Meds: Reasons Why or Why Not
We asked people why they have considered going off their medications. Their answers get right to the heart of the many issues that can cause noncompliance or lead to asking one's doctor to discontinue meds.

Stopping Medications: It Was a Bad Decision
Members of the About Bipolar Disorder forum tell of bad experiences with stopping meds. Problems include the return of mania or depression, severe mood changes, feeling suicidal or winding up in the hospital.

Stopping Medications: It Works Out for Some People
More often than not, those who stop taking their medications experience bad effects. Some members of our forum reported good experiences after stopping their meds. Here is what they had to say.

I Don't Like Relying on Anti-Anxiety Meds
A forum member asks, "My therapist yesterday wanted to explore why I am resistant to the idea of having to rely on anti-anxiety meds to get through the normal stresses of the day ... for some reason I criticize myself for not being able to handle anxiety without these little white pills." In his answer, BrianHost gets to the heart of why relying on meds is not a weakness.

Medication Struggles Continue
As my psychiatrist and I juggle my medications to try to find the right "drug cocktail" to promote mood stability and weight loss, now the insurance company starts to interfere. From About.com Bipolar Disorder Guide Marcia Purse's "I'm Bipolar Journal" series - the introduction to the article below, "Disastrous Medication Changes."

Disastrous Medication Changes
Don't try this at home! Changing medication dosage without a doctor's permission can result in serious problems, as this experience illustrates.

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  6. Stopping Psych Medications: What Consumers Have to Say

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