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Readers Respond: Bad Experiences From Stopping Meds

Responses: 26

By

Updated March 14, 2011

It can be dangerous to stop taking your bipolar medications. Have you done this? Tell us about bad experiences you've had from stopping your meds.

got off bipolar meds

I stopped my meds 4 2 weeks thinking I was normal. Ended up suicidal & n a physcward! I 2 thought I could live without my meds! Was I totally WRONG! NEVER STOP THEM ON YOUR OWN THERE CAN B SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES!!
—Guest Krystal

I stopped...

I stopped taking lithium and quetiapine and within weeks I became manic... it was indeed the worst experience of my life. I ended up in the hospital and could not stop thinking about suicide... During my mania I accomplished many great things, I was accepted into a prestigious graduate school, but do to my inability to control my actions and behavior I had to drop out of school.... now I am trying to piece my life back together.
—Guest Brian

jane

6 months jail of meds no doctors to help as I was living rural, someone started a rumor about me went to his house hit him yelled a lot then left no one was hurt still I got six months for house invasion and common assult think closly about quitting doctors and meds
—Guest jane

Rebound Effect of Med Discontinuation

It seems to me that most bipolars who quit meds do so abruptly and without medical supervision. Anyone who does it themselves is doomed to failure. If you want to quit your meds, insist your pdoc assist you in the process. There are a lot of functional bipolars off meds. But that doesn't mean you won't have another episode. There is no cure for this disorder and the meds, in most cases, do not even prevent episodes from happening. If you have a complex form of the disorder, you should probably stay on meds.
—orbeg

It has never worked out

I have quit my meds several times over the past 10 years due to weight gain, "I can control this with my mind", and recently side effects. Within a month or two I would hit full blown mania. I would become delusional. This is very bad, b/c you can no longer help yourself. Your whole mentality changes, your morals, and your goals. The 2nd time was the worst and last time I will ever do that by choice. This time, it is not by choice, but the med has caused dangerous side effects. It has taken me 4/5 months to recover physically from the med. I am now back on a different meds. I made a personal choice, I would rather face the risks of meds, than face bipolar, if that tells you anything.
—Guest bp 10 yrs

no insurance no meds

was diagnosed with bipolar/mania/scitzophrenia 2 years ago...after 2 suicide attempts im surprised im still alive..i have a great dr who helps me thru my days..but as of jan/2010 i lost my health insurance so therefore i had no meds...it has been a horrible expeirience...my days consist of crying,loosing my temper very easily,i hide in my bathroom were its dark cuz i dont like the light..the world to busy and it keeps me from hurting myself,i sleep bout 2 hours a day,im ocd and clean constintly..i hate it. i hate my life and the stresses of everyday life..if it werent for my 2 kids i think i would be dead by now..but i know i have to live for them.my family is absolutely no support..they say its all in my head...i have very little contact with them.i come from a family of 21..nice family i got huh.i know i need meds but they are so expensive and w/o health insurance i just cant afford them..i live on ssd cuz i cant work.i just wish i was normal again and to be part of society.
—xolilme39

my own worst enemy

I have gone off my meds a lot. I have a hard time remembering my meds, My life is so hectic. When I go off my meds, I get really irritable, I laugh a lot about nothing, my moods flip flop all the time. It tires me out the way my moods constantly change. I have rapid cycling. My moods can cycle within days or even hours. I am my own worst enemy. I know I need to stay on my meds. I don't even feel like going out to get them and that is another reason I don't stay on my meds. I hate the way I am when off my meds, but I don't do anything really to stay on them either. I hate it also because I like to write and I can't when on meds. I hope I can learn to stay on my meds because it is better for me.
—Guest robbi

