Bipolar I With Psychotic Symptoms--severe

I was diagnosed as Bipolar I with Psychotic Symptoms--Severe after a three-week ordeal of being in and out of the psych ward and behavioral centers. After being involuntarily admitted to the hospital and racking up $13,000 in debt that I couldn't pay in medical bills (no health insurance), I was discharged on Lithium and Zyprexa. Clearly, I couldn't afford the Zyprexa, so I had to go it alone with the Lithium.

I recommended to my psychiatrist that I get a lithium level lab run after being out of the psych ward for six months, but he consoled me that I was not on high enough of a dose to merit blood tests (1,200 mg per day)(600mg BID). However, approximately five months AFTER that six month mark, my psychiatrist got a new physician's assistant and then decided somehow that my level suddenly needed to be tested even though he had previously told me that the dose was too low for me to ever need blood tests. I presume he was showing off by actually doing his job in front of his new staff member, but after doing a little research, I decided to stop being treated like every other quasi-homeless uninsured person with a mental health condition is.

Since, I have replaced all medication with marijuana, and I continue to research it to learn more.

Marijuana has been shown to improve cognitive functions in bipolar patients (as opposed to making them worse in schizophrenic ones), and it also affects the limbic system and circadian rhythms. When I was psychotically manic, I was lucky to sleep for more than an hour, if at all, but I find that marijuana helps me to get enough sleep, eat, and interact with other people.

The amount of ignorance and blatant fear-mongering around this substance reveals it as something that people simply are not thinking rationally about. Maybe these people cannot be reasoned with, but it is up to us to make our voices heard!
dyadon dyadon
4 Responses Sep 22, 2012

Prescription medication ha been proven to be more health detrimental than anything for sure. Even though aboyscoutgonebad lol is speaking in good faith he or she idk obviously doesn't know everything he or she I talking about. Do what you feel is making your life the best. I'm 21 will be 22 in Nov and I celebrated my 21st birthday 2 years sober from alcohol best decision I have ever made but I will never stop smoking weed as long as it helps me cope with my extreme moods. No matter what ignorance ppl or doctor lay at my feet. Peace love an happiness

I can only speak for my own experience and those of the people I work with.
Huge strides have been made in medication research in the past 30 years, and it continues to move forward exponentially. We have plenty of studies about cannibis, but the public will has not come around to embrace its use... We do, however, know that it can lead to psychotic episodes. I think you can find a psychiatrist that would be happy to work with you on it. It's not "ignorance" that people lay at your feet when they are medical professionals. The public in general is wildly ignorant about mental illness, so talking to friends and family is rarely helpful. Medication, and indeed seeking psychiatric help itself, is pretty much reserved for people whose behaviors have already caused so much chaos in their life that they will seek any relief. Just as alcohol or meth: they work until they don't, and it's usually only then that people consider abstinence or recovery. My view is skewed, obviously, because I work with homeless people whose symptoms have taken their toll. A good number of the younger ones still insist that marijuana "helps" their symptoms, but I have never personally witnessed that to be the case, any more than drinking alcohol or using crystal. But that's just me. 18-21 you have already learned how to rationalize your irrational decisions regarding your mental health self-care. LOL. Most people don't get a "good" diagnosis until much later in life...and just continue making mistakes until the results end up in disaster.
If you can find and afford pot, you are smart enough to find both care and medication that will actually work.
Pot is fun. So is alcohol. There is an extremely high correlation between bipolar and substance abuse. Abuse,,,,not use.That's where you should be doing your research, and it's all all all over the internet. I won't bother to lecture you here, but you're heading off a cliff. I'm not here to judge you; I'm on your side. I know from personal experience.
What I will tell you is that you probably have care and medication available to you at little or more likely no cost, depending on where you live. You need to be connected to your local community heath clinic, of course, but you should be able to get a referral to what is essentially a scholarship for medication from the pharmaceutical companies. A good local support group is important, too. Tons of literature, including a few biographical adventure novels written by folks in your age group who are also bipolar. They make for good enlightening entertainment, and you will be happy to know you're SO not alone in this. One that comes to mind immediately is called "Detour" : ...but read several. My favorite is called "An Unquiet Mind" by Kay Redfield Jamison, who is not just bipolar herself, but also a well known psychiatrist.
The medical/psychological/pharmaceutical communities... and society at large... have learned most of what we know about bipolar in just the last 30 years.
I am not an advocate of medication per se...but it does usually help, especially in combination with other more holistic approaches and just plain conscious living habits. Unfortunately, even with the most expensive doctors and medications, you're mostly on your own to sort it all out, and it's great that you have an inquisitive mind and the intellectual capacity to sort it out. I work with homeless bipolar addicts (in or out of recovery) so I see a lot of what doesn't work, and the negative results of being unsuccessful at navigating the same rough waters you face. I think you'll find an easier, more rewarding path.
I hope anything I've written is helpful to you.

Yours in the journey,
San Diego

I understand what all the protocols say, but frankly, the united states has structured marijuana such that the studies that need to be done relative to bipolar disorder and marijuana cannot be done. You're just as blindly trusting the psychiatry and pharmaceutical industries.
Other studies show that marijuana affects circadian rhythms and biological clock mechanisms and that drug abuse can entrain circadian cycles, which would ultimately stabilize the circadian rhythms and lead to mood stability as it has continued to do for me.
As far as I am concerned, I do not use marijuana recreationally. I consider myself a medical patient as I smoke measured amounts at scheduled times during the day to stabilize my mood and help me get the appropriate amount of sleep.


I too am taking a lot of prescribed medications but am in the UK so they dish them out free and in fairly large quantities. I have used cannabis over the years and believe it can help me with my symptoms. Of course it is not a blind study when I am taking other medications. I think that it is important that the supply is as scientific as possible -ie - same strain of cannabis - organic if possible. Dosage is also important - treat the blow like a pharmaceutical drug in measured dosages and time scales. The hardest thing for me is social reaction. As a patient of the `system` my family seem brainwashed by the status quo that cannabis is not acceptable and makes you worse. I think that there is warrant for this. But take alcohol - used in respect it is fine, without it is a disaster.