Trouble Thinking and Writing

Trouble Thinking and Writing

Posted in the Bipolar Disorder Forum

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Bp_Princezz

Knightdale, NC

#1 Oct 8, 2007
Hi everyone. I am a 1st time poster here. Here is my questionHas anyone experienced memory or cognitive side effects on these medicines.
Such as trouble concentrating, trouble finding words, difficulty in thinking
when trying to write or speak. Does anyone know if this gets better with time
I have been off Lithium since January and am on Lamictal now.
Could it be the Lamictal thats causing this?
Could it have been the Lithium? If so is it permanent damage or short term damage?
And if so does it get better?
Someone PLEASE respond to this. I have always been an avid and articulate speaker
and writer. Sorry If I am rambling but here is a story. I am apart of a message board and I joined in Dec.06 and only have 294 posts. Some members there who joined around that date have 1,000+ posts. It makes me very frustrated and i feel down because I cant post as much as i liked to and am not popular there. I hate it. This side effect has greatly impaired me. Writing use to be a release for my frustration and depression. Can anyone share some experience or insight about this. Thanks
Brigid

Columbus, OH

#2 Oct 11, 2007
Every BP person I know experiences some degree of memory impairment, difficulty concentrating, difficulty finding the right word in conversation etc. over the long term. Dr Peter Breggin is one researcher who feels that these change are most likely permanent brain damage caused by the meds we take to treat the disease. Unfortunately, there is little to no research into the matter. Lithium is rather toxic and trends show that it can cause long term bodily damage to kidneys etc. so why not to the brain as well. Have you only noticed this since you started Lamictal? What do your friends and family say? Did they notice change while you were on the Lithium? Maybe you just didn't notice because of Lithium blunting?

I guess I have come to accept that I need some stability in my life. While the long term effects of the meds scare the crap out of me...I would basically be non-functional without them. However, I would work with your psyc doctor find the least toxic drug at the lowest effective dose to help minimize the damage. I think its good you are off Lithium...it is so toxic. There are many other safer options now.
Rex

Raleigh, NC

#3 Nov 12, 2007
I had drastic changes in my creativity and productivity when I started my medications. I could no longer do things I used to be able to in terms of creativity, and I was useless at work. But I have been on the medications lithium,etc for a while and things are getting back to normal and I am functioning as good as I ever was now. For me it was just a transition period of a few months when I was worthless. Hope that can help
Brigid

United States

#4 Nov 12, 2007
Rex wrote:
I had drastic changes in my creativity and productivity when I started my medications. I could no longer do things I used to be able to in terms of creativity, and I was useless at work. But I have been on the medications lithium,etc for a while and things are getting back to normal and I am functioning as good as I ever was now. For me it was just a transition period of a few months when I was worthless. Hope that can help
Thanks Rex that gives me some much needed hope that things will return to normal. Brigid
Susan

Aptos, CA

#5 Nov 21, 2007
Bp_Princezz wrote:
Hi everyone. I am a 1st time poster here. Here is my questionHas anyone experienced memory or cognitive side effects on these medicines.
Such as trouble concentrating, trouble finding words, difficulty in thinking
when trying to write or speak. Does anyone know if this gets better with time
I have been off Lithium since January and am on Lamictal now.
Could it be the Lamictal thats causing this?
Could it have been the Lithium? If so is it permanent damage or short term damage?
And if so does it get better?
Someone PLEASE respond to this. I have always been an avid and articulate speaker
and writer. Sorry If I am rambling but here is a story. I am apart of a message board and I joined in Dec.06 and only have 294 posts. Some members there who joined around that date have 1,000+ posts. It makes me very frustrated and i feel down because I cant post as much as i liked to and am not popular there. I hate it. This side effect has greatly impaired me. Writing use to be a release for my frustration and depression. Can anyone share some experience or insight about this. Thanks
Hi,

Just wanted you to know that since I have been on Lamictal (started last Spring) I have experienced quite a loss in articulation, consciousness, and memory. Like you, I had quite a vocabulary. I am lowering the dose on Lamictal gradually, since I am now on something that clearly has improved my depression. I am hoping that my ability to articulate, especially verbally, will return. One of my good friends, who has tried any number of anti-depressants, told me that when she was on Lamictal she found there was a dose level above which she found her mental faculties impaired.

