Consequences of Taking the Yellow Brick Road: Lithium Carbonate 1984-1996

52
1868

I was first given Lithium Carbonate in the spring of 1984, and I was taken off Lithium by my attending physician in 1996. I took this pill faithfully the entire time and also willingly went to my regular blood draws whenever they were ordered. My level stayed at a perfect 1.0 — just as perfect as my college grades had been. A dose of four 300 mg capsules per day held me at this “therapeutic” level that was supposed to do something important — life-saving, they said, “as essential as insulin is to a diabetic.”

Unlike my grades, though, my blood level did not reflect new learning. Sadly, I never accumulated credits in the Mental Health System that led to graduation, nor a degree. Instead, it led me down the Yellow Brick Road.  I can’t say I felt much of a sense of accomplishment or exhilaration, unless I count the jokes I cracked each time the phlebotomist finished with me:

“You sure that blood is red? At least I’m not a fainter.”

“Don’t mix me up with anyone else by the same name!”

“You don’t drink that in your spare time, do you?”

If I could get them to smile, that was one brownie point I awarded to myself. Laughter got me two; a good day’s work.

I never got paid, though, unless you counted the pimples. For those I was paid handsomely. We all were. My face was like any Lithium Carbonate face, dotted all over with pimples like a field filled with poppies.  Our hands shook, too, a reminder that we would be weeded out or die before the tastier crops were reaped.

How many patients who took Lithium are still alive? Statistically one-third of those who ever took Lithium for an appreciable amount of time — even if taken off the drug — end up with so much kidney damage that they cannot survive.

I survived, though. I was taken off the lithium in 1996, but left on other drugs. It took me until 2012 to realize psychiatry is a sham. I try to warn other patients these days, although I must say it’s hard to joke around about something that kills people. Kidney disease is no joke. So often people tell me, “I don’t care what my life is like ten years from now. I only want to feel good now.”  I may have said the same thing twenty years ago. Now I have the hindsight to know that my viewpoint back then was juvenile at best.

This is what life is like for me, now that I have permanent damage to my kidneys from lithium, and damages to other organs as well. For one thing, I am constantly exhausted. Not just a little tired, but so tired that I feel like I am nodding off while standing in the grocery line and while standing waiting for a bus. I nearly fell over today at the bus stop. It is a constant battle, and it never lets up. For many years now I have not enjoyed one single moment of feeling rested.

One reason for this is that kidney disease leads to poor blood quality. Imagine your red blood cells gasping for air all day long, and unable to do their proper work to transport fuel energy around your body. They are so exhausted that they become malformed. Your kidneys never filter properly, they keep in too much, or let out too much. Mine let out too much water so my body’s need for water is six times that of the average person, much more during summer. An ultrasound revealed kidneys that are so tiny they were confused with my ovaries.  I can barely sleep at night.

This means that whenever I go out, I need to either carry water or find drinking water fast if I need it. Sometimes I go for hours desperately thirsty. My bladder fills quickly and by the time I get to a bathroom, peeing out two liters is not uncommon.  It also means that although my brain always was — and still is — intellectually well-equipped as I was born highly intelligent, the fatigue and constant dragged-down exhaustion that nags at me daily prevents me from working full-time. I cannot sit nor stand for long periods. I often snap at people, feeling intolerably tired and at the end of my rope.

Since my kidneys cannot filter well, my skin does much of the work. The substances in my blood such as minerals and acids that are supposed to go down the toilet now come through my sweat pores. Unfortunately, my sweat is now so acidic that it stings me. This means that my skin literally burns and itches so badly that I am dying to take my clothes off, even in public. I can’t do that, though, unless I want to end up in the nuthouse again.

Every day I rush home, slam the door shut, and, making sure no one is looking, I peel off my clothes as fast as possible. I angrily throw them into a heap. I can’t help it. I don’t want to be so angry, but that’s how I feel, and no one should have to see me tossing my clothes like that.  I wish I could cry or scream, but I won’t go that far, nor will I do stupid “coping skills” since I know my anger is well-justified. Every single one of my doctors knew about the harms from Lithium.  These harms have been known for decades. This is not my opinion. This is established fact; not even debatable.

