Abilify and I – More Adventures in Antipsychotics


It’s Wednesday. I’m not quite a week in yet, but I do have a report about some obvious side effects.

Headache. Like that’s new for me.

But, there really are some brand new ones:

Stomach upset, Nausea:

The first day, I had stomach upset so badly that I was actually having stomach pain. The stomach upset created nausea, and almost had me hugging the toilet several times. It’s like morning sickness.

So, I started treating it like morning sickness. Crackers and flat water, every morning.

Increased thirst:

I instantly dehydrated the very same night, within hours.

After a few days, I still have to wake up and pound 16 oz. of water. Then, I have my coffee and pound another 16 oz. of water. Rinse and repeat until I’ve consumed about 96 oz. of water in a day.

Interestingly enough, I figured out the increased hunger phenomenon. It’s not actually hunger, though it is translated as such. Once I dehydrate badly enough, my body starts sending hunger signals. It’s common for people to mix up hunger and thirst.

I’m not actually hungry. And even when I am, I’m experiencing a side effect not on the list. Fullness. I can’t eat a whole meal. I have to have several light meals. I fill up quickly and bloat. Maybe it’s due to the water consumption.

Needless to say, I’m careful about my food consumption.

Loss of temperature control:

I’m not surprised. If I am suffering from chronic dehydration, then this makes sense. I’m sensitive to both hot and cold, whereas the label only specifies heat intolerance as a side effect.

Body Aches:

This is listed, but I didn’t think I’d get it. This came as a surprise. The first few mornings, I couldn’t move. And lately, it’s only in the evening. My back tightens, and I get vicious knots and tender spots, the likes of which I haven’t experienced since my teens.

I have a plan to cure this one. My posture has gotten pretty bad since I stopped running and doing yoga. Instead, I’m going to do some on demand cardio, on demand yoga, and Wii yoga. Hopefully, it’ll strengthen the muscles I need for posture and help me shed some more pounds for better flexibility.

Emotional flatness:

Okay, not completely. I feel like my emotions are muted, though I’m still short-tempered. There just isn’t anything in there. I’ll just sit there in this kind of nothingness. It’s not emptiness, or a void. It’s more like a vacuum. My head is mostly quiet, minus the new phenomenon of songs that just pop up in my head and play repeatedly.

I find that I just don’t care. I mean, I’m still irritable, but it passes pretty quickly. But mostly, it’s apathy.

Increased libido:

This is not a side effect on the list. I find that I’m thinking about sex a lot more than usual. I fantasize about sex. I crave it. I can’t wait to have sex.

One thing that started occurring that never did before was lust. Since I’ve been married, no other man could grab my attention. Now, I am seeing men differently. They used to just be people, and I was this seemingly asexual creature. Now, I can see physically attractive qualities, and think about them in a sexual nature.

No, I don’t fantasize about these men. They’re just suddenly pleasant to look at.

And that’s about it. I could have done a lot worse.

What side effects did you have?

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17 thoughts on “Abilify and I – More Adventures in Antipsychotics

  1. I was recently diagnosed with bipolar ii three weeks ago. i was already on effexor so my doctor prescribed abilify. the nausea lasted about a week- literally i had to lay down on the couch with a bowl next to me in case i vomited (i didn’t but it felt like having the flu). after a week it stopped and my doctor told me most people will take it before bed so that they sleep through any side effects (nausea or sweating if it doesn’t ease up for you after a week or so). my depression has started lifting so i am grateful. give the abilify another couple of weeks and you will be glad you did. the nausea just disappears one day. increased libido- yes!! love it!

    • I have been taking it before bed. It’s been so vicious that it lasts throughout the night. To be fair, I only sleep about 5 to 7 hours a night. So short of a sleep that my contact solution isn’t inactive yet. Yes, I learned that the hard way one morning.

      No sweating, just bad temperature regulation. But, like I said, I already had that to begin with. My body seems to be running hot, which is odd, because I’ve never really had that problem before. I guess that’s why it’s burning off all of my water. No increased urination, so I’m not worried about diabetes, yet. If I start any unexplained weight loss or gain, I’ll know.