Hope this side effect has passed, and if not, that your psychopharmacologist has found a way around your loss of thinking capacity. These side effects really matter and it may pay off for you to bug your doctor til you're onto some drug or combination that doesn't reduce your mental skills.

Good Luck,

Susan
chagrin

Brooklyn, NY

#6 Apr 24, 2008
I have the same problem and I believe it to be progressive. I admitted myself into a hospital when I was in my senior year of High School with the promise it was simply a six day evaluation. I met with the psychiatrist once and he suggested Pamelor. I asked if it could cause harm. He said no it would simply make me more open to therapy. I spent over a month there. If it weren't for the insurance stopping the need for hospitalization due to the facts adding up to me not belonging there I would have been subjected to the med that much longer. After being released into out-patient therapy with yet another psychiatrist the first meeting with him he immediately put me on Prozac with no lag time between stopping the Pamelor and starting the Prozac stating the dosage of the pamelor was so low in his opinion it would carry no risk. Not to long after starting the Prozac the inability to concentrate became extremely apparent. When speaking knowing the words I intended to say and the word or words that came seemingly from nowhere out of my mouth were very different and obviously annoying but also embarassing and frightening. I stopped the treatment on my own due to no one listening to my concerns. After going of the Prozac the concentration improved but never returned to the way it was. Ever since then it has gotten progressively worse even after stopping the meds. The symptoms you have expressed for me have come over time. If I talk to anyone about it they dismiss it as depression. Frankly I did not really know what depression was until after being treated for a depression that did not truly exist in the first place. I am a casualty. You may be one to. Seek help from those who will listen. If you can find someone.
chagrin

Brooklyn, NY

#7 Apr 24, 2008
Bp_Princezz wrote:
Hi everyone. I am a 1st time poster here. Here is my questionHas anyone experienced memory or cognitive side effects on these medicines.
Such as trouble concentrating, trouble finding words, difficulty in thinking
when trying to write or speak. Does anyone know if this gets better with time
I have been off Lithium since January and am on Lamictal now.
Could it be the Lamictal thats causing this?
Could it have been the Lithium? If so is it permanent damage or short term damage?
And if so does it get better?
Someone PLEASE respond to this. I have always been an avid and articulate speaker
and writer. Sorry If I am rambling but here is a story. I am apart of a message board and I joined in Dec.06 and only have 294 posts. Some members there who joined around that date have 1,000+ posts. It makes me very frustrated and i feel down because I cant post as much as i liked to and am not popular there. I hate it. This side effect has greatly impaired me. Writing use to be a release for my frustration and depression. Can anyone share some experience or insight about this. Thanks
I have the same problem and I believe it to be progressive. I admitted myself into a hospital when I was in my senior year of High School with the promise it was simply a six day evaluation. I met with the psychiatrist once and he suggested Pamelor. I asked if it could cause harm. He said no it would simply make me more open to therapy. I spent over a month there. If it weren't for the insurance stopping the need for hospitalization due to the facts adding up to me not belonging there I would have been subjected to the med that much longer. After being released into out-patient therapy with yet another psychiatrist the first meeting with him he immediately put me on Prozac with no lag time between stopping the Pamelor and starting the Prozac stating the dosage of the pamelor was so low in his opinion it would carry no risk. Not to long after starting the Prozac the inability to concentrate became extremely apparent. When speaking knowing the words I intended to say and the word or words that came seemingly from nowhere out of my mouth were very different and obviously annoying but also embarassing and frightening. I stopped the treatment on my own due to no one listening to my concerns. After going of the Prozac the concentration improved but never returned to the way it was. Ever since then it has gotten progressively worse even after stopping the meds. The symptoms you have expressed for me have come over time. If I talk to anyone about it they dismiss it as depression. Frankly I did not really know what depression was until after being treated for a depression that did not truly exist in the first place. I am a casualty. You may be one to. Seek help from those who will listen. If you can find someone.
Lill girl from Norway

Brønnøysund, Norway

#8 Apr 26, 2008
Hi, I am bipolar II and take 300 mg lamictal pr. day.
Some of the first bi-effects I noticed was difficulty with writhing (which is a disaster when You work as a journalist, I had to explain it to my boss!!!)and short memory and finding the "right" words.
But after a year those symptoms are much better. I have to concentrate 100% more than before and read my stuff over and over. There is always a solution when You know about the problem, make your own way to deal with it, diary, dictonary, small notes etc. It WILL be better after a while, but not as good as it was. But again, rather spell words wrong than hellish depressions!
Ps. Someone out there noticing that PMS is worse than ever on Lamictal?
Kind Regards Lill from icy north
Bookcat