“Why did I take those pills?” I ask myself. “Why don’t those doctors that gave them to me at least apologize? Why was I so stupid to believe all that nonsense about chemical imbalance when it wasn’t even true?” But I rarely cry. Sometimes I lie down to reduce the swelling in my feet and legs. Or simply because I am so tired I cannot fight it anymore.

I got off Facebook since I had nothing positive to say anymore. Every time I tried to warn other people about psychiatry I got blasted by “nice” people telling me how great their doctors were. That kind of blind faith made me feel like vomiting.

This is my life at 58. I hope circumstances will be better if I find employment, since having a job will be a step away from the voiceless position I find myself in now. I hope to find others who value me as a human being enough to meet with me for coffee now and then.

Doctors are not gods. They cannot fix your life or your marriage. They sure did not fix my eating disorder. Most psychiatrists only jeered at me repeatedly.  Psychiatry killed many of my friends. Please do not look to these fake doctors for answers.

There are no real cures on that Yellow Brick Road. You will find that the Wizard is a humbug.  Yet if you have traveled such paths, as I have, it is still never too late for us.  Listen, as we repeat, in response to the man behind the curtain:

There’s no place like home.

There’s no place like home.

I know now that it won’t take Rocket Science, nor magic pills nor all the gold in the world nor wizardry to answer our prayers, our longing, and our angst. We need love, patience, understanding, listening, and caring.  We do not need to fly up in the air in a hurricane, nor stick our heads in the clouds.  We are fine just the way we are, right here on the ground.

* * * * *

Written in loving memory of all those who died before their time from psychiatric drugs and similar assaults.

***

Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

***

Mad in America has made some changes to the commenting process. You no longer need to login or create an account on our site to comment. The only information needed is your name, email and comment text. Comments made with an account prior to this change will remain visible on the site.

52 COMMENTS

  1. Extremely powerful, Julie, and so beautifully written as always. Personally, I don’t perceive you as voiceless, however. Your courageous and luminous sharing can already be saving millions of lives, and certainly has the potential to keep doing so. I, for one, always look forward to your posts, always direct, honest, profound in their truth, and literary on top of it all. Makes it a pleasure to read, even when the content is heavy. Truth is truth.

    My kidneys and other organs also suffered from 20 years of Lithium, et al. They healed after a while, with good care. Been 14 years since I got off the psych drugs. Our bodies can regenerate over time if allow them to. Very best wishes, always, in your healing.

    Report comment

      • Life in the mainstream has, for so, so long, been about being deceived, tricked, manipulated, controlled, and oppressed by a dualistic and obsessively capitalist system which devalues people and marginalizes them in favor of maintaining wealth and power for their own elite class. We’ve been duped about a lot of things–most things, in fact, I think.

        Waking up to all that we’ve fallen for, and which has led us down very bad roads, has the challenge of our emotional response bubbling up, which can be intense and painful when we figure in betrayal and harm as a result; but in the end, at least we recognize truth and become better informed as we move forward. I believe it’s our responsibility to speak the truth of the matter and inform others of our experiences. In fact, I feel it and think about it as a mission. As a society, we’ve been screwed around on so many levels. The truth–and only the truth– shall set us all free, I really believe that.

        Report comment

        • Thanks, Alex. Yes, waking up to the truth is awesome. We can’t go back to being blindfolded. All kinds of very basic wrong things exist out there and those of us who have seen these things first hand now have a choice. Do we turn our backs and walk away, remaining silent, telling ourselves not to think of such things? History has shown that such silence will only allow the status quo to continue unchecked. Something such as unfair low wages of women, which has gone on in many countries including USA for centuries, can be changed if and only if someone dares to speak of it.

          Report comment

  2. Thank you Julie for sharing your story.

    I feel that being made to feel that there is something wrong with one’s self is a form of abuse and oppression.

    So those of us who have been so effected need to organize and then fight for and win some concrete political gains.

    Who gets targeted and why? Well it tends to be those of us who are vulnerable and susceptible.

    So what does the drugging do, and what does the talk therapy do? What does Recovery do? It is all just a means of oppression, a punishment simply for having tried to be ourselves. It is directed at those who are not fitting in, but still have not found a suitable way to assert themselves. It is a way of making people neurotic.

    So as many of us are no longer young any more, we need to be looking at how this is being done to the young people of today.

    We must never ask for pity, or allow ourselves to be cast into pity seeking roles. We must never go along with concepts like Recovery. Instead we must organize and then strike back.

