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I didn't tell the doctor I stopped my mood stabilizer

Share Your Story: What Led to Your Bipolar Diagnosis?

By timmo

Updated December 27, 2010

What symptoms did you have before you were diagnosed?

i suffered from hep.c, which the docs assumed contributed to my anxiety and depression. i would exercise rigidly to get fit but what happened was my adrenalin would run almost constantly. i became suicidal and was admitted to the psych ward for 3 months. they got me stable with venlafaxine [Effexor] 225mg slow release, pregabalin 300mg, and olanzapine [Zyprexa] 10mg, but after two years i had treatment to cure hep c i just missed being cured after 6 months treatment. i was two and a half stone overweight and concluded i would have to drop some of my meds to be treated. i cut out my mood stabilizer olanzapine and was ok for 5 months.

What events led to your being diagnosed bipolar?

my psychiatrist put me on 300mg of venlafaxine just as i was about to have my hep.c treatment and i flipped out. i didn't tell her i stopped my mood stabilizer, so she came to the conclusion that i have bi-polar affective disorder and stopped my venlafaxine immediately, which on reflection was a grave error, i got horrific withdrawal from the drug. i've been on so many drugs since and have suffered terribly with anxiety and different side effects. its been 7 months since i've felt ok (before i was labelled as being borderline personality disorder).

Lessons Learned

  • never take your doctor's opinion literally, always research your condition for yourself, your docs see you for a short session every couple of months, they don't know you.
  • never take an anti-depressant on its own with bi-polar without a mood stabilizer because for 10 years i took paroxetine [Paxil] on its own and wanted to fight all the men and screw all the women. i should have gone for help at this stage.

What Is Your Current Diagnosis?

i have bi-polar affective disorder, with an anxiety disorder. i'm currently on 750mg depakote, 20mg olanzapine, 10mg escitalopram [Celexa] and 1mg lorazepam [Ativan].

Do You Agree With the Diagnosis? Why or Why Not?

yes i do agree with the diagnosis, it just took so long coming, especially when 3 other members of my family including my dad had bi-polar

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