Laguna Niguel, CA

#9 May 20, 2008
Hi,
I had very obvious memory loss and cognitive impairment almost from the first day of taking lithium. I had experienced some processing difficulties on Prozac previously, but was still very articulate and able to write very well. After taking lithium, I was no longer able to work as an attorney due to the impairment and it got only slightly better after I terminated my use of the lithium 8 months later. I used to love my mind, now I feel like a dullard. Doctors attribute my cognitive deficits to depression, but even when I am not depressed I have the same difficulties. It is depressing in and of itself.
ann marie

Melrose Park, IL

#10 Jul 5, 2008
I have been taking lithium for 16 years straight. I am very concerned with deteriorating memory problems. At first it was just words and forgetting what I was saying. Now I forget where keys are on the computer when I'm typing, I forget the entire topic when I'm talking, my memory for conversations past 1 hr. is shit, and I feel I have no continuity of thought from one day to the next. It is getting harder to analyze my problems to be able to change, and I am forgetting appointments and where I put things as well. I thought it would get better after being off work a couple weeks, but it hasn't. I thought it was only temporary because of the lithium and memory would come back if I stopped taking it. It is very scary to think that I am now a real airhead permanentely. I know I'm aging, but this year has shown a really noticable decline for me. I have been on depakote in the way past. I did try a reduction of lithium experiment in Feb, Mar. of this year. I take 900 daily now and my reading is always .5 or less, so I know it's the minimum for me. Anyway, after 6 weeks or so, I started to have suspicious thoughts and it scared me cause that's how I was when I got sick once before, so I decided it wasn't worth it and went back to regular dose. I had one major episode at 20 which included a 32 day hospital stay. Then after 6 mos. of meds, I started having kids and had to go off and was fine for 5 years. So the last two times I had symptoms and went back on was post-partum 5 weeks after my 3rd child and 2 weeks after my 4th and last. So I always wonder if those are genuine episodes considering the hormones after child birth. Sorry I am going on and on. I have never posted to any thing before. Is anyone going off Lithium after long term use and finding memory getting better?
Felisha

Chapel Hill, NC

#11 Jul 5, 2008
I have asked not to be put on lamictal beause of the side effects. the one i am most afraid of is the weight gain. i have worked very hard to lose 150 lbs. i still have weight that i need to lose 30lbs or so, and I do not want my mental health meds to effect that negatively. You seem to be happy with the lithium can you describe to mehow it works for you. the meds that we have tried, avoiding the lithium, have not worked for me. i am cycling terribly, even to the point of suicide attempts. I really ould use your advice
Felisha

Chapel Hill, NC

#12 Jul 5, 2008
the change was an exmaple of this horrible disease. I typed in the wrong nameof the medicine, and ityped the correction in. sorry blame it on the bp
ann marie

Melrose Park, IL

#13 Jul 6, 2008
I have had weight issues as well. Right now I am the right weight for my height, but I have spent a few years with OA (overeaters anonymous) which treats more than just the symptom. It is a physical, emotional, and spiritual recovery program which I would highly recommend. If you find healthy meetings and a good sponsor, the potential for change is good. I have less problems cycling dramatically on the lithium, although I still do have swings. I had a pretty rough weekend. Anytime I have a really happy period I am wary because I know what goes up must come down and the weekend was part of that boomerang effect. I try not to really buy into my moods but it isn't always possible. I have spent alot of time in self help groups through church and ladies small groups which has helped more than the meds I think. I have also been married to a man who proposed to me in the psych ward 23 yrs. ago. He isn't perfect, but he knew what he was getting and he can be supportive or at least tolerant of my inconsistencies. People can make the difference. You should get around some support group that you can be vulnerable and feel safe in. Everyone has issues...some of us just wear them more obviously. Good luck.
karen

Australia

#14 Mar 14, 2009
Hi,I also suffer from memory loss,cant mentally function, cant read `the easiest of words and definately have trouble with spellin. I have the mental blanks when i set out to do my sales report each week. I guess this is my memory laspes.
when i am in conversation with clients in the middle of the meeting , i totally lose my ability to speak to my client in the once proffecially spoken manner i had the ability to do 2 minutes earlier.As you can see now,my spelling and puncuallity is going out the window.
i do tale lithium 450mg a day and 40mg of lexero.
Ihave just started to take my Meds before bed, but ihave only been doing this for a week, maybe this will help me function better in my duties at work in the daytime...

