Bipolar Medication Weight Gain and Body Image Issues
Monday, April 2 2018 Hannah Blum
Weight gain from bipolar disorder medications and body image issues are two problems that go together when you live with bipolar disorder. In my life with bipolar 2 disorder, when I am out of sync with my body, my emotional extremes intensify.
As many people complain about this, I know it's a common problem. That's why I want to discuss my experience with body image issues, weight gain from mood stabilizers and antipsychotic medications for bipolar disorder and its impact on my life with bipolar 2 disorder.
Extreme Weight Gain on Bipolar Medication
Extreme weight gain from bipolar medication intensifies body image issues. When I started experimenting with bipolar medicines, I felt like I had to choose between my body and my mental health. For me to maintain my mental stability, I had to get over my body image issues and accept gaining a lot of weight.
When I started treatment for bipolar, specific medications caused me to gain up to forty pounds. It negatively affected my mental health and caused my emotional extremes to spiral out of control (Bipolar Medication Weight Gain Worsened My Depression). It got to the point that I debated stopping all bipolar medications.
I talked to my doctors and told them I was willing to experiment with different bipolar medications and accepted that a little weight gain might occur. However, I was honest and straightforward, explaining to them that a bipolar medication which caused excessive weight gain would not work. Now, I am on a routine of medications for bipolar disorder that have minimal weight gain as a side effect.
Body Image Issues and Bipolar Disorder
Many people living with bipolar disorder have body image issues. The smallest insecurities are emphasized in your reflection when you live with a mood disorder.
This past year, I realized that I had to confront my body image issues. My therapist told me to bring photos of myself from the past. He asked me to look at the pictures and tell him how I felt about myself at the time of taking the photo.
As I looked at the pictures, many in which I was underweight, I was in shock. I saw a girl who was skinny but remembered thinking I was extremely overweight. It was a borderline delusional way of thinking.
It is not about trying to have this perfect or ideal body according to society. I embrace the curves I have been blessed with, and would not want to be a size 2 if I had the choice. It has more to do with my mind's inability to be content, and also my fear of not being in control of myself and others' perception of me.
My body is the shield that protects my bipolar mind. When my body is out of control, I feel weak and at my most vulnerable. Self-help readings and affirmations have helped me tremendously. I try to eat healthily, add some form of exercise into my daily routine and follow blogs by women who promote positive body image.
How has weight gain from bipolar medications affected you and your body image?