Ever wonder what all of these meds being foisted upon us to treat our Bipolar Disorder are physically doing to our brains? I stumbled upon an interesting article today on PsychCentral. A recent study identifies antipsychotics, the medications most commonly used to treat schizophrenia, as the more likely culprits of brain volume loss than the long held belief schizophrenia itself is to blame. For those of us BPs, this isn’t stellar news, as antipsychotics are used to treat bipolar mania.
But wait – following a link at the end of the blog produced another interesting tidbit: Lithium Increased Brain Volume in Patients with Bipolar Disorder. While this sounds like a much better deal, for those of us over 40 it may not be so. My pdoc refuses to use Lithium on anyone over 40 (due to kidneys or liver, I can’t recall which).
So, what to do?
Well, it’s obvious that left untreated, Bipolar Disorder can be deadly, so for me, doing nothing is not an option. One thing my diagnosis has taught me is it’s really up to us to be our own advocates, stay informed and not be afraid to question our docs when studies like these are published.
On Wednesday when I go for my next med check, I probably won’t mention these studies since my cocktail (which includes a small does of antipsychotic) finally seems to have stabilized. But I will keep these articles in the back of my mind and continue to research the effects of antipsychotic meds on both the physical brain and their benefits to mental health.