      I woke up this morning, and I was happy. I only hit the snooze on my alarm twice. To be fair, I have it set in 4 minute intervals, so that’s not even the length of a typical snooze on a regular alarm. It’s before 10am, and I’m awake. We’ll see how long it lasts, because I’m still getting frustrated pretty easily, and then the irritation sets in. Oh, and I’m still have random panic attacks. That’s pretty common for me, anyway. That’s why I take the Xanax.

      I hope that I get to keep the increased libido! Oh, and I found two new ones last night. I have this problem solving ability that I never had before. It helps the creativity and focus. But, there’s a bad one. It seems to aggravate the obsessive compulsive tendencies that I have. I showered for almost an hour yesterday. Our tub was stopped up, and I hadn’t bathed in three days. Then, last night, I started picking at my feet again until one of my toes was bleeding under the nail. I painted my nails, and went as far as putting my feet into moisturizing socks. Then, this morning, I used my Pedegg to scrape off loose skin.

      All while thinking that I intend to do it all over again today.

      I swept my floors three times yesterday. I can’t stand stepping on things. If I had my area rugs down, there would have been a vacuum involved for hours.

      I hope that goes away. But, as compared to a lot of other things that I could have, I don’t care.

  2. on the eating- my doctor told me to get a bag of baby carrots in case i wanted to stuff my face but i just feel full all the time and don’t feel like eating, but i think that’s the depression and not the medicine. i am the same weight i was 3 weeks ago

    • Yes! I feel full all of the time too! I’m not even depressed. I’m taking this because I went off the hook manic. It’s definitely the medicine. And the upset stomach puts me off all food, usually. Figuring out when I’m really hungry is difficult.

      I was never hungry before this, and it was bad enough to where I’d have to follow the dips in my blood sugar. I’ve been keeping a food diary, just to keep track of my calories. I don’t know when to eat, because I feel like I’m always kind of hungry. But, I don’t want to eat because my stomach is just so bad.

      My doctor was more concerned about the akinethesia. So far, so good. I’m a little more lethargic. But, I’m taking Wellbutrin on combination (which I’m told is one of the few antidepressants that doesn’t have a serious interation), so it seems to even out certain things.

  3. I documented my entire experience with Abilify in a journal a few years ago (when it was still experimental) and just posted it on my blog. Please read it and see if you can relate to other side-effects I had (like colors being brighter, passing out at random, anhedonia, etc.). Every time I see one of their ads on TV with the stupid depression umbrellas or bathrobes I just want to scream and throw something. Your post made me feel much less alone in the experience I had. Thank you for sharing.
    – Amelia

    • I’m glad to read it. And I’m making mental notes as I go.

      And I’m really glad to hear that you enjoyed my post. Believe me, when I see commercials, like the one featuring the Zoloft blob, I want to throttle people. This isn’t a joke. My bathrobe isn’t going to fly off my body when I put this pill into it. In fact, it’s more likely that it will just start melting into my body instead.

      The Zoloft Blob is the one I really despise. You know:

      I was misdiagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder to begin with. And all of these doctors were eager to cram the newest pill on the market down my throat. I kid you not. I know Zoloft is a lot older than me, but I was among the trial bunnies in 2000 to get the drug into the mentally unstable children’s market. Funny, because I was maxed out beyond the standard 200mg dose, and I still wasn’t getting any better.

      Lexapro made me worse. I was on it almost the second it was on the market early in ’03. In hindsight, I saw how it progressively made me worse. I started in early ’03, and within the first two weeks, I tried to take my life numerous times. As I progressed, I became more unstable. I’m starting to see this now. I started cutting again in that year. I took my first steps into substance abuse that year. I’m starting to see the periods of wild flights of mania. And hilariously enough, some of those memories are the best memories my husband and I have of each other in our youth. (We were friends long before we were married).

      So, I feel you. I started taking Abilify after a small squabble with my doctor. He wanted me on Seroquel, and I just had to tell him no. I am prone to weight gain. That makes any antipsychotic dangerous for me. I’m already prediabetic. I have to work hard just to maintain, and I’m still only hovering close to my lowest adult weight. I’m not taking any chances.