So i feel with you,

keep your chin up,Im sure you haven't lost any friends over it.

regards,

karen
karen

Australia

#15 Mar 14, 2009
Is there any one that has`trouble with the fun ctioning of the front part of the brain shutting down? cant read,cant talk, this is so frustrating, memory loss,inability to spell, can't get thoughts out in words.

Since: Mar 09

Monmouth, OR

#16 Mar 16, 2009
Sigh, finally found people w/same cognitive decline. Writing, reading, speaking, finding words,memory, attention span,etc. So frustrating/irrtating for my friends, family etc. Devastaing to me.
Been on meds 1/2 my life literally.I'm now 46yrs. old.I use to write constantly, articulately as w/ the other deficits I 've written. Continuity from day to day, hours sometimes. My quetion/musing is, "Which came first the chicken or the egg?" Is it the meds or the progression of BP disorder, or some of both. I know there is much controvery about this within the Psychiatry field as well. From researchers, scientists,shrinks, psychologists, etc. ad infintium. Does anyone w/BP disorder have thoughts, belifs one way or another, inbetween above below or at all?

Since: Mar 09

Monmouth, OR

#17 Mar 16, 2009
julvanv again-CORECCTION--I don't live in Redmond, Oregon. I live in The dalles Or. ARGH! And I didn't make the mistake. SORRY.
karen

Australia

#18 Mar 17, 2009
Hey,
I'm 40 years old and have had bipolar for much of my life. I never got these mental blocks before i was on meds though. i only got diagnosed with bipolar 6 months ago and have been hospitalized once. i have got to the stage were i am going to give notice at work and find a less mentally challenging job
kristy s

Fort Wayne, IN

#19 Jun 19, 2009
i am bipolar i been since i was 16 years old.
i have trouble thinking and impairment in judegement i get tremours and i also get seizures like convulstions when i am elated. anything causes it to happen the kids could be fighting or i hear a sound and it triggers it , i get tremours so bad i shake when i try to speak and write or do creative things like draw or other things like chat online to my friends or talk on the phone.

i slurr my speach is so bad it sounds like i am drunk, it is embrassing i try to cover it up by saying oh i was playing around but in actually i am not my racing thoughts are so bad that i forget things and forget to eat and for get to do my errans. i think about so much i goes racing threw my head not enough time i think not enough time then things go hay wire for me then i lose track of my thoughts i have trouble writting and taking and thinking right.

feels like my nerves are shot but this is how i am i think to my self i shake so much and start to cry when things are out of control.

i think people out side are against me and i am terrified to leave my house so i hide in the house and that is when i feel so elated and manic i forget things so much it is hard to think.

i get mental blocks and i get what is called empty thoughts where i forget things in the middle of doing things i get headaches and a rush of engery and then i get empty thoughts where i for get who is in the room , who there names are and who i am talking to and what i am talking about.

it can happen any time going to the store or picking the kids up from school.

i lose things suddenly like house keys or bills i need to pay and when i lose then my mania gets out of control i need to pay this and i need to pay that and i get panic and freak out. it feels like my world is out of control when i get this way.

i am 31 and i still face this problem it is worse other times and it isn't other times it is all how my bipolar is on that preticture day. happy sad depressed for no reason and then the memory problems happen. you are not alone others face the dame problems. i know i do!!!
caring

London, KY

#20 Aug 16, 2009
I also have mental blocks, when I am writing I forget words that I need to use in a sentence. I forget how to spell words. I will write sentences twice or sometimes write another paragraph and it will be say almost the same thing I said in the another.

I belong to three book clubs and I am constantly having to send books back because I reorder the same book over and over. I finally have started writing them down and posting it on the fridge.

I go to another room and by the time I get there, I have forgotten what I'm there for. I will call somebody for a reason and forget why I called.

It seams to happen to all of us that are bi-polar regardless of the meds we take, so it must be part of the illness. Do you agree or disagree? I am on effexor, xanax, topomax, lamactical, and I was on serequel until I quit on my own. I could not tolerate it.

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