My friend Dyane Harwood of Birth of a New Brain responded to a recent IBPF blog article by Susan Zarit entitled Medications: To Have Or Not, That Is The Question! Susan Zarit of Bravely Bipolar has struggled unsuccessfully to find a medication combination that works. I can only imagine what Susan must go through mood cycling on a daily basis.
Neither Dyane Harwood nor I are medical doctors. Please see a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications and to discuss medication changes. Medication of psychiatric illnesses requires the expertise of a psychiatrist. In my opinion, serious mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, are best treated with medication by board certified psychiatrists. Supportive psychotherapists should be expert in working with our populations. We need more specialized support than, say, relationship counseling.
Dyane Harwood | Tue, 2015-03-03 09:34
Hi Susan! thanks so much for writing about this topic!
I know you wrote that you’ve tried pretty much everything…I’m so sorry —but I wonder if you’ve tried an MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) with lithium? I’m medication-resistant & I have bipolar one disorder. Over the past decade I tried 25+ other meds and I opted for unilateral and bilateral ECT (which worked for my acute bipolar depression with suicidal ideation). I have seen at least 20 psychiatrists and not ONE ever suggested to me to try the following medication that I describe below…
My latest psychiatrist (and the best one I’ve seen) suggested that I try the “old-school” medication of a MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) Parnate for my bipolar one, in combination with lithium. I did some research and found that MAOI’s are suggested to those with medication-resistant bipolar disorder. They have food and dietary restrictions that are more than worth the sacrifice to me, i.e. no alcohol and no foods containing high amounts of the amino acid tyramine. MAOI’s can work even more effectively in combination with lithium. (Two small studies done back in the 1970’s proved that hypothesis and I was impressed with the study results.)
The MAOI and lithium combo. finally worked to alleviate my longtime bipolar depression. I’m so thankful to these medications for helping me get my quality of life back. If even one person is helped by this comment, I’ll be thrilled.