I added a chapter to Life After Lithium called, “I gained weight from psych drugs. How do I safely take it off?”
I figure this is a common challenge, well worth exploring. In this chapter I will be warning against crash dieting and encouraging a few lifestyle changes that might help.
I am also adding a chapter on depression and insomnia. People with kidney disease are often also depressed because they become anemic. I think many of the folks I knew in the hospitals were depressed and slowed down due to anemia. This is common in college-age women, sometimes just from menstruating. I was anemic in my late teens. I don’t know the cause because my periods weren’t that heavy. The remedy shouldn’t be antidepressants, but helping to raise hemoglobin, iron levels, etc. No, having periods is not a mental disorder! (Thank you, Paula J Caplan!)
Kidney disease will cause insomnia and that also can contribute to overall exhaustion and depression. I have researched like crazy and have found some forgotten studies showing that antipsychotics will damage your body’s ability to make natural melotonin (as you continue to depend on the drugs). This is why people who stop anti-p drugs will often experience insomnia which can be long-lasting. There is likely glandular damage because your glands “think” they don’t have to produce melotonin anymore.
The recommended dose of melatonin is under 1mg, actually about 1/3 of a mg. I suspect that people who have been damaged by anti-p drugs will need a lot more melatonin supplementation…but I am not really sure about this yet.
I’m going to try a whopping dose of 20mgs melatonin to see if it helps. I’m not sure of the proper timing but experimentation might answer this question.