kept the flowers

Bipolar update: Thanks for effing up my thyroid

on 06/07/2012

It occurred to me that I haven’t really written about my latest struggles with bipolar (except the ever-present depression, of course).

The biggest develithiumlopment is that lithium has not only made me gain weight, but now I’m hypothyroid. Joy. So, I get to take yet another pill and I can’t stop lithium—the thing causing the problem—until my thyroid is fixed.

This is a pretty common problem that lithium takers experience. The super fun part is that even after you go off lithium, your thyroid may be permanently changed. What I’m struggling with right now is the idea that I can’t start tapering off lithium immediately. This is coming from my psychiatrist. She thinks tapering now would mess too much with my thyroid levels (well, yeah) and that it needs to be fixed before we can do that. Myself, I tend to think that getting the thing screwing it up out of my body would help, but that’s just me.

I’ve started on a thyroid med with my general practitioner, but will see an endocrinologist in a few weeks. They may be able to dig a bit deeper into the issue (or just re-re-confirm that it’s caused by lithium). I’m hoping they will have a different opinion on going off lithium sooner than later.

I have questioned why bipolar people notoriously don’t take their meds. But I have to imagine that the majority of them are on meds that don’t work and/or give them obnoxious side effects. Dealing with both of these currently, I can now understand getting fed up, frustrated, and hopeless and tossing them aside.

I still hold out hope that something will work. The plan is to keep increasing lamictal and taper off lithium. But since I’ve been depressed even taking both, the fear that the three big guns for bipolar (depakote, lithium, lamictal) will fail is creeping in.

What meds would we try after this? Is my bipolar depression going to be nearly impossible to treat?

We shall see. Further bulletins as events warrant.


5 responses to “Bipolar update: Thanks for effing up my thyroid

  1. Manda says:

    Yikes, I’ve been on lithium for 4 years now and have only experienced a little bit of weight gain. It’s hard to tell if it’s the medication, though, or if a more stable mood keeps my appetite steady. I hate having to take medication for the rest of my life and not know the long-term effects of it, but I feel like bipolar disorder is something that needs to be treated. I sincerely hope you find something that works for you!

  2. RaeAnn says:

    I was never on Lithium but on a lot of other mood stabilizers and such for depression and Borderline Personality Disorder. I also gained a lot of weight and my thyroid is off. Both my grandma’s have a messed up thyroid, however I never saw signs of it until the medication. I’m off medication now and still having a hard time loosing weight.

  3. oh goodie! i don’t have to worry about getting hypothyroid from lithium, if i take it. i’m already there!

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