    I have my own views and where and how to strike. But I am also interested in hearing the views of others.

    Nomadic
    http://freedomtoexpress.freeforums.org/handled-in-court-t272.html

    Report comment

    • I agree that people should always be allowed to be themselves! And more so as we grow older! Agreeably, not all of those around us are going to like that….. But we do not have to believe the name-calling, do we? Those labels are only words, nothing more. Sticks and stones, remember?

      Report comment

      • So we the survivors should be setting up safe houses, and our own foster care. And we should be organizing legal teams who will start setting some precedents by winning cases.

        We should be telling people that you remedy social injustices by legal action and legislative action.

        But if you go to a therapist, such always being committed to inaction and to making people believe that they are the problem themselves, then it is just another downward spiral.

        Nomadic
        http://freedomtoexpress.freeforums.org/index.php

        Report comment

        • Nomadic, I am appalled at the number of people who advocate “therapy” as a solution to having been harmed by bad medicine including psychiatry. This makes no sense to me. The last thing I want is to limit my story to the inside of the therapist’s office. While many of my former colleagues would love to have me thus contained, it makes no sense to me. I made up my mind to be silent no longer and many do not like that. I’m thrilled though, it is all for the good, as the world needs its feathers ruffled for sure!

          Report comment

          • Yes, by all means spread your story far and wide. And if possible try to get a civil judgment against the perpetrators, as this will encourage others to break out of the psychotherapist’s office, and to stop celebrating impotence by punching their therapist’s pillows and screaming at them.

            I plan to be reading David Smail’s Why Psychotherapy Doesn’t Work.

            http://davidsmail.info/introfra.htm

            And as I believe that we the survivors of the middle-class family should be setting up our own Foster Care Group Home, I am reading about Israeli Kibbutz’s.

            If The Family was really so good, there would be very little need for Foster Care. But as it is, Foster Care is always overloaded. And it is horrid, because if it were any better than that, it would be better than The Family.

            Our Foster Care will be completely different.

            https://www.amazon.com/Kibbutz-Awakening-Utopia-Daniel-Gavron/dp/0847695263/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1467754151&sr=8-2&keywords=kibbutz

            And what we really need is a network of attorneys, trying to push the envelope in suing the psychiatric and psychotherapy system, as well as suing parents, and also trying to get laws changed.

            And we the survivors should be setting up a system of supervised independent study by which people can get accredited degrees. Loss of educational opportunities is often a consequence of familial, psychiatric, and psychotherapeutic abuse.

            Nomadic
            http://freedomtoexpress.freeforums.org/index.php

            Report comment

  3. “Why did I take those pills?” I ask myself. “Why don’t those doctors that gave them to me at least apologize? Why was I so stupid to believe all that nonsense about chemical imbalance when it wasn’t even true?”

    I ask myself that too, how in the hell did I let a doctor visit and a compliant of insomnia snowball into 10 years of psychiatry induced hell ? That paper on medication spellbinding explained it better than anything else I ever came across.

    I lost 10 years, it sucks. I didn’t know then what I know now, doctors and science they know what they are doing…. Nope not really. Just a bunch of crooks lying and defrauding to make money.

    The types of people that bury side effects and market the drugs to children at the same time, makes you wonder if hell is empty cause all the devils are up here.

    Report comment

    • Yeah, the Cat, I think many of us, now, with the gift of hindsight wonder how we used to be so blind. Breggin does explain it brilliantly. I think we knew in the backs of our minds somewhere that taking the drugs and staying on them was a bad decision.

      It’s not easy to realize you are wrong and tough to act on that knowledge, too. You go through a lengthy and difficult grieving process that many cannot bear to even begin.

      Report comment

      • And Cat, I am sorry you were ever subjected to that.

        Many are sent to the doctor and put on drugs by their parents. But others walk in under their own steam, and others get escorted to the psych ward by police.

        No matter what, the solution comes when we can restore our social and civil standing, and we do that by winning some concrete victories.

        We don’t win that by asking for pity, tolerance, or acceptance, or by being clowns. We win by showing that we are a force to be reckoned with, and that smart people do not cross us.

