My husband has been bipolar for the majority of his life, I think, plus it runs in his family. But he has just had his first major manic episode since I've known him and has been diagnosed with BP officially. He has now been on 2x 300mg Lithium per day and 1x Risperidone and has been taking his meds for the past 6 days. Just looking for some experiences from bipolar people or spouses of. What can I realistically expect from his recovery? How long does lithium generally take to kick in and can a BP person on meds get fully back to normal or does it not work like that?
I have researched it a lot, of course, and most sources say it takes at least a few weeks to months for the meds to kick in and that is presuming they are the correct ones and the dosage is right. One of the reasons I am asking, however, is because while he was manic he had some 'indiscretions' with a total of two girls he works with. He does realize what he has done and he has apologized for it, but I know the guy he used to be would be utterly cut up about it and he does not seem to be. He simply 'brushes it off' as a symptom of the disease or he tells me he is blocking it out. Is this just because he is still living in a dream world or is this something that is likely to change? Do BP people ever fully realize (mentally and emotionally) the damage they have caused to themselves and their loved ones? Is it my fault for being too understanding? So confused...
Also, my husband is still manic while on his medication (although much improved since he started taking it). Is this a bad thing? Just because most stories you read, the BP person has a manic episode, then crashes into depression, then goes on meds. Will it make a difference to his recovery that he has been put on meds while still manic? I have heard from other people on lithium that the effects can be 'numbing of the mind' and detachment from other people, so I'm just a bit worried he will stay in this dream state forever now.
First off, I am sorry to hear about the indiscression. It's hard on BP sufferrers but even harder on those around them when they lose control. In my experience, I only realise the consequences when I cycle back down from a manic mood to a depressed mood and then, it hit's me like a ton of bricks (but with me, when I crash, I crash hard and it often lead to severe depression and deep regret).
The fact that your husband seems "disconnected" is not uncommon for BP sufferers but this can be as a result of either the BP it self or the medication.
Medication can have drastically different outcomes from one patient to the next.
I only started to feel a difference after my third week on Lithium. In my case (and please note carefully, this is me and won't necissarily have the same affect on your husband), I had 6 months of total bliss. I had never felt better in my entire life and even thought I was "Cured". The problem is that like with most meds, the affect faded. At least the lithium seems to retain a stronger positive affect...but still a much lesser affect then the initial one that I experienced.
My point is that if you do see a change, don't pin your hopes (or fears for that matter) on that change to be permanent, at least not untill his doctor has determined wether the medication has stabalised. This is mostly why (especially with Lithium), the patient has to have a re-evaluation after a period of time to check wether the medication affected them positively or negatively and make adjustments to the dosage and/or type.
Even if your husband got "stuck" in a manic state (which I doubt would occur), his dr will most definately change his medication.
One thing that I want to mention, is that medication (not only for BP but any chemical-inbalance condition) is for the most part either a long term or life-long solution. You can't take your meds only when you are depressed or when you are manic as the medication takes time to take affect. (Seasonal affect disorder or S.A.D most probably is a exclusion on this rule).