Sunday, 6 April 2014

Anti-Psychotics and Appetite

I wrote a few posts ago that I was relapsing into an eating disorder. I've realised now that that wasn't quite true. Since I stopped quetiapine it's become clear that the drug was mostly to blame. I may have been engaging in eating disorder "behaviours" but it wasn't really a psychological problem or any kind of "coping mechanism".

I actually took some quetiapine one day last week. It was very noticeable, having been off it for a while, how     my mind started to fill with thoughts of food as it kicked in. I knew I wasn't physically hungry, but I felt a compelling need to be fuller, I was craving carbohydrates and I couldn't stop thinking about it. The next day I ate more than I had been previously too.

So I'd been over-eating while I'd been on quetiapine, and I'd been putting on weight (plus the medication must also alter metabolism somehow since the vast majority of the weight has gone on round my middle - and then of course there's the sedation, which was making me move less and more slowly.) This led to attempts to control my eating, to restrict myself, to fight myself, which led to failure, and then bingeing and purging. I'm just no good at dieting, it always derails me. The only way I can eat is to eat what I want, when I want it, and as much as I want. That is how I am eating again now, and I am losing weight, despite eating cake and chocolate and cheesy garlic bread. I know that eventually my weight will again stablise in the range that is normal for my body.

I suspect that many people who haven't experienced taking an anti-psychotic would suggest it is simply a matter of will-power. But that's rubbish. Now that I am not taking quetiapine any more, but aripiprazole, which is supposed to be weight-neutral, I don't think about food except when I am hungry, and when I feel as though I've had enough, I simply stop.


Tam said...

I am the same with antipsychotics, but what worked for me was, I'd take my night-time dose and go straight to bed. That way, because the med makes me sleepy, I'd be asleep before the "food-thoughts" kicked in. Whereas if I took my dose earlier in the afternoon and was still awake for a few hours, then I'd end up eating a tonne of food all afternoon lol. Have you tried taking your dose late, right before you go sleep? xx

werehorse said...

Hey Tam, trouble was that if I took quetiapine too late, I struggled to get up the next day. I now take aripiprazole in the morning, because it's not sedating, and it doesn't seem to have the same effect on my appetite, which is good. What anti-psychotic are you on?
Take care x

Tam said...

Oh that's awesome that the ariprazole is working better for you! :) I actually managed to ween off the antipsychotics altogether, - like you I got sick of the side effects - and have only been on sertraline for a quite a few months now and going pretty good! I still have a stock of emergency antipsychotics incase I start going manic... but I seem to be much better these days! Fingers crossed for you and I hope things stay stabilized on the new med. :) Best wishes xx