        Nomadic
        http://freedomtoexpress.freeforums.org/index.php

        Report comment

  4. I appreciate your wisdom. Thank you for sharing your story. You sound clear and strong and are making a huge difference. I also struggled with very difficult eating disorder issues earlier in my life and found that they were my way of trying to protect and comfort myself. Trusting our wisdom and the meaning of our struggles is critical…wishing you healing and strength. Thanks again!

    Report comment

  5. Thanks! The more people continue to come out of the woodwork and speak out even after all these years the more we can end the deception and brainwashing. I look back on my life now and realize that it didn’t have to be that way. I wish I had told myself that at 23 when I first started therapy. It was all a huge, unnecessary, wasteful mistake that cost me decades of my life. What an amazing discovery it has been to realize that despite the pain and grieving, the beautiful gift to be able to own up to that mistake, write about it, face the truth and move on.

    Report comment

    • Julie, thank you for sharing your story, your truth. I don’t perceive you as voiceless, either! Like you, I used to be on Lithium. But because it was giving me thyroid disorder, my doctor took me off of it and increased the dose of my other drug, Abilify, to keep me sane. I suspect the drug I’m on now, still Abilify, actually GAVE me an eating disorder! Whenever I went off drugs (on my own, without support) I had normal eating habits. When my psychosis came back, though, I was urgently put back on Abilify and all I think about now is food, even when when I’m trying to focus on something else. My weight keeps going up and up, plus the severe constipation (another side effect) doesn’t help with weight loss at all. I also have a terrible rash and acne on my face, but doctors tell me it can’t be from Abilify… I don’t know what to believe anymore!

      Report comment

        • Agreed, Nomadic, Therapy is not an answer for abuse or wrongdoing. The answer is for those of us who have been harmed and anyone else willing to speak out to organize and stop the source of abuse. If we do not, that is, if we remain silent, it will only continue. Silence will only give those who practice bad or harmful medicine the go-ahead to keep doing it. It’s up to us, since we have seen it all first-hand.

          Report comment

          • Yes, therapy is not an answer for abuse or wrongdoing. We are in agreement.

            And so if we are saying, “Please don’t subject us to drugs or forced treatment, instead let us try Recovery and Psychotherapy”, we are asking for pity. We are allowing ourselves and others to be severely violated, and we don’t do anything about it! We are making the problem worse, because we are showing that we lack the confidence to stand up for ourselves, and to organize.

            And then since Capitalism always runs on pseudo sciences like Eugenics and Social Darwinism, we are playing right into the hands of those on the Far Right who say that we are defective and don’t really deserve to live. Welfare and Psychiatry were invented to regulate the indigent.

            And then further, I am convinced that those behaviors and characteristics which get interpreted as mental illness, as well as the psychological distress which many experience, and the seeming in ability to live constructive, healthy, and creative lives, are all the result of repressed conflict.

            Right after Peter Breggin published Toxic Psychiatry he published a smaller follow on book. Though for me it did not go anywhere’s near far enough, I still think it is very valuable.

            Breggin, P. R. (1992). Beyond Conflict: From Self-Help and Psychotherapy to Peacemaking. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

            I feel that underneath all of the problems, there is conflict. People talk to themselves and act strange because they don’t have a place in this world, and the reason for this is that there is unresolved conflict. And then therapy and religion tell people to address this in the worst possible of ways, denial.

            The conflict has to do with who does and how does not have a legitimated identity. It gets into socio-economics and into having a legitmated biography, and the biggest single factor is always familial child exploitation.

            And of course the middle-class family is an institution which emerged at a particular time in history and it’s defining characteristic is how it exploits children.

            So as I see it, Psychotherapy is a drug, and it is promoted as a way of avoiding necessary and legitimate issues of conflict.

            I respect Peter Breggin very much, but I feel that he does not understand how deeply political and necessary this conflict is. It is no less an issue than it was to end slavery in the United States.

            None of us can do that much alone. And if we try to act alone, we will get branded as crazy and we will get forcibly drugged.

            The way we claim our proper place in the world is by organizing and acting.

            This is one of the reasons why I say that we the survivors of the middle-class family need to set up our own Foster Care Group Home, and also our own Home for all the outcasts ( homeless, “mentally ill”, convicts, parolees )

            So I am aghast at some of what is posted on this forum, and some of the stuff put out by Mind Freedom.

