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 Schizophrenia: Specific Topics
 Coping With Psychosis
 psychosis recovery/Abilify
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brenny
Full Member (100+ posts)

116 Posts
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Posted - 10/19/2010 :  21:53:38  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Reply to Topic
Hello everyone,

I had what my doctor called a drug-induced psychosis in March 2010. Prior to my psychotic episode, I was a heavy pot smoker. I quit smoking marijuana January 28, 2010 and immediately after started experiencing really bad insomnia and anxiety attacks. Basically all of the stress of university and relationships came to the surface and I didn't know how to cope. After 2 months of little to no sleep and and about 2 anxiety attacks per week I finally snapped and admitted myself to hospital, where I spent 3 weeks while the doctors tried to stabilize me.

During my psychosis I felt like everyone was watching me, like I was being setup for something, worried that my food was being drugged... Basically paranoid about everything. I didn't hear voices in my head, but I would hear music looping in my mind uncontrollably.

Since I snapped out of it, I've looked back on it as the most embarrassing experience of my entire life. It hurts to remember the things that I said and the way I behaved during that time. I have however, managed to make what I believe to be a full recovery - minus the fact that I am still on 10mg of aripiprazole (Abilify) daily.

My biggest concern through the whole process has been to live life drug-free, including prescription medications. I'm trying to push my doctor in the direction of taking me off the meds but he's been very cautious and doesn't want to rush anything. He's even suggested that there may be another medication right for me once I stop with the Abilify. I don't understand why I would need anything else, nor why once a full recovery has been made I should stay on the meds.

I'm also unsure as to what I can expect coming off of the medication, and what my risk is for a repeated episode... Will I go psychotic again when I stop taking Abilify? I just don't see how that is possible. Perhaps someone on this forum has been through multiple episodes, or on and off medications and can tell me more about their experiences.

Thanks,
Brenny
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Rainbowfish
Incredible Member (2000+ posts)

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Posted - 10/20/2010 :  00:34:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Reply to Topic
Hi Brenny I want to welcome you to MT! I don't have any experiences like yours but I am going to post a link in our main social forum so someone might be able to help.

RAINBOWFISH
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stigmastomper
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Posted - 10/20/2010 :  03:45:49  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Reply to Topic
welcome brenny.




LIVE FREE OR DIE!
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jodartha
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Posted - 10/20/2010 :  05:50:16  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Reply to Topic
Hi Brenny,

I wanted to welcome you to MT along with everyone else. I hope that you enjoy your stay and choose to stay a while.

While I have not been hospitalized or psychotic (to my knowledge), I do have experience working with people that have been ill. I would recommend that you follow your doctor's suggestions completely. While it may not seem that you are ill or that you will become ill again, it takes some time for the body to recover from drug induced psychosis. In fact there is recent research that links marijuana use with onset of schizophrenia in adults. That said, it is vitally important that you treat your body and mind as delicate for some time. Your doctors know you best and give you were so ill in the past, you may not want to completely trust your own decisions for a while.

I would encourage you to discuss your concerns with your doctor. He may want to switch your medications and for that...I would encourage you to ask him what his reasons are.

Mental illness, may seem embarrassing (*I have had great difficulty accepting that I have repeated depressions ) but what is worse is letting it get out of hand and surprise you again later.

If you are lucky, you will never experience an illness or psychotic break again...but just in case you aren't so lucky, then consider taking the safest possible path to continued wellness.

I wish you health and wellness in your future, and I hope to see you sharing with us here at MT.

Most Sincerely

Jodartha

ďA man can never hope to be more than he is if he is not first honest about what he isnít.Ē
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FLMgirl
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Posted - 10/20/2010 :  12:06:28  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Reply to Topic
Hi Brenny,

Welcome to MyTherapy. Jodartha has some good points. Although I have not had a psychotic episode either, I have stopped medication for my problem thinking I was okay and didn't need it anymore, only to find out that the medication was doing its' job and helping me. It took a little while, but I sunk lower than I have ever been in my life. Through that experience I have come to realize that I will always be on an anti-depressant. For the rest of my life. It is what it is. But it is the best thing for me.

And it is probably the best thing for you too. But it can be hard to come to terms with an illness. Your doctor has your best interests at heart. You need to trust him, so ask questions, and get answers. If he is not willing to share his plan for your care, and what and why he has you on the meds he has you on, then that is another story.

MT is a good place to find others who have experiences like yours to share. Plus, there is a wealth of information here about all things psych. So, sit back, kick your feet up and jump in.

Again, Welcome!

--Leigh

It is, what it is, and lately, it's better.
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lowlyworm
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Posted - 10/20/2010 :  12:42:58  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Reply to Topic
Hi Brenny, I had an experience very similar to yours. I was a heavy pot smoker when I had my first psychotic episode. I also was very embarrassed about it afterward. I'm sure you think that the psychosis was only caused by the pot smoking and since you've quit you won't be psychotic again - I thought the same thing, until I had another episode when I was weed free. Your doctor wants to keep you on the meds because that decreases your chance of a relapse. I sympathize with your desire to be totally drug free (I would love to be) but in your situation it isn't the best idea. I would consider how badly you want to stay mentally healthy and consider that when you decide weather or not to go off meds. There is a chance that it was just drug related and you may never have an episode again. You just don't know until it happens (I have now had 2 psychotic episodes and am now diagnosed schizophrenic). I don't mean to scare you but it's important to take these things in a cautious manner. Best of luck to you. Lowly
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brenny
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Posted - 10/20/2010 :  14:42:40  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Reply to Topic
Thanks for the welcome guys. I've been looking for a safe place to speak my mind for a while now and this forum seems like the perfect outlet.

