the only catch was Catch-22

I’ve written about this before, so maybe this is just part of the greatest hits. I don’t know.

We are living in an era in which we have ostensibly seen improvements in the visibility of people living with mental illness and in public understanding and support for them. From my limited vantage the average American seems more aware of specific disorders and the symptoms associated with them than they were in my youth. We are, at least, less likely to be confronted with overt stigmas against having a mental illness and more inclined to understand that many millions of Americans suffer from one.

It has not all been progress. There is a weird sense in which the effort to destigmatize mental illness has led some people to sort of sunnily ignore the myriad negative aspects of having one. I have been frequently confused by people who, having learned of my mental illness, react by essentially expressing the attitude that my illness must not impact my behavior or otherwise threaten my grip on life. This is well-meaning, I guess, to think that mental illness is so normal as to be unworthy of mention. But it is the opposite of what those with mental illnesses need, which is precisely an understanding that mental illness alters behavior – that the mentally ill are not the camera-ready crazy dreamers the movies have sold to you, but regular human beings who are flawed in all the normal ways and have the added problem of reduced impulse control, delusions about the current reality, and compromised cognitive functioning.

At an extreme you have the new and bizarre ritual of people insisting after a mass shooting that a shooter could not possibly be mentally ill, as mental illness never compels people to violence. (To say otherwise would be to promote stigma.) But some mentally ill people, a minority but some, most certainly are inclined to violence when symptomatic, and it only hurts their interests to pretend otherwise.

(This question is not the same as the question about whether people who suffer from mental illness are responsible for their behaviors while symptomatic. I am, personally, but that’s a far different conversation than I want to have.)

I suspect that in fact recent woke norms about mental illness have contributed to one of the most casually destructive attitudes one can have: the sense that the only real expression of mental illness is in psychosis. Mental illness is normal, so it becomes relevant only in those cases where someone is so far gone that the facade of normalcy crumbles. But mental health symptoms are spectral, not binary, and in fact most people become symptomatic gradually, with no clear break between a lucid reality and a delusional mindset. And in these stages, these grey pre-psychotic areas, help can potentially be most effective: it can save people a great deal of problems by intervening before they hit someone, before they spend all their money, before they make paranoid threats, before they commit the behaviors that they then have to account for when they are in recovery and thus in their most vulnerable state.

The problem is that the system seems set up to make getting help in these stages impossible.

My experience in 2017 seems typical. My bipolar cycle is exceptionally slow, depression and mania building in turn over the course of months. I certainly don’t envy people with rapid cycling bipolar disorder, but the alternative offers its own challenges. For me it is a perfect example of the classic trope of the boiling frog: my cycles descend on me so slowly and gradually that I don’t notice them until they are at such an acute stage that they become unmistakable. In a depressive phase this is tricky because depression makes things like getting to see a psychiatrist for meds and securing a therapist seem like an impossible mountain to climb. In a manic phase the condition is worse, as the paranoia makes me view treatment with suspicion and thus anyone who suggests it as a potential enemy who is working towards nefarious ends.

Events and my own bad behavior made treatment impossible to avoid, though I was able to stave it off long enough to inflict permanent injury to my own life and to treat others inexcusably. I was forced into care. Most importantly, my brother got involved and came up to New York to get me into treatment, without which I think it would have required arrest before I would have entered into any kind of program.

We first went to a facility that has a dedicated psychiatric emergency room, which seemed like the place where my problems were most likely to be taken seriously. And yet when I got worked up there the doctor did not take me seriously. I was ambulatory, I was communicative, I was unrestrained, and these facts alone seemed to signal to him that I was not a candidate for emergency psychiatric care. This despite my loudly stated and deeply sincere belief that there was a conspiracy working against me and that they would soon turn to violent means to hurt me. He asked me about my first break when I was younger, an event which certainly qualifies as full-blown psychosis and ended with me shot up with Haldol. He seemed unimpressed.