            I feel at this time that the most important actions are legal, going after parents and going after capitalism and the mental health system. People will only be ready to consider more rash actions if legal actions fail.

            Nomadic
            http://freedomtoexpress.freeforums.org/index.php

            Report comment

  6. Do you have a source for this?:

    “Statistically one-third of those who ever took Lithium for an appreciable amount of time — even if taken off the drug — end up with so much kidney damage that they cannot survive.”

    Report comment

    • There is not one single source. They’ve known this for a long time. I believe it was posted here on MIA and reference was made to the study. However, this couldn’t have possibly been brand new research as I can recall 20 years ago there were docs who refused to use Lithium stating that it was too dangerous due to kidney damage. These were discussions I heard myself. I wondered, at the time, if the docs were fanatics. However, they were not.They were most likely citing studies that had been suppressed, or had seen the evidence themselves in patient deaths. When such an elephant is in the room, how could we all look the other way?

      Report comment

      • With respect I think you should amend the article unless you have a source for that. I appreciate you sharing your story and I believe in the value of doing so but the article gives the impression that is a specific statistic which is misleading.

        Report comment

        • Thanks for the suggestion, TNW. I could add a footnote there. Some MIA authors do that. Actually I have looked up many of these studies myself and I am amazed at the range of results. For instance, regarding thyroid shutdown, one study said 100%, the other said 30%. Same with diabetes insipidus. However, my *personal* experience was that my DI from Lithium Carbonate went completely undiagnosed, and instead I was told my thirst was psychologically based. Given that I was impeccable at reporting symptoms I can only assume that other patients went for many years undiagnosed as well. So how accurate are the DI studies? Furthermore, any deaths attributable to psychiatric medications will be shoved under the rug, rest assured. It’s up to those of us willing to speak out to do so while we can, to warn others that the world of medicine is money-driven and deceptive. These docs are not gods.

          Report comment

    • Hey TNW and everyone else, in case anyone is wondering, the recent study that stated one-third was mentioned right here last year on MIA: http://www.madinamerica.com/2015/03/long-term-use-lithium-can-cause-kidney-failure/ This came out of the Journal of Psychopharmacology. We patients all know this is not some brand-new, surprise finding. Psychiatry knew this already. However, the patients who were given this pill were so often put on disability due to so-called “illness,” taken out of the workforce completely, no longer considered useful and productive members of society. We no longer mattered. We were now expendable. Who cared if we dropped dead from the stuff? Often by the time we died it could be attributed, pawned off that is, to any other factor, blinding the public to the truth.

      Report comment

      • Thank you for the link. however:
        “The researchers studied 4,879 patients who took lithium for at least 10 years between 1981 and 2010. They found that about one-third of the patients who had taken lithium for 10–29 years had evidence of “chronic renal failure,” while 5% were in the “severe or very severe category.””

        This is quite different from your statement that:
        “one-third of those who ever took Lithium for an appreciable amount of time — even if taken off the drug — end up with so much kidney damage that they cannot survive.”

        Report comment

        • I think this is picking at hairs. A 33% rate of chronic renal failure is a pretty staggering statistic.

          Do they still use lithium? I did a research paper on it in college, it came into use when they realized that guinea pigs on lithium (I believe for unrelated reason) were noticed to be sedate but without evidence of the “Thorazine shuffle,” which made it attractive for shrinks who wanted modern-looking wards with compliant inmates but less drooling.

          The main physical effects I remember reading about then were the thyroid damage; maybe the kidney stuff hadn’t become apparent yet.

          Also, those blood tests are not to see if you have a “healthy” lithium level (lithium is a tiny trace element in a normal body, far less than what is given “therapeutically”). The blood tests are given because the “therapeutic” level of lithium is very close to the toxic (lethal) level and they want to avoid having you die.

          Report comment

  7. By all means, Victoria, I would get another opinion on all those issues. Remember Thalidomide? “It couldn’t possibly be….”

    When I first got pimples from Lithium I went to several doctors who were completely stumped and told me “it couldn’t possibly be the drugs.” But of course it was! They also told many patients that Abilify does not affect eating and weight, however, for many, it does. I do know a few who eventually discovered that Abilify was the culprit.