      When my doctor opened up his desk to get some literature, that’s when I saw all of the Seroquel marketing stuff. I know it doesn’t mean anything, especially when he gave both my sister and me Risperidol when we were first talking about psychotic symptoms (individually, of course). But, I’m still burned, you know?

      • I totally understand- I gained 30lbs on Seroquel! My pdocs knew I refused to take Abilify again, and that the weight gain was dangerous to my health, so he decided on this new antipsychotic. I was a lab rat for Geodon, which was still in experimental stages when I first got on it, but now there is a generic and the price has gone down significantly. The one drug I recommend to all BPD people is Lamictal. It is a wonderdrug mood-stabilizer. Have you tried it?

        • I’m on it. We’re still holding steady at 300mg from 250mg. My doc doesn’t want to go much higher right now.

          It took a couple of weeks for me to start seeing a lot of mood benefit from it. And it only keeps me so-so stable without the Abilify. It took the edge off of the mania, and didn’t do much for the periodic crying episodes.

  4. Also, my new pdoc put me on Geodon (an antipsychotic) and i have done spectacularly well on it. The only side effect I’ve had is unwanted facial hair, which is much easier to deal with than vomiting and fainting.

    • Oh yeah, the dizziness and benign positional vertigo started yesterday. It’s not too often, though. The nausea is mostly gone now. So, I guess now I’m going to have to work through another whole range of side effects. No matter. The only one that was bad enough to make me change my mind was the nausea.

  5. good news is that the night sweats stopped two nights ago and so i think they lasted 3 weeks. i got startled super easy (i would jump out of my chair at sudden noises) the first couple weeks but that has slowed down and is almost gone now. it’s pulled me enough out of my depression so i give it major credit. good luck!

    • It took my intrusive thoughts away almost completely. I still get them every now and again. Maybe like once a day or so. It’s not like it was, living in a world where I wasn’t sure what was real.

      The thirst continues, as does the amped up libido and the fullness. A new one appeared. If I’m in a bad emotional place, I’ll start to get dizziness and vertigo. I just have to keep calm, I guess.

      No weight gain. Yay!

      I’ll gladly take these over the alternative.

  6. Much better than my own experiences with atypical antipsychotics. Every single one caused visual and hearing hallucinations. Hang in there. First few weeks on any meds are the worse.

    • I’m doing great now, actually. I missed it one day, and boy did I see the difference! I’ve been meaning to write a follow up, so thanks for reminding me!

      And that’s such an atypical (ha ha, punny) reaction! Did the doctors ever say why? Is that common? I mean, I wouldn’t really know. I’ve only ever been on two atypicals, and this one actually works. No weight gain, and hardly any other effects at this point.

  7. Geodon gabe me akinthenesia, I hated it. Seroquel I attempted suicide with and use to become stoned. Abilify didn’t make a dent in the voices, just like every other psychotropic they have put me on. Now I’m just on Lorazepam at night and a Trazadone if I just can’t get to sleep with Protandim to keep me stable.
    I’m resigned to live with the Voices as long as I live. I have an Ego Defense of 50 and 75% Mental Damage Reduction, so the Ego Attacks and Mind Control bounces. I’m me. They aren’t.

    • I’m still having a problem gaining control over that. I’ll redirect you to some posts about the personas and things of that nature when I’m finished up here. The voices aren’t just an auditory thing. They are a partial mental dissociation, or so they tell me. Like you said, defense mechanism. But, I don’t have a whole lot of control over when one decides it’s going to take over. It’s not a complete takeover, more like a hostile struggle, in which the main persona, the self, is momentarily paralyzed to watch events play out in third person.

      Psychosis or dissociation? It’s getting hard to tell the difference anymore. And if it is psychosis, then I have a feeling I’m starting to get to the borderlands of DID and schizoaffective disorder. I am aware of these personas. I call them personas, because they aren’t full blown independent personalities. My terminology on this one, not psychological terminology. I’m rusty on that.

      I wrote a little one it during a mixed fit. Conscious, Subconscious, and Extraconscious. I like to think that I’m smart enough to come up with my own psych theories when I’m in those states.

  8. Pingback: 99th Post Celebration! « Sunny With a Chance Of Armageddon

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