Eventually it became clear that we were doing a dance that, I have to believe, happens all the time: the admitting psychiatrist would only entertain admission if I indicated I was a danger to myself and to others – that is, if I was willing to say the magic words that can trigger involuntary commitment. But giving up control over my life and being forced to placate shadowy authority figures to get it back was utterly against the desires of my paranoid mind. I was facing a far-too typical dilemma: how I could get admitted without being committed. How could I prove the severity of my problem without triggering the potentially devastating consequences of involuntary commitment?

This is the terrible bind people with mental illness sometimes find themselves in: the sense among loved ones and even medical professionals that people lucid enough to know they need help are therefore too lucid to need help. That is the Catch-22, the bind. And experience suggest to me that it represents a clear impediment to care. How many people with a deep need for care have declined to seek professional help for fear of ending up in involuntary commitment, giving up their personal autonomy in the most basic sense?

I’m sure some would question whether someone who was lucid enough to attempt to avoid involuntary commitment was really experiencing a psychotic episode. Well, first, for me specifically, it makes sense: my manic states are characterized by extreme paranoia more than anything else. I see enemies everywhere. Knowing that the intervention of medical personnel invites risk of catching an involuntary commitment changes my paranoid behavior and gives me a very convenient excuse to avoid treatment. More to the point, it seems to me that progress will come precisely when we stop seeing manic states in binary terms of psychotic and minor. Too many people in the mental health community seem not able to understand that for many, there are periods in which the need for help becomes obvious to the conscious mind even while the perceptions of that mind become more and more distorted.

Leaving that hospital in Staten Island was one of the most brutal “what the fuck do I do now?” moments of my life. Ultimately sheer pragmatism pushed me in the direction of outpatient care: while there were surely private facilities that would have taken me on as an admitted patient, navigating the thicket of America’s health insurance system made inpatient care seem impossible. It took days more, and some deeply unpleasant medical misadventures while in a manic state, but I was able to connect with a doctor who got me on a short-term antipsychotic that made possible my adherence to a full treatment regimen, including long-term oral antipsychotics. I got lucky. I had the right friends and the support of family and enough money on hand to pay out of pocket. Many people don’t have those things.

I recognize that inpatient care is not appropriate for all patients or in all cases. I understand that in New York at least there is a city-wide effort to steer more patients away from costly hospital stays and towards outpatient care. I even broadly agree with that effort. And some would say that my experience demonstrates the system working, that outpatient care has worked and that pursuing it was more appropriate than being admitted for days or weeks. I don’t know, maybe they’re right.

I do know, though, that the conversation with me and that ER psychiatrist was a deeply unhealthy, disordered thing, both of us stalking around a legal definition that would compel him to act in a way that I found untenable. I am certain that this dynamic plays out all the time. I recognize that the life of an ER psychiatrist is likely difficult and that, given how often they experience psychosis, anything less than a full-blown case might seem like a waste of time. But there has to be a space between involuntary commitment on one hand and sedatives and the street on the other. One of the most basic needs of someone seeking psychiatric care is to have their problems reaffirmed as real problems, and yet bureaucratic and legal entanglements push doctors to see patients first as potential vectors for liability. It’s just not healthy for either side of the equation.

Triage is a fact of life in medicine. But the triage nurse should not be a formidable barrier to care, and too often, I have reason to believe, they are. If I fall out of a tree and tell my doctor that I think I broke my leg, that belief does not somehow complicate his or her diagnosis of whether I in fact did. And if I, now 17 years removed from my first diagnosis, am capable of acknowledging to medical personnel that I have descended again into manic hell, that should not confuse anyone into thinking that my condition is therefore not dire. If we are to dismantle stigma, let’s dismantle this one while we’re at it: the pernicious and false notion that people who can perceive their own illness aren’t really ill.

climbing up the walls

April 21, 2018, 12:50 pm

I gained 30 lbs in less than one month by taking Zyprexa. It causes such extreme food cravings for me I eat all the time, even when it really hurts I still keep eating. And I lift weights and do a lot of cardio, so I probably would have gained more.

That was in August of 2017. I stopped taking Zyprexa due to the extreme weight gain, and just now I have gotten back down to the 250’s. I seriously went from 255lbs to 285 lbs in less than a month.

