Lithium Possibly Helping Tinnitus — Feeling Hopeful

Discussion in 'Support' started by cjb2811, Jul 23, 2016.

tinnitus forum
    1. cjb2811
      No Mood

      cjb2811 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Lamictal & Tegretol
      Hey folks. I've been on and off this board for two and a half years now and have had quite the journey with tinnitus. Mine was caused and then exacerbated by psych meds, specifically Wellbutrin, Lamictal, and Tegretol. At one point I had the miracle of it going away for a few months, but upon taking Tegretol it came back. (See my other posts for my full story, at one point during which I was suicidal.)

      I have recently started working with a truly brilliant psychiatrist, which has made me realize just how ineffective many doctors I had seen in the past were or that some of them even made my mental health worse. There are a lot of really shitty "doctors" out there. But that is beside the point for me because of this absolute genius I have found.

      My psychiatrist has used clear evidence to make me understand I do have Bipolar II Disorder, and that is what must be treated if my depression is ever going to lift. Given what Lamictal and Tegretol did to me, drugs of the anticonvulsant class were out of the question, so he prescribed me Lithium Carbonate, which he said would work synergistically with the Latuda that I already take. It has been two and a half weeks now and we have gotten the dosage up to 1,200 mg daily. In the past few days I have noticed a clear increase in my mood, and while my tinnitus is still there, it is bothering me less. This is very encouraging for me, as this is exactly what happened the last time my tinnitus improved, although this was a natural change in my mood last time, no medication involved. However, I have a lot of hope both in this new medication and the most intelligent and compassionate medical practitioner I have ever met.

      Looking back on the past ten years of my life, I realize it has been dominated by my mental illness. The "up" periods of hypomania where I make bad decisions and get myself into trouble and the "down" periods of depression where I can't even get out of bed. And the fact that I can flip so quickly between the two, usually from up to down. My doctor is convinced that we can use medication get my symptoms into remission and also feels there is a good chance that once I am stable the tinnitus (or at least the emotional effect it has on me) will subside as well. I am feeling very, very hopeful. :)
       
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    2. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      I'll be deeply curious to hear what you have to say about this 12 months down the line.
       
    3. cjb2811
      No Mood

      cjb2811 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Lamictal & Tegretol
      @linearb I know from our messages in the past you are generally anti-medication. Do you mean this in a truly curious way or more of a skeptical one? Either way is fine, I'm just wondering.
       
    4. Penate

      Penate Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/04/2015
      Yeah me too, this guy every time someone mentions medication he jump like spring,we know there no good but when you needed you needed .
       
    5. whale
      No Mood

      whale Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/25/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Myofascial crap Bruxism, a jackhammer, stress who knows
      I agree with your Dr. Once you can get your mental health in order your mind should be able to habituate, and recover.
       
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    6. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      I meant that I'm interested in your experience and will be interested to hear how it develops. I certainly hope you are on to something for yourself, and that if things continue to go well you come back to give us an update.

      Also, have you noticed any side effects from the lithium? I was on it for a while decades ago, seem to remember some shakiness and stuff, but I was probably on other meds at the same time so who knows.

      I have seen some (placebo?) mild mood improvement from occasional supplementation with lithium orotate, but the dose of lithium involved there is a tiny shred of what you get from a pharmaceutical.

      I would never disparage anyone for reasonable experimentation with drugs, as long as they are well informed and have reasonable expectations. The general reason for my hair trigger on this issue is that I have been active in a number of other communities where psych meds of one kind or another are also quite common, and, cynically, am not convinced that on the whole the average person benefits from such things. This is not a condemnation of psychoactive drugs; I have taken plenty in my life, and still do on occasion. There's a tremendous difference between someone like @cjb2811 (who has an established history of suffering, trying different things, and it sounds like a reasonable and healthy relationship with their doctor), and someone who presents at an ER with acute severe anxiety, is dc'd with a bottle of Xanax, and then continues to refill it every month from their PCP who subsequently gets cold feet and has them discontinue the drug in a 2 week period after months of use.
       
    7. cjb2811
      No Mood

      cjb2811 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Lamictal & Tegretol
      @linearb So far no tremors - my psychiatrist did warn me about them but I haven't experienced any. Here are the side effects I am experiencing:

      1. VERY frequent urination. Doc said this would likely pass or he can prescribe something else to stop it. You really have to stay hydrated because Lithium is a salt so extra water + side effect of frequent urination = lots of trips to the bathroom.

      2. The past couple days I just feel a little out of it, like my head is foggy. I'm going to assume that this is my body getting used to the medication and that it will pass.


      Very good point about the Xanax. I have bounced around to over ten different psychiatrists in the past 8 years and I have finally found the right one. He did a full intake, i.e., 8 sessions, some of which were 1.5 hours, before making any diagnoses or writing any prescriptions and also did a very thorough review of my history I sent him outside of our sessions. I trust him inherently as both my psychiatrist and my therapist. Generally psychiatrists are not great therapists, but he is not an outdated practitioner or psychoanalyst - he practices modern CBT and DBT therapy. In that sense the "one-stop shopping" is nice. I have more faith now than at any point since my tinnitus returned over a year ago. I truly believe this man can and will help me, with both my mental health and my tinnitus. I no longer want to live an impaired, frightening life, where I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop (depression). I just want to be stable and happy enough. Will keep everyone posted.
       
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    8. Mario martz
      Creative

      Mario martz Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2016
      If you are feeling better, then this is the right medication!
      good for you!
       
    9. cjb2811
      No Mood

      cjb2811 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Lamictal & Tegretol
      @linearb and others - 1 week update: Lithium seems to be my wonder drug. I feel more balanced than ever. My depressive symptoms have receded but I'm not in a state of hypomania. I have been depressed since March 2015 and in this past week I finally feel normal again. Side effects are minimal: I have to pee a lot and sometimes I feel fatigued.
      Now, what about the tinnitus? Well, it's still there but my emotional response to it is so much lower. If it is there and it doesn't bother me, it might as well not be there, right? I'm not quite there yet, but I seem to be heading in that direction. Making lots of positive changes in life.

      As far as tinnitus goes, it is clearly a lot worse if there is an underlying mental health problem - in my case bipolar disorder. I used to think bipolar disorder is such a big deal and there is a huge stigma. It is only a big deal if it is not treated and you keep cycling through hypomania or mania and depression. In the case of Bipolar II (my case) you spend a lot more time in the downs of depression than the ups of hypomania. I'm 30 years old and look back at the last 8 years of my life since graduating college. On one hand I have accomplished so much but on the other hand my mental illness has wreaked havoc in my life. I would struggle through months and months of depression waiting for it to lift. I got in relationships with absolutely psychotic women with severe personality disorders who abused me - when depressed I took the abuse, when hypomanic I thought I could make the relationship work by doing everything right. Wrong - they are hopeless to have any sort of good life. I abused alcohol. I was arrested twice. I thought I was just fighting my way through life but my amazing psychiatrist has shown me that there is another way to live. And it seems like Lithium is the medication to get me there. My 20's were full of ups and downs but I am confident that my 30's will be much more stable and fulfilling. And I truly believe that my tinnitus will soon be a thing of the past and I will be able to post in Success Stories. It has gotten better before, it will get better again. Thank you for all your support.
       
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    10. JasonP

      JasonP Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      6/2006
      That is fantastic. Any update? How have you been since then?
       

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