Madness Radio: Coming Off Psych Meds Laura Delano


First Aired 8-1-2012

What do you do when medications for your emotional problems become worse than the problems themselves? Laura Delano went to a psychiatrist at age 18, and for the next decade was prescribed nineteen different psychiatric drugs. After devastating physical and emotional effects, she began a journey to become medication free -- and re-discover who she is. What lessons did she learn? Laura blogs regularly about her experiences at Mad in America, works for a mental health agency in Massachusetts, and is an advocate for drug alternatives and safe withdrawal. http://www.madinamerica.com/author/ldelano/ (Link to coming off meds guide: http://willhall.net/comingoffmeds/ )

Like Joanie, Hi everyone.

I have such a long, sordid story about psych drugs (don't we all?) but I made a sudden connection this week that simply astounds me, and I wonder what you might think of it.

My Dad had bipolar one. I'm of the belief that manic depression is inherited, and I "got" his bp one gene. Symptoms of bipolar disorder were totally latent in me for a long time - this is important fact to note.

When I was 26 I had the first major depression of my life (1996) that was totally understandable - my live-in boyfriend and I broke up after 5 years together & I fell into depression; he had bipolar and had cheated on me with a born-again Christian. I saw my first shrink when that happened, I was totally alone and without any support,
and he put me on Paxil and diagnosed me with bipolar II. I didn't go into mania, but I think with all my heart that the Paxil f-'d up my brain chemistry from that point on.

Fast forward to 2007. I had my second child and I had total sleep deprivation for several days, which triggered a manic episode - the first full-blown mania of my life. After that occurred, I was diagnosed with bipolar one and the drug parade shitstorm ensued - i have taken 18 or 19 asstd. psych drugs and nothing worked except lithium (although it put me into massive depression/sedation for the past 4 years etc.) and I asked for a round of ECT when my Dad died in 2009 as I was desperate and suicidal.

I have been on Paxil, Zyprexa, Geodon, Risperdal, lamotrigine, Wellbutrin, Buspar, Xanax, Valium, Prozac, Elavil (which made me acutely suicidal within 12 hours of taking it), Abilify, Aitvan, and many other drugs I'm forgetting. It's time for a drug-free life.

Drugs can trigger mental illness. Of that I am sure. A drug (Elavil/amitriptyline) made me want to hang myself with my bathrobe rope. It has been proven that antidepressants trigger mania for those who carry the bipolar gene - I think that happened in the past decade.

Giving someone with latent bipolar one disorder an antidepressant is now known to be TOXICALLY DANGEROUS.

If someone on my health team had known I had bipolar one family history, and that professional made sure I got immediate sleep and perhaps temp. sleep medication, I think this cycle could have been broken.

Also, interestingly, when my Dad had depressive cycles, his psychiatrists *prescribed* sleep deprivation to trigger mania and lift his depression. Sleep deprivation is powerful with people like my Dad and me. If my family history was known before my childbirth, I would have gotten the sleep I needed and again, the bipolar cycle could have been prevented. Instead, two months later I was given antipsychotic drugs and subsequently took tons of other drugs and have been fucked up for a long time...until I started to taper off lithium over the spring and drink a gallon of water a day, which could dilute lithium in my system too, and ever since I've been at a non-therapeutic dose my depression lifted. Hmmmmmmmm.

So, to sum up, I WAS MISDIAGNOSED AND PUT ON A DRUG THAT TRIGGERED MY BIPOLAR ONE SYMPTOMS and started the vicious drug cycle. I am so glad I am tapering off lithium at this time in my life, following advice from the brilliant doctor who was diagnosed with bipolar Liz Miller & has lived life med-free and *well* for almost 15 years. Dr. Miller gives me lithium slow tapering advice on her new blog dr liz miller) Thank you for reading this!!!!

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