March 1, 2018, 11:53 pm

This drug has made me really fat, I have horrible stretch marks on my arms and none of my clothes fit me. I’ve been off the drug for a few months now and the weight is not coming off. I’m living on salmon and couscous. My parents gave me so much grief about the weight even though they knew it was the drugs, it’s horrid.

December 22, 2017, 6:10 pm

Zyprexa ruined my life. It made me so fat I wanted to kill myself. 60lb in 3 months and I didn’t eat any more than I normally would have because I was inpatient in hospital, no visitors, no outside food. It caused stretch marks and I looked disgusting.

I showered with my bra on and rarely changed my clothes. I was a fat stinking sweating mess and now that it’s been 10 years, I have lost all the weight and more. I am now underweight and near-anorexic with a trench coat of loose skin. This drug should be illegal to prescribe to pretty girls.

January 2, 2017, 11:36 am

I was started on 5mg of olanzapine and 40mg of citalopram 3 or4 years ago. I had weight problems prior to going on the medication so when it happened again when I went on Zyprexa, I assumed I was the problem. Before going on it, I had lost 30 kg from my last weight gain. Then I started zyprexa and very quickly gained 15, 20 kgs.

Slowly, my weight has been going up and up. I’ve now gained 40kgs (90 pounds) from this medication. You just don’t feel full or satisfied. Ever. I could feel absolutely starving even after eating seconds. My tummy could be full to bursting but I’ll still be craving food. I also think this drug is the cause of my hypersomnia.

I would be awake for 2 hours. 2 hours! And be so tired I had to go back to sleep. I could sleep for 18 hours and still feel tired. Feeling depressed and anxious most days, I stopped doing anything basically. I got no exercise and when I wasn’t asleep, I was eating. So that obviously didn’t help my weight gain.

In the last 12 months I have completely changed my lifestyle. I got a job, I do between 6-10k steps a day and I make healthier choices with food. But the cravings are still there. I have managed to lose 7kgs but it has taken 12 months.

I have been afraid to come off zyprexa as I have heard horror stories but I think I just have to take a leap of faith. I can’t stay on this medication any longer! I am 40kgs overweight and so unhappy.

Liz Australia
November 25, 2016, 10:53 am

Don’t know what happened to my earlier post… Anyway, I’ll start by saying how much I loathe the company for making such terrible drugs which either a. Make you fat or b. Are hard to get off. Basically we turn into legalized druggies and the company is laughing all the way to the bank. It’s just morally wrong.

My story goes like this: I was put on 2.5 mg, then fell pregnant, gained a whopping 25kg, developed gestational diabetes (considering my first pregnancy, when i was unmedicated and no diabetes, I only gained a normal 10 to 12 kg, go figure). And the constant craving for food… what can I say? The “I’m full” switch in your brain ceases to function. The more I learn about it, the more I absolutely despise it and the company. This stuff is cruel.

November 23, 2016, 8:16 pm

I’m taking 5mg of this drug and gained 2 and half stone over 7months! I gained 1 stone 4 lb inside 6 weeks alone! The doctor says it’s because of increased appetite, but honestly my diet is similar to before I started the drug, noting to warrant so much weight gain. It’s an awful side effect. I’m hoping I lose the weight once treatment ceases…

November 8, 2016, 2:28 am

Hi all, I have been on Zyprexa for a year and a half on 10 mg for Bipolar disorder. I have gained over 60 lbs, and am very self conscious because the community I live in are all beautiful fit people. I got off the drug 2 weeks ago and have not noticed any changes to my eating habits. I have not lost any weight.

My question is how long does it take for Zyprexa to leave the system for you to experience the possibility of weight loss? A company that I purchase supplements from such as amino acids and others for depression and bipolar said that it takes 90 days because it is stuck in your fat cells. Anyone can provide info on this it would be of great help!

