If I had any doubts about wanting to get off of the last bit of my Zyprexa, they are gone. There is a new study out in Psychological Medicene (an online journal) showing that schizophrenics, as well as people with psychosis due to mood disorders, do much better if they go off of their anti-psychotics. It is there at 2 years, but over time, the effect is much, much bigger. If this effect were a drug, everyone would want it.
The authors say, the people who go off of their meds had a higher premorbid status, and a more internal locus of control. Basically, what this means to me, is that they identify less as psych patients. But still, medication is considered so fundamental to the treatment of psychotic disorders- you would not expect to see this. Not fewer relapses, more periods of remission with no meds.
There was a time I thought I had made my peace with my 5mg of Zyprexa that I was down to. OK, it will take years off of my life. But it is about quality of life, not quantity of life, I told myself. But if it is not even making me better!
I have tried to go off of it before, of course. First because it made me numb. Then because it made me fat. And then when I read about antipsychotics shrinking brain volume- I decided I really had to get off of it. Which, I guess tells you my priorities. You can make me fat, but don't make me dumb!
But in the past, I never properly understood that what I was experiencing when I tried to go off of it was a withdrawal effect. I thought that the insomnia, the mood instability, and often the irritability that followed just proved that I really was bipolar, and really needed the drug. Afterall, my experience with mania had been so severe- although I think that it was all medication induced.
But I am far away from the mania now- years away- that I don't fear it anymore. And I know how to control it, anyway. Going back on tegretol will do it, if I have to. And in the short term, I can knock it out with Zyprexa if I have to. Things won't get out of hand. The short hypomania's that I get, even though sometimes they are mixed and unpleasant, I can handle. Worst case senario- I go shopping. But I don't spend enough even when I do that it is worth medicating myself over. And sometimes I have fun!
I am getting off of Zyprexa. I just don't know how fast. I have been at 2.5mg for a few days, less that a week. I should probably give it a little more. And I should probably call my psychiatrist for some 2.5mg pills so I can cut them in half.
One thing that scares me about going off too fast- besides my normal withdrawal effects. There is this one blogger who says that to withdraw from Zyprexa can itself cause more damage to the brain and body than staying on it, because of all of the things that Zyprexa affects via some of its non-D2 receptor binding. And I don't know what to make of this. So I am taking lots of anti-oxidants, and hoping for the best. But I think slow is better, when it comes to getting off of this- even if I'd like to do it faster.