    All in all, I have found that after going through what I went through, decades of being a patient, I learned that I must take the initiative to do the work myself. Instead of limiting myself to what one doctor tells me, I do my own research, and consult many sources. Read each source skeptically, just the same as you would read any “product review” site. Consider who is funding the source, too. Remember the drug companies only want to sell more pills. The doc may also be hiding information from you, downplaying the downsides to the pills.

    Report comment

    • I appreciate your fast reply! Yes, I’m a skeptic at heart, so I don’t invest blind faith in everything I’m told. I listen to my body, mind and spirit first and foremost, I seek and follow the truth by observing myself, NOT by others telling me how THEY observe me (I used to, but not anymore!). We know ourselves better than anyone else ever will… IF we’re aware of ourselves, of our state of being. Many people, though, choose to suppress all awareness of themselves with drugs and allow the “divine” experts tell them what’s wrong with them… but the truth is, NOTHING is wrong with us or our brains, our brains are merely warning us in the form of mental “illness” that something is wrong with how we’re living our lives!

      Report comment

      • I wish you the best, Victoria, it sounds like you have a very solid approach. I used to be very rigid. I thought there was only one way, and I had to stick with that for the rest of my life. Doctor knows best and listen to them (even though they were obviously wrong much of the time, and getting worse). After I ditched that baloney, I had to be open to changing my thinking regularly. I could no longer have some rigid dogma rule my life. So if one way of living was working for a while that was great but sometimes life changes and we need to take another look and maybe revise or modify. This goes for everything you do, from career to choice of whom to hang out with to which is the best bus route in the morning to what you wear to what you like to eat. Time moves forward, we grow, our world is a changing place.

        Report comment

  8. Hi Julie,

    It’s very nice to hear from you.
    I believed in Psychiatry for a long time because I never thought I could stop medication. But then it stopped of its own accord. I know it now to be a complete sham and it’s getting worse.

    I was on lithium years ago – a very bland drug. I must check out the survival rate for myself – but I suppose at this stage I’ve lived out my nutty life expectancy!

    Report comment

  9. Thanks so mjuch for your comment! Yes, it is definitely true in my case and also for others, that your kidneys may appear fine until many years after you have stopped the drug. I cannot be sure since there was so much coverup. After all, the DI was denied. When I developed edema it was again denied. When I had muscle cramping and was certain something was terribly wrong, it was again denied. I even went to get second and third opinions, making call after call, and going to the ER many times, often to be told I was “wasting their time.” All the scary signs were there, including blood irregularities, and all were attributed to anything else they could think up all the way until I ended up in acute renal failure. Even then, I wasn’t informed of the ARF! Instead, I was called, “danger to self” and they threatened me with forced drugging. Why should I trust these medical professionals after what I have been through, especially since my own body and common sense are far more trustworthy and informative?

    Report comment

  10. Hi Julie, Your story is an inspiration to many i’m sure. Don’t modify anything you write about to satisfy the critic in the crowd because you have walked the talk. When you have lived something you definitely don’t need a research paper to tell you the doctors got it wrong.

    What is the dogs name again?

    Nice to see your post!

    Report comment

  11. That’s the thing, Warmac, in the writing of memoir we do not usually cite studies to back our own memories. It’s a given that human memory isn’t perfectly accurate. Nor are studies, there’s always a margin of error. This margin of error is much wider than anyone realizes in almost all cases, given how biased the studies really are, and given how many are not even made publicly available or deliberately hidden. I just don’t write that way. In fact, what I was writing about was the recounting of my own thoughts on the matter, not a study, but my own reading of that data and how I felt about being deceived by those in whom I had place so much trust.

    Report comment

    • Yes studies are imperfect, but you did cite one, and it says something VERY different from what you said it did. I am not just criticising for the sake of criticising. I am considering my options at the moment and there is a possibility of me taking Lithium. I know you and others will definitely tell me that is the wrong choice, but in order to make that choice I want to have the right information. Part of that information comes from subjective accounts, I don’t discount that, statistics cannot tell you what it feels like to be on a medication. Statistics are only part of the story, but that part of the story is still a significant one and as such it is important not to misinform people.