October 28, 2016, 7:36 pm

I was on this pill for two months and I gained 14 pounds in 3 1/2 weeks and my clothes weren’t fitting and I was depressed because of it. I was using it for sleep and it put me to sleep early I was waking up early like I wanted to and it really works for sleep but I gained almost 15 pounds in a month and I had to take myself off of it cold turkey. I also take some Cymbalta, Rumor has it this pill makes you gain weight as well. We can not win! 🙁

October 25, 2016, 6:57 am

I was on Zyprexa… I went from about 75kg all the way up to 100kgs. I come off it and didn’t lose any weight because of the Seroquel I take but I want to know if Zyprexa causes permanent metabolism problems. Can anyone answer that for me?

January 11, 2018, 8:35 am

I too would like to know if its possible to reverse the slowing down of metabolism caused by zyprexa. I’m off zyprexa 6 months and still haven’t lost the extra fat I gained as a result of this drug, despite eating significantly less and exercising significantly more. But I was on 17.5 mg – other people on lower doses may not b affected as severely.

I draw hope from the fact that, 5 months after stopping this drug, my nail biting habit reemerged (I’d bitten my nails for 25 yrs and that stopped automatically after my zyprexa dose was hiked to 17.5mg). I’ve read that nail biting is associated with dopamine activity so for me, the urge to bite my nails again is a hopeful sign that the dopamine activity/ dopamine receptors are gradually being restored/unblocked??

Who knows…nobody can tell me, but maybe its possible that my metabolism can eventually be restored too. I live in hope like so many other victims commenting here. This is a nasty drug that did me no good, personally. In my view the psychiatric profession play around with people’s bodies and minds with ‘treatments’ that they little understand for ‘illnesses’ that they little understand.

I believe that years from now society will look back on zyprexa ‘treatment’ in the same way as we regard lobotomies and other inhumane ‘treatments’ of the ‘mentally ill’.

October 24, 2016, 4:16 pm

I have been on olanzapine for 12 years and have gained 25kgs. Not sure how to get rid of this medicine without getting back the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

October 24, 2016, 8:59 am

I too have gained weight with this medication. I can no longer squeeze into my clothes and have had to buy some bigger sized, but cannot afford a complete new wardrobe. I cannot continue to take this drug. There must be an alternative that works.

Anita Tate
October 1, 2016, 2:11 am

I have been on Zyprexa 5 mg. and Depakote 500 mg. for approximately 15 years. My P. Dr. put me on Depakote first for bipolar. I gained 15 pounds a month until I was 200 lbs. Then, he had to put me on Zyprexa. I continued to gain weight and overeat (binge eating) until I weighed 250 lbs. I am 5’5″ tall. I also now have Type II Diabetes.

The two drugs are good mood stabilizers and antidepressants. They did make me stable, but oh what a price! I have to take insulin now which also has a side effect of weight gain. 1st two months on insulin I gained 30 lbs. I gained 20 more & I weigh 305.

I am thinking about weaning off both drugs. I want my health back!!! I ate salads at night and lost 10 lbs. in one week. So you can lose weight while on them. I am going to have to be more diligent and watch my carbs. They need to come up with a drug that works with no side effects!!!

September 27, 2016, 10:19 pm

The periods I took 5 to 10 mg/day of Olanzapine (Zyprexa) I gained a lot of weight. I’m not even schizophrenic. I have OCD. Now I take 2,5 mg/day along with 20 mg/day of Fluoxetine. I still have a few pounds to lose, but by swimming 3 hours per week and trying to eat as healthy as possible (I became vegetarian a year ago) I have managed to lose a lot of it.

I will never, ever take a higher dose of this crap again. It’s suicidal. If I ever become bad again, I will ask for something else.

September 23, 2016, 10:12 pm

What an absolute joke!! Why do they prescribe this stuff? The doctor increased my dose to 15mg, I gained half a stone in 5 days. Currently been been taking this for 14 years. Impossible to stop taking due sleep problems. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

August 3, 2016, 11:54 pm

I started 10mg of Zyprexa with 20 mg of Prozac about 4 weeks ago. I’ve gained 10 pounds and crave sweet foods like crazy before I hardly had any food cravings except for salty. I weighed about 100 pounds and now I’m up to 112, but my stomach is much larger than the rest of me. Other than having a high appetite, my moods are good. I have bipolar and schizoaffective disorder. I don’t know how much more weight I can handle, but my brain feels better.

