Home » Severe Side Effects » Severe Side Effects Part 1 – Diabetes Insipidus

Severe Side Effects Part 1 – Diabetes Insipidus

Sever and Rare Side Effects Part 1 – Diabetes Insipidus

Diabetes insipidus has nothing to do with blood sugar. It is sometimes called “water diabetes”. You’re either born with it, or you get it from taking lithium. There is a 1/100,000 chance of getting this disease.


Well, I fucking got it.


I took lithium for eight years, it helped me incredibly. I went for a routine physical and they found protein in my urine. Further testing and an endocrinologist confirmed that it was, infact, diabetes insipidus. They were testing me for type 2 diabetes because of unexplained weight gain. I went from 120lbs to 160. I’m now in the 140’s, at the 51st percentile for someone my height, build and age.


They immediately told me to cold turkey discontinue the lithium. Lithium doesn’t necessarily have withdrawal or discontinuation symptoms, but it still sucks, because that was my main mood stabilizer. It was the only one that worked very well, and it was after my kidneys.


They suspected diabetes of some sort because diabetes means “thirst”. I could hardly go five minutes without sipping on something, and I never drink caffeinated beverages. Usually just water, juice, or light coloured pop. My endocrinologist fucked up on the type of diabetes I had, and got mad at me for not monitoring my blood sugar. Then he actually read my file, and gave me a blood work requisition form and told me to come back in 3 months, don’t take Lithium.


After 2 months, the symptoms were just as bad, so I called to move my appointment up, and in the end, fired the endocrinologist. I went to my GP for a referral to a kidney doctor, rather than a hormone doctor, and he told me “No, I referred you to an endocrinologist” and literally slammed the door in my face. He was in one of his “moods”. So I fired him, too, and got a new doctor who is fantastic.


I was diagnosed at the end of September and I’m taking a diuretic, Apo-Hydro, which means liquids are getting processed by my kidneys, and I’m not peeing out all the nutrients I’m taking in. Sounds kind of weird, that a diuetic has an opposite effect on someone with DI. After only a week, I’m seeing results. I’m not so thirsty, I’m not as dehydrated and I’m not going to the bathroom (literally) 20 times a day.


What causes diabetes insipidus?

Because this is a bipolar blog, I’m only going to cover the nephrogenic class of DI, because that is what lithium can rarely cause.

It is a defect in the kidneys that reabsorbs water back into the bloodstream.(1) It can be cause by genetics or certain medications, lithium being the big one.



The initial symptoms are the same as diabetes mellutis and that is why it is called “diabetes”. They are two completely different disorders, though. DI effects the kidneys, while diabetes mellutis effects the pancreas.

The main symptoms are: Excessive thirst (check!), which can be intense and uncontrollable (check!), craving ice water (check!) and excessive urine volume, as well as urinating way too much.

A urinalysis is used to diagnose this type of DI.


Depending on the severity of the condition, urine output can range from 2.6 quarts (about 2.5 liters) a day if you have mild diabetes insipidus to 16 quarts (about 15 liters) a day if the condition is severe and if you’re taking in a lot of fluids. In comparison, the average urine output for a healthy adult is in the range of 1.6 to 2.6 quarts (about 1.5 to 2.5 liters) a day.”(3)



Stopping lithium has been said to control the diabetes insipidus and it takes a while. The disease will reverse itself and the kidneys will function normally again. Sometimes, after long term use of lithium, it becomes permanent. I just thought that lithium made you thirsty, so I drank a lot of water, and went to the bathrom a lot. Diuretics are the main medications used to treat nephrogenic DI.



If treated, diabetes insipidus does not cause severe problems or shorten your life.(2) If not treated, you can end up dehydrated or have an electrolyte imbalance.


Quick Facts(4)

  • Diabetes insipidus is not related to diabetes mellitus (type 1 and type 2 diabetes).

  • Diabetes insipidus is caused by problems related to the hormone antidiuretic hormone (ADH) or its receptor and causes frequent urination.

  • There are four types of diabetes insipidus; 1) central diabetes insipidus, 2) nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, 3) dipsogenic diabetes insipidus, and 4)gestational diabetes insipidus.

  • The most common symptom of diabetes insipidus is frequent urination.

  • The diagnosis for diabetes insipidus is based on a series of tests (for example,urinalysisand fluid deprivation test).

  • The treatment for diabetes insipidus depends on the type of diabetes insipidus.

  • Diabetes can lead to chronic kidney disease.

  • Diabetes is the most common cause ofkidney failurein the US.

So, in the end, I’m hoping that it will clear up over the next year or so, and I won’t have to take diueretics for the rest of my life!


  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001415/

  2. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000377.htm

  3. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes-insipidus/DS00799/DSECTION=symptoms

  4. http://www.medicinenet.com/diabetes_insipidus/article.htm


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