@ Lowly, I was just wondering if you wouldn't mind telling me a little more about your second psychotic episode. What was it like in the beginning? Like, could you not feel it coming on and recognize what was happening? I feel like if you've been psychotic once, you would know what to expect with a second episode and be able to sort of control the situation. I'm just curious, and terrified of relapsing you know.
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brian126
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Posted - 10/20/2010 :  15:07:05  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Reply to Topic
I have experenced similar problems, not drug induced however.
Let me think on this and try to respond later.
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lynn2150
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Posted - 10/20/2010 :  16:04:27  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Reply to Topic
Hi Brenny,

I used drugs in the 70's and ended up with amphetamine psychosis,

I had to stop using all street drugs, Pot mainly, and go on anti-psychotics,

I hated the AP's, too many side effects for me,

The new ones are much better, except for the weight gain.

I hope that you stay on your meds, and stay away from Pot, (pot these days is so strong compared to the old pot)

You will be fine, and we welcome you, and hope you stay

I have been off of my anxiety meds for a few days, and feel edgey,

please bear with me .

Lynn

.
.
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lowlyworm
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Posted - 10/20/2010 :  23:30:40  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Reply to Topic
@Brenny, I was able to feel it coming on but it took me several months before I really took it seriously and realized it for what it was. I think also that I'm in the minority here - a lot of people with schizophrenia (or psychosis) are not able to realize what is happening to them, this is called having insight into your illness. With my second episode it started slowly with me thinking people could read my mind. At first I didn't really notice it but it gradually got worse and worse. At the same time my parenoia got worse and worse. Eventually I had to acknowledge that I was sick and told my doctor what I was feeling. It's taken me a good 6 months to recover. I think I could have recovered faster if I identified it sooner. I hope next time I am able to. (Actually if we're hoping for things I hope there never is a next time ).
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paigey
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26 Posts
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Posted - 10/27/2010 :  10:03:05  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Reply to Topic
Hey, im in the same place right now . mine wasnt drug induced and i wasnt hospitalised . im on the same medication which i really want to stop taking ! i just hate having to take it and be different ! and you cant take drugs or exceed a few units of drink .

i was paranoid too but i also saw and heard things such as mucic ringtones or people shouting at me . im really intersted in talking to you .
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brenny
Full Member (100+ posts)

116 Posts
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Posted - 10/27/2010 :  22:00:21  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Reply to Topic
Hey paigey, I also heard the occasional phone sound (like the alert tone my phone makes when it's battery dies). Since I've been on abilify I haven't had any auditory hallucinations.

It definitely sucks to be on meds that you don't wanna take. That's been my problem for the last 8 months but without them I don't think I'd have recovered as well as I have. I also don't ever want to relapse into another psychosis, and for the time being that means I need to stay medicated.

Just fyi, I've read that if you stop taking abilify abruptly you'll go into another psychosis. So what I'd recommend is to go with your doctor's plan and they will wean you off when the time is right. At least, that's been my experience thus far.

And about the alcohol.. It sucks! No drinking while on abilify. I'm a 20-year-old university student who was accustomed to the party lifestyle up until my hospitalization, and since then I've had to learn how to have fun without substances. I still go out with my friends even if they're drinking but it kinda sucks always having to explain why I can't drink. I usually just tell ppl that I suffer from insomnia and have to take "sleeping pills" and that's usually enough so as not to arose suspicion.

Definitely looking forward to the day I can enjoy a beer again.
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lowlyworm
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Posted - 10/28/2010 :  00:15:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Reply to Topic
brenny, thanks for the info about abilify. I'm in the middle of switching over to abilify because I'm starting to develop tardive diskinesia. Do you have any side effects on abilify?
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brenny
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Posted - 10/28/2010 :  09:59:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Reply to Topic
When I started on abilify I had a lot of drowsiness throuhgout the day despite getting adequate sleep. I also had minor constipation from it. These side effects went away after about a month or two when my body got used to the medication.

Sorry to here that you're developing tardive dyskinesia, lowly. On abilify I was worried about that too, so my doctor ran a test on me to check if I was getting it. He told me to close my eyes and stick out my tongue. When I did this I didn't know it, but my tongue was twitching very slightly... So I guess you could say there is risk for tardive dyskinesia on abilify, but at least in my case it's not very severe.
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paigey
Starting Member

26 Posts
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Posted - 10/29/2010 :  08:26:44  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Reply to Topic
hey i havent suffered any type of hallucination since being on the medication .

yeah its annoying when your mates ask why you aint drinking and it does really suck . why i want to stop taking it is to see things again ! why do you want to stop taking your meds ? x
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brenny
Full Member (100+ posts)

116 Posts
Gratitude: 133

Posted - 10/29/2010 :  12:51:49  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Reply to Topic
I want to stop taking meds because I want to live a normal life again... I want to be confident again. I want to be more social. I want to be free of any substance (except go back to occasional alcohol use with friends in the care-free way I was used to before my episode). Basically I want my doctor to slowly but surely decrease my dose, and eventually take me off of the abilify. So far that is my doctor's plan, and my hope is to be free of psychotic symptoms when it is all said and done. Overall, the main goal is to avoid a second psychosis. So far so good, but I'm still very unsure about what the future holds.
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