Brian B.
August 2, 2016, 5:40 am

I was prescribed 2.5 mg/night for insomnia. The sleep is amazing but I immediately started gaining weight. I went from 190 lbs to 210 lbs in less than 6 months. Because of the weight gain I’ve tried to stop taking this cold turkey several times but had bad withdrawal symptoms. I almost can’t fit in my clothes anymore so I will be attempting to taper off this time, hopefully in a few weeks.

July 9, 2016, 4:54 pm

I went to rehab a month ago for meth addiction. I was 95 lbs then and was given lithium and olanzapine as meds. I was horrified to see that I gained 25 lbs in a month of taking the meds. I stopped taking it despite doctor’s orders after knowing from my other psychiatrist that one of the side effects of those meds was to gain weight.

I am fine without taking these drugs but I’m just afraid that I may be confined back for non-compliance of the drugs. My question is, why am I prescribed of such drugs when I am not bipolar nor psychotic? My mood is perfectly normal and I am not delusional. Please help me understand. Thank you.

julie brady
June 7, 2016, 8:02 pm

Went onto this medication in February along with Wellbutrin and sertraline. I soon developed cravings for sugary carbs similar to the craving sensations I had when pregnant. I am constantly hungry and never feel full. It is difficult to stop eating when the cravings are so strong. I have put on at least 10 lbs and know that this has a negative impact on my mood.

June 5, 2016, 9:46 am

I have gained over 80 pounds on Zyprexa within 2 years. I started on 15mg per day and now down to 2.5mg. My weight plateaued when I started taking metformin. When my doctor reduced the Zyprexa to 2.5mg and I tried cutting out sugar I lost about 15lbs but it didn’t stay off. I am still on 300mg Lithium as well so I am not sure how much that contributes.

If I got off Zyprexa completely but stayed on Lithium do you think that would help me lose weight? Even though it’s already such a low dose? I went from 135lbs to 220lbs. I hate it, I don’t feel like myself and something needs to change.

July 28, 2016, 11:31 am

Izzy, you would have noticed the weight gain right away if it was going to affect you that way. I gained 50 pounds in the first year alone, starting from day one. It’s true that a minority of people aren’t affected weight-wise by Zyprexa…consider yourself lucky and stay on it so you don’t relapse with your eating disorder.

May 11, 2016, 2:49 pm

I gained 15 pounds immediately on this medicine – my diet didn’t change at all. I didn’t eat anything more than I usually do. I had to basically starve myself not to gain any more weight, but I couldn’t lose the 15 no matter what I did – I would just look at a side salad with fat free dressing and I would gain 3 pounds.

It was horrible and my doctor blamed me for the weight gain – he said I wasn’t trying hard enough. I’ve been off this medicine for about 4 months and the weight literally fell off – I didn’t even have to try. I’m smaller now than when I went on the medicine. I can eat anything I want and I just keep losing weight.

I had a burger and fries last night as a test (I haven’t had fries, chips, or pasta in over 2 years) and I weighed myself this morning and I actually lost a pound. I’m praying that I never have to go on this medicine again – the other side effect for me, besides weight gain, was that I had no thoughts at all and I couldn’t talk – it was horrible.

May 6, 2016, 10:41 pm

Oh man, the hunger on Zyprexa is relentless. Just relentless. All my former tricks to cope with hunger no longer work. I spoke with a family doctor about Metformin and it was a no based on normal blood sugars… which is a positive. Yet the relentless hunger gnaws on. Water, vegetables, fatty meals, like McDonalds (which normally should stop hunger for hours for me) only last 30-60 minutes before the gnawing begins again. Well, off to walk an hour. No other answer…except also just learning to be hungry all the time without eating to solve it.

April 27, 2016, 5:51 pm

I’ve been taking it (in shot form) once a month for a little over a year and I have gained more than 50 lbs… How much more than 50 I’m not sure but it is significant and I do think I’ve had increased appetite since taking it. I’ve been doing crossfit for 6-7 months and no results. I’m going to talk to my doctor as soon as I get the chance.