      Report comment

      • Why pick on Julie? A simple Google search turns up ample evidence that lithium can cause chronic kidney injury. For example:
        http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/242772-overview

        and

        https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/lithium

        and

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2518801/

        and

        http://jasn.asnjournals.org/content/11/8/1439.full

        and

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6494976

        and here’s a whole gaggle of studies showing the link between lithium exposure and kidney failure:
        https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=lithium+kidney+injury&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj3q6P9tdfNAhVL7mMKHR99CAAQgQMIGjAA

        Besides, why would you even consider taking such a toxic agent for a mood or behavior issue, anyway? If your ADHD amphetamines have caused you worsening mood and behavior problems, try laying off of the amphetamines. Know what I’m saying? Taking a drug cocktail for a bogus psychiatric disorder is always a bad idea – deleterious to your health don’tcha know?

        Report comment

        • I’m not picking on anyone, I simply suggested that she should amend the article to better reflect the facts.

          I also did not deny that Lithium can cause kidney damage, I am simply saying that: “one-third of those who ever took Lithium for an appreciable amount of time — even if taken off the drug — end up with so much kidney damage that they cannot survive.” is false and not borne out by the study she cited.

          There is a substantial difference between Lithium can cause kidney damage, even is likely to cause kidney damage, and saying that Lithium has a mortality rate of 1/3!

          “Besides, why would you even consider taking such a toxic agent for a mood or behavior issue, anyway? If your ADHD amphetamines have caused you worsening mood and behavior problems, try laying off of the amphetamines. Know what I’m saying? Taking a drug cocktail for a bogus psychiatric disorder is always a bad idea – deleterious to your health don’tcha know?”

          Perhaps because the mood issue is so unbearable that i’m willing to try many things to make it stop? I’ve never taken amphetamines I’m not sure what you are trying to argue there. I also don’t believe psychiatric disorders are necessarily bogus. I believe I have one, I know I won’t find much agreement for that on this site but there you go.

          Report comment

      • Here’s one right back atcha’, dude…. Cite even *ONE* “study” that PROVES any therapeutic effect from Lithium carbonate. Bonus points for a cogent answer regarding any possible benefit to Lithium *Citrate*….
        If Lithium is so goo0d for people, why did they take it OUT of 7-UP?…..
        You’d do well to visit Dr. Bonker’s archive/museum….
        Your psychiatrist will NEVER “fully inform” you…..

        Report comment

        • Good point, Bradford. In over three decades of psychiatric “care” I notice the lack of informed consent is almost universal. I recall all psychiatrists who prescribed drugs to me were either outright lying or only telling me the part of the story I wanted to hear.

          I recall, on the other hand, seeing an ear, nose, and throat doc for very loud tinnitus who was upfront and honest with me. He was not afraid to say, “No one truly understands why people get tinnitus. The most plausible theory is…..” And he also said, “We can try medications, but to do so would be hit or miss. None of these pills has a good track record. I’m also concerned about side-effects and interactions. Furthermore, I’d hate to put you through all that. Tinnitus tends to go away on its own after a year. Try to bear with it.”

          How I wish psychiatrists were so honest! I felt like a million bucks after that appointment because for a change, I felt well-respected like any other patient. It was so much easier to accept having to wait a year, knowing the doc was one of the rare ones that was decent to me.

          Sure enough, after a year and four months the tinnitus ended.

          Report comment

  12. Hello Doppleganger and TNW, I am not a scientist, I am a writer and was a patient for 34 years. My writing is based on my memory of what I observed on the wards, in those offices, what I was told, conversations I heard and participated in, conflicting messages I received, and all other sorts of observations over many decades, research I did myself when I finally realized maybe I needed to find out more, including memories and observations of what I felt in my body. So that’s my basis for this article. I am not a journalist but a creative writer. The type of writing I do is not going to be full of footnotes, numbers, graphs, and someone else’s studies. So much can be learned if I write about the way a nurse years ago interrupted me or rolled her eyes, or corrected my way of speaking as if I were a toddler. These cannot be expressed in a “study,” especially not a drug study.

    I know the risk is too high, and I also know they’ve known this for a long time. This information has been shown in multiple studies and is well-known. You might as well quietly ask any doctor you know. Ask a medical student. Ask a kid in AP high school biology class if lithium salts might be a serious risk to kidneys. Or go to your library and look it up.

    You do have a right to take it, though, if you are that determined. It’s pretty easy to find someone these days who will write a script for the stuff. I once heard of someone who accidentally purchased it on the street. He lived. That one came from an AA person I knew.

