Lithium and Hair Loss

Photo credit: roger_mommaerts on Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

Recently, like in the last week, I’ve noticed that my hair’s falling out: there’s hair in the sink that wasn’t there before. I’m not going bald nor is my hair thinning, but it’s definitely falling out.

So I did some research about lithium side effects and hair loss. Apparently, lithium affects the thyroid in such a way that causes hair to fall out. Wonderful. I don’t want to take yet another medication to combat this particular side effect, like I do with the tremors. I think I’d rather shave my head than take more medication. Seriously.

I am less than thrilled.

What side effects — if any — have you experienced from taking lithium?

Lithium Shakes

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Shortly after I began taking lithium, I noticed that my hands started shaking, not a lot — you’d have to look at my hand up close or something in order to see it. Then it got worse.

My thumb and forefinger would jump the way your knee does when a doctor hits you there with that little hammer. My lips quivered. I couldn’t hold a glass steady in my hand. I had to drink through a straw!

I told my psychiatrist about this, and he prescribed propranolol, which is a beta blocker and supposed to help with the tremors. I’ve been taking it for about 2 months now, and it does help with “the shakes”.

However, it hasn’t totally helped — they’re still there, most noticeably when I attempt to insert my contact lenses. It’s such a pain, especially because it used to only take one try to put them on. Now, it can take up to 16 tries (I counted). And using eye drops? Forget it. It ends up on  my face. While I’m doing either of these, I tell myself to chill and be patient, something that doesn’t always come easy to me.

Have you taken lithium or any other medications? What side effects did you experience?

Side Effects I’ve Experienced on Lithium and Prozac

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Some of you know that once I started taking 20mg Prozac in October, it worked great on my mood, but caused my hands to shake. Then my psychiatrist upped it to 40mg in December or January (I can’t remember when, exactly). The shakes became worse.

These past 3 weeks, my Prozac has been tapered down to 10mg, and after talking with my psychiatrist today, he took me off Prozac completely. You’d think the shakes would improve, the tremors had become so bad, that I couldn’t even hold a glass at my brother-in-law’s birthday brunch yesterday. My sister asked the waitress for a straw. I can’t text because I lack fine motor control, my writing is now cramped, and I can barely write my signature. I think the shakes come from the lithium.

I’d heard something vague about lithium possibly causing the shakes, too. I’ll have to Google it. The psychiatrist also put me on some beta-blocker the name of which I don’t know, in order to help stop the tremors. I hope it works.

This, of course, is my experience with these medications, and not to scare anyone away.

Have you ever taken a medication that gave you really bad tremors? What did you do?

Daily Prompt: Vague

Miserable About My Weight Gain

This is EXACTLY how I look, even in my new jeans; Photo credit: Tobyotter on VisualHunt / CC BY

I haven’t written about my mother in a while, partly because of my current mental health issues, so my therapist and I temporarily stopped working on Daughter Detox, which is a book that includes exercises on “recovering from an unloving mother and reclaiming your life.” (That’s the book’s subtitle.)

I’ve already mentioned this, but I have to say it again: I’m uncomfortable with my appearance. I’m not sure why, but I don’t focus so much on my face (my mom used to call me ugly, which I guess I’ve accepted — still working on disbelieving that), but I’m obsessed with my weight. Last spring I weighed 129 lbs. Now I’m up to 140 lbs. no thanks to Prozac and now the lithium, too.

In my research, I discovered that for both medications, 25% of patients gain weight from them. Well, I guess I’m that 1 in 4. Is it even possible to thwart medication weight gain? If I exercise, will it reduce my weight? Or do I just need to suck it up and accept the weight? What are your thoughts?

Also, I bought new jeans and long-sleeve tops yesterday because: 1) I can’t fit into my old jeans or khakis; and 2) to hide my self-harm scars. Looking at myself in the dressing room mirror was so defeating. I know I should follow the advice that was written in the post I reblogged last night, but it’s so hard.

If you’ve gained weight from medication, were you able to stay on the meds and lose weight through exericise/diet?

Tomorrow Afternoon: my first day of PHP!

Daily Prompt: Thwart

Med Changes

Photo by Joanna Nix on Unsplash

I saw my psychiatrist yesterday. He raised my lithium because according to the blood test Behavioral Hospital did a couple of weeks ago, my lithium isn’t at a therapeutic level. Which probably explains why I’m still feeling somewhat depressed.

He also told me that a psychiatrist at PHP 4 will be treating me for the duration of my stay in the program, and to tell him/her that my being on lithium is inchoate, that is, I just switched to it from Tegretol so it’s a new-to-me medication. This is in case the temporary psychiatrist doesn’t think the lithium is working, and decides to put me on a different mood stabilizer.

The plan is to slowly wean me off some of my other meds, and personally, I can’t wait to get off the Prozac. It worked great when my psychiatrist prescribed it in October 2017, but when it began to wane and he raised the dosage to 40mg from 20mg, I began getting tremors. I’m only taking 10mg now, but the shakes are even worse. I can barely write straight, and sometimes my mouth twitches. He said that the lithium could cause this also, so he prescribed an extended-release version instead of the immediate-release lithium I’d been taking. I hope it works.

Also, I’m buying new jeans today, because the ones I bought last summer, after having lost a good amount of weight, no longer fit me! I’m unhappy about this, as you can imagine. So I did a little research and it turns out that Prozac can cause weight gain. I gained 10 lbs. since October, when I first started taking it. I’m sure the holidays didn’t help. And I know that lithium also causes weight gain.


If you’ve been on Prozac or lithium, have you experienced tremors or weight gain?

Daily Prompt: Inchoate