April 15, 2016, 7:57 am

I started taking Zyprexa about a month ago. I have gained a significant amount of weight already and have been getting really depressed about it. After reading this, I threw my remaining pills away!

April 10, 2016, 3:08 am

I have put on one hundred pounds over the 4 years I have been on it. Now I know why… I am on 30mg a day. It is the only thing that touched my psychosis.

Carina Jones
March 27, 2016, 4:18 am

I have been on Zyprexa off and on for a couple of years now and have recently been put back onto a 5mg daily dose and didn’t seem to be gaining weight until the past three weeks, I’ve been gaining 1 kilo each week and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. I am going to have to talk to my doctor about this because I eat a strict vegetarian diet and train 6 days a week and still I’m gaining weight… fast!

March 14, 2016, 11:01 am

I have been on Zyprexa for almost a year, starting on 30 mg and coming down to 5 mg over the past couple of months. I have put around two stone (28 lbs) in weight and, although the dose has been reduced and although I have reduced the amount of food I am eating, there are no signs of the weight coming off.

March 7, 2016, 10:42 pm

I have gained about ten pounds in 2 months, and steadily climbing, which is a lot for me. My doctor is tapering down on the Zyprexa now, so I hope this enables me to be able to lose at least some of it.

March 3, 2016, 12:45 am

I started taking Zyprexa in January 2015 and by June I had gained 100 pounds. One hundred. Fortunately it leveled off and I have since stopped taking it. My weight is (slowly) starting to fall off. Whew!

February 26, 2016, 7:20 pm

Oh yes I have gained weight on Zyprexa! Went from a size 8 to a size 16 in about 2 or 3 months. While I really hate the weight gain, this drug saved my life VERY quickly – like within a couple of weeks. I battle suicidal tendencies and attempted suicide on January 8, 2015.

I was put on Zyprexa in the hospital and within a matter of days I could tell a difference in the way I felt. Within two weeks I was discharged from the hospital. I felt SO much better and was definitely ready to go home and get back to life. This is a miracle drug, just with bad side effects.

January 24, 2016, 8:13 am

I have been on this medication for about a year now. 2 months ago my doctor increased my dosage from 2.5 mg to 5 mg per day. I gained around 4 kg almost immediately although I was not eating much and was doing yoga 4 hours a day (I was on a training course). I have since decreased my dose to the initial 2.5 mg, but despite my efforts, I have failed to lose the weight which is so frustrating. Now I am thinking about discussing this issue with my doctor and discontinue the medication or replace it.

September 7, 2015, 9:35 pm

I am meticulous about my dietary and exercise habits. I had been taking 2.5 mg of Zyprexa twice per week and my weight was stable (BMI 23). I had a period of decompensation and the dose was increased to 5 mg daily. I gained 12 pounds in 2 months!! I’ll be calling my doctor tomorrow to see about reducing my dose…

July 20, 2015, 11:35 pm

I have been on Zyprexa for 11 years. I put on 90 pounds immediately. I was allergic to or couldn’t tolerate anything else that would help me so I just had to hang in there. By sheer will power and with the help of a lot of cardio, weight training and Weight Watchers, I lost 68 of those pounds. But the battle continued and I grew very weary from the constant work of keeping those pounds off. Long story short, I’m back at 90 pounds overweight. Now I have hope though. We have finally found a combination of meds that, in low doses, do not cause weight gain and that are solving my issues. Now to wean myself off the last little bit of Zyprexa and begin the weight loss all over again.

July 18, 2015, 12:15 am

This medication is evil. I call it the fat pill. I think I gained 50 pounds. I lost it all when I went off. My stomach felt like it had a hole in it. I was always hungry and craving bad food. I got very hungry at night right after taking the evil pill. It made me binge eat… hated it – I forget what dose I was on, but I was only on it two years. It was a high dose. I am on a different medication that has no weight gain or any other evil side effects.

