What can I expect?

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living with BPD
New Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 12/17/2008 6:33 PM (GMT -7)   
I don't know if anyone read my intro post to fully understand the situation, but I was just recently given a specific diagnosis of Bipolar I, though I have been told I was bipolar for years. I just went to an actual psychiatrist instead of all of the family doctors and therapist - based programs. I have been on just about every depression med out there as well as numerous anxiety meds over the years. I don't think I need to stress to anyone that none of them worked, and I always took myself off of them because the doctors wouldn't listen to me.

I have just started taking Lamictal, the starter pack, and was wondering if anyone is familiar with it. This is the first "actual" bipolar medication that I have ever taken, and I was wondering if anyone could tell me what I can expect. I know that every person is different, but if anyone is taking it, I would love to know if it works. Also, should I expect to be able to take only that, or should I expect to be given other meds in conjunction with it in the future?

I am really hoping that this site can be helpful for me, and I to others as well. I have never really reached out to anyone or talked about things that I have gone through. Quite frankly, I don't even know if everyone goes through them, but there have been times that I am ashamed of and I am really hoping that this time I will get better with medication. I have really been fed up with the medical community over the years because I never felt any of the doctors actually listened to what I was saying. Anyways, I would appreciate any knowledge you can throw my way on what to expect.

Diagnosed 2008 as Bipolar I
Diagnosed everything else over the last 12 years
Diagnosed IBS 2000
Son diagnosed Bipolar 2008
Diagnosed Bipolar I in 2008
Diagnosed IBS in 2000
Son Diagnosed Bipolar in 2008

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 12/18/2008 9:10 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Living with bipolar,

Welcome to HealingWell and to the bipolar board. I hope it can be helpful for you too. We're a friendly, helpful crowd, generally.

I've been on Lamictal for years and I think it's really helped me. You do have to ease into it slowly and in the beginning keep an eye out for any rash. But barring that, it's a great med. I never had any side effects and it really helped balanced my mood. I'm BPII -- which means I generally keep to the depressive side of things, so I've always taken it with an anti-depressant, and for a long time that was enough to stabilize me. I hope it works that simply for you as well.

Definitely keep the questions coming and feel free to come here and vent. We've got loads of support and like to dish it out.

Thanks for jumping right in.

Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II

Precious Gem
Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 1139
   Posted 12/18/2008 9:37 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello Living with BPD,

I am BP1 as well. It took a long time for me to get help, or even realize I had a problem. It was not so bad in the beginning, but as I got a little older and had some real traumatic experiences come my way, it really got worse. I am mostly manic, though depression has been coming into the picture more and more lately. My PDoc says the worse thing you can prescribe for BP1 is anti-depressants because they swing you too far the other way, and that certainly happened to me in the past. I was on Lamictal for a while and it certainly zapped my depression but it made me very manic. Keep in mind I have just been put on my 10th mood stabilizer. I always had issues with any drug prescribed. Right now I am on Risperdal and Xanax. this combo seems to be working very well. It takes alot of trial and error to find what works for you. I know what you mean about the medical community. Our local mental health department is the biggest joke in the world. General Doctors are great if you have a cold or a sprained ankle but they usually do not want to address mental health issues. PDoc's can be life savers, you have to find the right one that you "click" with, that is very important. We al share the feelings that you have and what you are going through. Everyday is a real challenge to keep going and keep yourself level.

Good luck, do not give up or give into this dis-ease. You will find something that works for you, really, you will.

BP Gemini

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 672
   Posted 12/18/2008 3:37 PM (GMT -7)   
welcome to the board, I have Bipolar 1.. and take zyprexa.  
hugs, Caren  

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 68
   Posted 12/18/2008 4:47 PM (GMT -7)   
welcome, i take lamictal and it works for me. i know they are talking about uping my dose. i just getting depressed way to much, so maybe uping the med will help.
i am also on lamictal, abilify, seriquel, and kilonipin. i am BP1. i have bad weeks and good days it like a rollarcoaster ride. but i pray some day i will have balance and freedom. keep asking questions this message board has been so very helpful for me. fast 1

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 12/24/2008 12:54 AM (GMT -7)   
I forgot to say "Hi" in my last post; HI

Maybe I'll be able to shed some words of wisdom to you--

As of about 2 months ago, I was recently diagnosed with Bipolar II--maybe things have changed due to increased mania... anyhow, I digress. Before I was diagnosed with Bipolar II, I was taking Lexapro for depression and GAD (first psychotropics, introduced during hospitalization). After being hospitalized, my new psychiatrist tried welbutrin with me along with Lexapro; absolute hell, so I stuck with just the Lexapro. This woman was a total idiot who saw me once in 5 months, so, I moved on and became an out patient at a catholic hospital. Within a month or so of getting acquainted the new psych., a very low dosage of Lamictal was thrown into the mix (75 mg) 1.5 years later. At the time, I believe that my psych. told me that she prescribed Lamictal to help me get through my depression. For the longest time I was taking the 20 mgs of Lexapro and 75 mgs of Lamictal. I, like you, thought that there would be no more additions--boy, was I wrong. As I've said, something like 2 months ago I started taking Seroquel (25-75) mgs as needed; suddenly, my Lamictal was upped from 75 mgs to 100 mgs to 200 mgs in 2 weeks, which really screwed me over. Fortunately due to my adverse effects of the tremendous titration, my dosage was lowered back to 100 mgs. Depakote was added a week ago to further stabilize my mania. So as of now, I am taking four meds, one as needed.

As far as what to expect--
due to people's unique body chemistry's, one side effect of a drug that someone may experience might not be the same side effect that another may experience. Personally, I've noticed that the more meds that are introduced, the quicker my adjustment period is. Minor side effects are a different story, i.e. Depakote and bloating. On the other hand, I have found that if you take a med for too long of a time without adjusting the dosage, the less affective it will become--I had that problem with taking the same 20 mgs of Lexapro for over 2 years.

about introducing new meds--
At first your psych. will have you see him/her more frequently to monitor your changes in behavior/mood. If
you find that the drug is effective, than it will be kept as is; no increase in dosage, no new additions. This hasn't been the case for me since I've been diagnosed with Bipolar; there has been increases and decreases and several new additions. Most likely your psych. will keep you on the Lamictal, but add a couple of other of drugs to complete the cocktail, maybe an anti-depressant if you are more on the depressive side, maybe Depakote if you are more on the manic side (as you said he/she has already added Seroquel). It's a very grueling process, but, in the end it is worth the frustration. You can do it, just hang in there and take one step at a time.

Another thing: I have found that without having the psychotherapy to express my many complaints/stressors/etc. about life the medicine alone wouldn't do crap; so, make sure you throw in some therapy.

Post Edited (sher211) : 12/24/2008 1:16:29 AM (GMT-7)

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 33
   Posted 12/25/2008 8:46 AM (GMT -7)   
I am on Lamictal since September. I can say that it took a few weeks to start to feel the effects of the drug. Stick with it. It is a lifesaver!! I am up to 150 mg and I feel like a new person - I am now very stable and do not hit too many highs or lows, and I am a person who can go through rapid cycles on a daily basis. Even when I do have my problems, I am able to recognize them for what they are and logically deal with them. That is the most amazing part of this drug - I can actually think my problems through most of the time instead of having an emotional reaction.
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