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josrific's avatar

Do medications change who you are?

Asked by josrific (2575points) December 15th, 2010

I have type 1 Bipolar.

I thought I was practically normal when I was young. Yes I was moody and could see things that no one else could at times but normal, happy, loved people self. I never took medications because we didn’t know if there was anything wrong.

After I had my children my life went spinning out of control and I was hospitalized and diagnosed bipolar. I then was a loner and avoided as many groups and parties as possible. I felt confused, stupid and dazed. I was rarely happy and complained a lot, which distanced me from others even further.

I’m now what you would call stable. My current doctor has me on a very good drug combination and for once things look up. But I can’t help but wonder if all these different medications that I have tried and been on has changed who I am. I’m no longer social, happiness comes in waves (between the manias and depressions) and I’m afraid of decision making because I’m no longer confident or I don’t think I can think straight. All of this wasn’t me before medications.

What do you think? Can medications change who you are? (Sorry for the length.)

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8 Answers

Summum's avatar

They don’t change who you are but can alter how you act and how you preceive yourself.

TrkReznor's avatar

I honestly say they do. Whether you take them for depression, bipolar ir whatever… I think they change you. They get rid of the feelings you currently have and replace them with this happiness as if it is trying to delete all sad thoughts from your mind. You become somebody else entirely. Like have you ever seen Rescue Me? Denis takes those pills and he turns into this happy, loving, and dancing dude after just being the most serious person in the world. I have seen this in person to with a friend of my dad.

marinelife's avatar

All of that wasn’t you before your bipolar took hold. It is not the medications that have changed you, but the manifestation of the disease.

“For most people Bipolar will develop in late adolescence or early adulthood.” Source

wundayatta's avatar

Yes. In my experience, the meds changed who I was. I could no longer think thoughts I thought when I was sick. It was so weird because once it happened nearly overnight. I don’t remember exactly what I was thinking, but it could have been as dramatic as thinking that suicide is a pretty good idea, and then they next day being horrified at the thought.

Or maybe it was thinking that no one would ever want to be my friend, and justifiably so, to being sure that I was a decent person. Weird stuff.

Anyway (and I’m sure I’ve written about this before, probably when I was daloon and I was struggling with the issue), I kept wondering who I was. Who was the real me. Someone suggested that they were all the real me, and I came to agree with that. I am people who seem kind of mutually exclusive, but all those different ways of seeing myself are contained within my sense of identity.

I am different from who I was. And I will be different again in the future. But it’s all me. And some of the changes are due to meds, which change the way I think and the things I can think. Some of the changes are due to my environment, and the things I do and the people I interact with. It’s all fundamental on some level, and continuous on another.

Eventually I learned that that change is due to brain chemistry, and there are many ways to influence your brain chemistry. There are mental techniques and environmental influences and drugs. Really, which method you choose is your choice, but they all do the same thing. Change is constant, no matter how fast it happens. Using meds to change just makes the change in brain chemistry happen more dramatically, and it’s easier to notice you’ve changed. But changing by drugs is no more remarkable than changing through meditation.

Seelix's avatar

I think my meds are allowing me to be who I am, rather than be overwhelmed by anxiety. I’m able to do what I want to and refrain from doing what I don’t want to. I didn’t have the same kind of freedom before, because I was allowing emotions to take over to the point where my intellectual thought was affected.

Eggie's avatar

They dont really change your personallity, but they can change your behaviour and make you seem like you are someone else.

noodle_poodle's avatar

Yeh i think they do.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I’m also bipolar, and I’m thankful that medication changes who I am. The take me from a frightened wholly introverted man to one who can interact in socially acceptable ways. I am alone quite a lot by choice, but I do have good relationships with my family now and participate in many social activities.

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