    I also know that any person with a diagnosis is considered in a different class, not quite human, somehow we do not count if such harms befall us. I have been contacted privately by many people who have told me they are now suffering and wish they had known, too. Some contacted me on behalf of their relatives, who were unable, or deceased.

    Report comment

  13. Thank you so much for this. I’m currently trapped in psychiatry, but planning an exit. Sometimes, its hard to lose sight of any sort of future, and its also easy to get brainwashed into believing the BS that is Mental Health, Inc.

    I am sorry about your kidney situation. Lithium is a terrible, terrible drug and should not be used on people, especially vulnerable, suffering people. I can kind of relate…I had a tic disorder following “atypical” antipsychotic “treatment” and heavy, involuntary shock “Treatments.” Not fun. My tics went away following high dose Orthomolecular supplementation, but…those couple years were rough as hell.

    I’m glad there are some former patients out there who can be vocal about their past and try to steer others away from Mental Health, Inc. All too often, its a death trap.

    Report comment

    • Thanks for your feedback, yeah i survived, I am glad to hear from people in various stages of this thing they impose on our lives. As I figure, I walked into it by choice but as soon as I saw what it was I should have left. I didn’t. It’s funny, they might screen you for a whole list of “illnesses,” but even if you do not have any, you’ll end up with the worst of them, the one they don’t DARE list in the DSM: The Revolving Door Syndrome. I think that kills more patients than any of them. Yes, it’s a trap. I didn’t think so for a while but toward the end, I knew it.

      Report comment

  14. HEY JULIE! Let’s go out for coffee sometime!?….(Yes, I’m serious. But I don’t expect you to drive here to N.H., and I’m not walking, bicycling, or hitch-hiking to where ever you are….) We’re the same age, and I got sucked into the pseudoscience lies of the drug racket known as “biopsychiatry” in 10th grade. I’ve been psych-free, and (mostly) “med” free for over 20 years now. Never did Lithium, but I did literally 50 OTHER drugs from the quack shrinks. And, yes, several of my friends died, and 3 female friends were raped – targeted *Because* they were seen as “mental patients”. No arrests, despite knowing their attackers, and reporting to cops. The shrinks & drugs did me far more harm than good. One thing in your story stands out to me, and I want to comment directly. Besides seriously asking you out for coffee. 😉 I had to re-learn how to cry, as part of my healing & recovery journey. For a few years, I cried fairly often, and easily. But I had to almost *force* myself to. I learned that tears are Nature’s Way of washing away the pain and hurt…. Just something to think about. Sure you don’t wanna do coffee? You’re smiling, aren’t you? THANK-YOU for your story. ~B./

    Report comment

    • Bradford, Your experience of having difficulty crying is one I hear often. For many it seems to take years before this capacity returns.

      I’ve been through my “I can’t cry” phases and also my “I cry too easily” phases. While under psych’s thumb, I noticed the changes occurred with each med change.

      Jeepers, after a while I felt like I was a med basket and not much else.

      Report comment

      • Thank-you, Julie. How’s Puzzle? GREAT, I hope!….
        Sorry it took me 9 days to see your reply….
        Yes, me, too – the psych meds did far more harm than good….
        (The Velveteen Rabbit – EXCELLENT “How-To” guide!….)….
        “Recovery” – whatever that means to you – is a long, slow process….
        A life-long process. But there’s lots of good times, if it’s done right, and if we can find, or BE, some support….
        (Many of the drugs are active in the limbic system of the brain, which is very involved in emotional responses…. Regular exercise, including SOME type & amount of Yoga / Tai Chi / meditation / Spirituality / walking / bicycling / swimming, &etc…. was VITAL. Still is….)
        THANKS, Julie! WOOF, Puzzle! 😉

        Report comment

  15. Bradford, Puzzle is doing great, thanks for asking. She is getting her hair cut! This means better watch out. That’s right, future dangerousness! Because she increases tenfold in cuteness after a haircut. Spoiled rotten here we come….

    Oh how I wish there was some magic formula that would solve any problemo that comes our way. Probably Ask Your Dog might work better
    than anything psychiatry ever offered me in three decades though. Puzzle says she wants to be loved, fed, walked, and scratched behind the ears now and then. Decent formula, eh? Try that instead of lithium so you can keep your kidneys as a bonus.

    Report comment

LEAVE A REPLY