Be Your Own Advocate In Bipolar Medication Management

It seems many people with Bipolar Disorder are leaving their treatment plan completely up to their doctors. I often hear about how a med is not working for someone or how the side effects are making it not worth the benefits of taking it. When I ask these people if they’ve spoken to their doctor they often say no. Although I love to advocate for people and am happy to offer my opinions and experiences of the drugs I am aware of, I’m here to ask you to be your own advocate as well.

For me, there is nothing more empowering than knowledge. When I first accepted my diagnosis (approximately seven years after being diagnosed) I dove head first into research. I read every book, article, study and paper on Bipolar Disorder. I also read hundreds of Bipolar medication forums with thousands of comments. I wanted the first hand knowledge of the people taking the pills, not what the manufacturer of the medication told a doctor it might do. When I started talking to my doctor about mood stabilizers and antipsychotics he was not impressed, he was worried and wanted to know if I thought I was manic. ABSOLUTELY YES. I mean, no one does research like manic me. I chose which medications I was going to take and my doctor assisted in getting me those medications and monitoring me for extreme side effects while adjusting to them.

Now, I don’t expect everyone is such a control freak or has the time to dedicate a solid month to researching which meds will work for them. Doctors can be good at suggesting which medications might work for you. Be open and honest about all of your symptoms when you’re talking to your doc and you will likely get a good recommendation. When you go home though, don’t just blindly take this medication. Google it. See what other people that have taken it say, the good and the bad. Know that everyone is different and you won’t have the same outcome as anyone else, but it can be helpful to know things like how long it took other people before they felt a difference in their mood or which side effects were worst. When you go back to your doctor you’ll be able to have a more inclusive conversation about your medication management.

TLDR: Your doctor is not your parent or your boss; they are part of your team. Don’t sit on the bench when it comes to your mental health.

The end.


31 thoughts on “Be Your Own Advocate In Bipolar Medication Management”

  1. Great advice…when my doctor first put me on my meds (Lexapro daily and Xanax when I need it) I did my research as well because I was very curious about the side effects. I’ve been keeping a journal where I jot down what I’m feeling (as well as my blog) so that I can take that when I have my appointments with my counselor and psychiatrist. It’s been interesting for sure. Some of the side effects have been spot on and others have been the exact opposite.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I always tell people that the doctor works for them! You are paying him…not the other way around. If he doesn’t listen to you, or treats you like a idiot…find another doctor.
    The best one I ever had was our pediatrician. He listened to me. His view was “you’re the children’s mother. Who knows them better than you?”

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. I did the same with my physical illness. I was surprised that a lot of doctors actually didn’t like it, how many are just listening to what pharmaceutical companies are selling them, and so forth. Empowerment tends to mean more work for the individual becoming empowered. That said, communities such as this have been indispensable for getting on the right track.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. So true, when younger I was so vain I wouldn’t take meds that made me gain wieght. After I got “real” I took control and know every meds, what side effects to expect and if they will pass after the first 6 weeks. Luckily I’ve seen the same doctor for 25 years. Have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had. I would say I’ll try this cocktail next for these reasons and educate him. I get it. These docs don’t or won’t make the time to learn all the new tons of data. I was lucky to have open minded docs that knew that I knew that they knew less about crazy pills than did did I.
    Therefore, besides my three types of meds, I legally added CBD oil and good old THC laden weed.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love love love this reminder. I was with the same psychiatrist for 11 years, and although I genuinely thought I was doing the right things in regards to my treatment with him, it’s clear to me now that I wasn’t. He left me on the same meds for 11 years even though I was having major bipolar episode every 3 months. My current therapist and psychiatrist are in shock about how that could have been the case. I mean, it’s not like I can actually hide what I’m like in the throes of that chaos. And while I’m inclined to place a lot of blame on him, I also haven’t been the greatest at advocating for myself in a clear and direct way. Luckily, living is learning and I’m working on this skill.
    Thanks for your insight, it’s brilliant as always ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Definitely! Good read 🙂 I left it up to chance for a long time because I felt like nothing was working and too much was better than not enough. It wrecked my body-internally and externally. Now, I have a different plan. I think it would have worked better if my emergency bottle of Zyprexa hadn’t been so old. LOL. After getting a new bottle I was like-huh-that’s why my manic episode lasted so freaking long.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. My doctor is my dealer I ask him for benzodiazepines and he give it to me. I use the medicación only when I need it.For instance these last theys I was to much happy: I ts time for lithium for some days


  9. This is true but my ex Dr told me to stop googling and wanted to know what sites I was on, what FB groups what I searched ect. Then told me I should not be googling and that she was the one who studied. Also that the side effects were now in my head because I read what the side effects were. I am proud to say I finally left her.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. If your doctor ended up accepting your views about which medications to try then your research must have been effective. It certainly doesn’t sound like your conclusions were the product of an over confident manic mind like they suspected at first. I couldn’t agree more with the view that patients shouldn’t blindly accept medication advice or orders. Although a psychiatrists knowledge of medication is vast, sometimes the patients has the experience to know which one works best for them.

    Liked by 1 person

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