I don't like the way I feel on or off

When I was diagnosed bipolar in June I was ready to start my meds and get on the roed to a better life. It seemed like the meds were working even though the side effects were annoying. Then I ran out and was off of them for a week. By that time I had fallen into the " I don't care" mode. I was miserable, near suicidal, and had no motivation. Getting my meds seemed like too much trouble to go through. Back in January I had a manic episode that almost cost me my job and my best friend. I got back on my meds with a few changes and slowly started feeling better. The expense of the meds and the considerable side effects has caused me to stop and start a few times. At the present I am not taking anything. I am listless and moody. I cry alot for no reason. I sleep alot when I should be getting stuff acomplished. But it still isn't enough to make me start the routine of popping pills again. I am one of the millions of Americans without insurance and mental illness is expensive.
—Kellie0806

going off meds

about a month ago i went off my meds, by accident at first. i had the stomach flu pretty bad, so i couldn't keep anything down anyway. then i just continued within 10 i could tell a difference. i am pretty sure that my husband noticed it too but said nothing. after snapping at my new puppy for messing in the house and after crying on some dumb commerical on tv i decided to go back on them. good idea, but the damage was done. today we went to a birthday party for a friends son. i never thought i had agoraphobia but wow. i started sweating then freezing. heart pumping. and literally thought i was going to tear my hair out. i grabbed my keys and ran to my car (where my xanax is i always have that one hand) i took it but to late. i was crying and freaking with such racing thoughts of what a bad mother i was and that i was useless. i have decided that its obvious i will be on medication for the rest of my life whether i want to or not. so i just have to accept. it.
—Guest missi

Stopped 3 of My 4 Meds...Not Good!

I actually thought a suicide was a murder. I went so far as to call the police about it, as well as tell a minority about what I thought was happening. From there things just went downhill until I got stabilized again. Now, thank God, all is well and I can get on with my future.
—Guest Guest Charlie

stopped taking my meds.

I thought I was doing just great so I stopped my meds. Besides, my husband was getting upset at the cost. I was taking 21 pills a day. Even with Ins. the cost was high. I remember going down hill quite fast, but telling myself I was strong and could deal w/it. My husband said nothing to me so I kept thinking I was fine. Till the 3rd week, when all ---- broke lose. I tried to kill myself. I was totally out of it, and went into a full episode that was just terrible, hurtful, damaging, and nearly ended my life. My husband did not say much when I came home from the hospital and told him I needed my meds or I would not live long. To this day I know he thinks I am weak that I cannot beat this bipolar disorder, but he won't take the time or effort to learn about it either. I fight this alone. My girls who are grown and have families of their own think I am crazy from what their dad tells them. My own family has turned their backs because they don't get it either, tell me it's all in my head.
—Guest Jeanne

I am off

I stopped my med and go for hypnotherapy. It work. I am normal now.
—Guest alina

When I stopped taking my meds!

When I was married, my husband was absolutely sure that I didn't need any medication and that there was nothing really wrong with me. He convinced me to stop taking my meds. Within six weeks I was close to catatonic. We were wallpapering my daughter's bedroom and he was barking orders at me because I was moving so slowly (I was practically catatonic but scared to death of his yelling and my anxiety.) When he stopped to observe me, he said, "There is something wrong with you. I don't know what it is (bipolar disorder) but you need those meds. I haven't stopped in twenty years because that was one scary experience.
—Guest carolnoelle

DAVIDL

As a 50yr old manic bipolar, do I have some stories, way too many to unload at one posting. At 40yrs old I "accepted" my diagnosis after a manic episode nearly got me killed, only ended up in jail with 8 or 9 charges. Then referred to a psychiatrist who was firm with me about medicating properly. I couldn't fool him. My first episode occurred when I was 30yrs old, stress of young children, job etc. But I didn't stop partying. Typical behavior for us...my episodes were always "god like," and after hospitalization, next day I was back to my old self. Unfortunately, no acceptance yet. This went on for the next 10 yrs. Numberous visits to facilities, though nice, still restricted for 1 week, only visits from my young family. I would "self medicate" thinking I was fine, but missing 2 weeks, even by skipping every other day, doesn't work for us! Thank god for family. You need support. Find it where you can. Most importantly don't be ashamed. I'm bipolar and proud.
—Guest DAVIDL

stopping medication

I was on celexa and ativan and since I have no insurance and had lost my job, no income I had to stop taking my medication. Doctors will not see you unless being insured and there is no money to pay for a doctor much less medication. It was a terryfying experience and I would never do it again. The depression became worse, no sleep, anxiety attacks, episodes after episodes, suicidal, mood swings, no focus, no memory, I just trying to find a way out, and no support system. People don't understand the egony and pain.
—Guest duw2711@yahoo.com

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