March 30, 2016, 5:09 pm

I gained 120 lbs in four months of taking this God awful drug after being forced to do so. The 20mg caused so many more issues, both physical and psychological, than being off them ever did. Thankfully I live in a state with legal marijuana and have now been able to keep my anxieties down, my mood swings are nowhere near where they were on the medication, my OCD is in better control, and my schizophrenic moments aren’t a bother. This pill isn’t just evil, it’s the devil.

July 17, 2015, 1:43 am

I reduced the amount of dose from 10 to 5 mg because I gained almost 20 lbs in 2 months. I like to know how long I should take this medication. Please someone answer me. I feel great but I do not want to gain weight. What are the other options?

July 7, 2015, 2:42 am

Oh my gosh, I gain about 30 lbs a month every time I have to go on this drug. This June 10 I went on 5 then 10 mg and it’s July 6, I’m 25 lbs heavier. So frustrated cause I had been losing weight slowly but surely before I had to go back on the zyprexa. Now I’m in the plus section again and feel miserable. I’m glad to be stable and not manic but what a high price. We shouldn’t have to put up with this. It’s too much. I gained 100 lbs on zyprexa after years of treatment. I slowly lost. But it’s always right around the corner cause I can’t stay stable and sometimes have to go back on zyprexa.

July 21, 2016, 11:21 pm

Zyprexa is very effective at giving a very troubled person some semblance of sanity but the weight gain is unreal. I have gained 20 lbs on 10mg in 3 weeks.

July 27, 2018, 4:04 am

I was taking 5 to 10 mg of zyprexa for three months. I was sleeping for 15 hours daily and gained at least 10 kg in three months. I went from 54 to 65 kg. I don’t know if this was from zyprexa or zoloft (which I also was also taking at the same time), but it was probably from zyprexa.

I had to stop to eat this evil drug. In next four to five months I lost around 7 or 8 kg, however, my stomach fat has still remained. 🙁 Many years ago, I was taking risperdal and zoloft both together and I didn’t gain any weight.

Now I don’t know how it was even possible, because I have heard that taking risperdal also leads to weight gain. However, this zyprexa was ineffective for me and my social phobia.

July 15, 2018, 2:10 am

I weighed 103 pounds when I was started on a dosage of 20mg of Zyprexa. My appetite increased and I mainly craved something sweet. I broke my hip and had surgery which caused my metabolism to really slow down. That was in 2017 and then I had knee replacement surgery and there isn’t many exercises that I can do.

My walking has slowed down. I can’t keep up with others. I also had wrist and thumb surgery & I just haven’t felt like exercising. I have cut out most of my sodas & deserts but I have gained 60 lbs. I am 66 years old.


the involuntary admission barrier to care

I am very far away from the news cycle, these days, but even I have not missed the horror of another terrible school shooting. As it should, the topic of America’s mental health system appears to have again come up. I want to very briefly note a serious practical barrier to appropriate care, which is the involuntary admission system.

When I reached the end of my ability to cope with my illness last August, I had a dilemma. I went to the hospital because of a long string of erratic and self-destructive behaviors. But the final event that drove me to seek emergency care was that I had accused a friend of hacking into my bank account and threatened to harm them in revenge. That they didn’t have me arrested was an act of mercy. When I got to the hospital, I knew that if I revealed that I had threatened physical harm to someone, I would be at risk of a 9.13(b), New York’s involuntary admissions policy. Most other states, I believe, have similar laws. I could not risk the disruption to my life, and the total loss of control, a 72 hour stay would entail. And since I was not willing to divulge that detail, which would have made my crisis clear, the psychiatrist who treated me would not allow me a voluntary admission and I was left to pursue outpatient care. This is the lacuna into which you may find yourself when you have a psychiatric crisis: how to receive appropriately urgent care without losing control of your life. This problem was particularly acute in years past because I was hiding my condition from family and friends and was terrified of them finding out.

This dynamic, I’m sure, would not have impacted the Florida shooting. And I recognize the need for some form of involuntary admissions. But I am convinced that many people avoid seeking care entirely out of fear of involuntary admission, and something has to change.