New member, heres a little background for now

Have you had a manic episode triggered by an antidepressent
Yes, a mild one and I discontinued the med - 57.1%
Yes, a severe one and I discontinued the med - 14.3%
Yes, but it went away with continued treatment - 0.0%
No - 28.6%

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Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 99
   Posted 3/12/2010 5:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Everybody, I just found this sight by searching on google for "Lamotrigine agitation". I found a good topic from a few years back and thought "this is the kind of place I should get involved".
about me:
I am 26, male, fairly healthy lifestyle. I eat well about %75 of the time, and live an active lifestyle when I am fealing good. I have been dealing with my undiagnosed brain problems for as long as I can remember, but had never talked to a doctor about them until recently. Growing up my youngest brother was very very sick (juvenile rhumatoid arthritis) and, though I don't think I was neglected, there were more pressing family problems than my moodiness, hyperness, etc. I think in the end I felt really guilty that my body was seemingly healthy, and yet I felt so bad and strange inside, all the while my little brother was in imense physical pain but had such a great outlook on life. I didn't dare speak up and say "I think I have a problem too".
Long story short, I internalized everything until very recently. The last two years has been crazy, huge ups and devastating downs. My whole life I have had severe insomnia, and about a month ago I couldn't handle it. I was stressed and hyper and particularly happy, but not sleeping. For a week I averaged about 2 hours sleep. Then one night I just didn't sleep (this happens from time to time, and usually ends with something bad happening, i.e. a wrecked car,  a lost job, a hurt relationship, dropped or failed classes, etc). I couldn't handle it and so I got up and drove to the county clinic (I have no insurance).
I mostly wanted to sleep, but I also knew it was time to talk about depression or bi-polar with someone. At the clinic I was told I did not have an emergency and was given an apointment for a month away. This was horrible; I couldn't imagine waiting that long. I was about to start crying so I left quickly and broke down in my car. I sobbed and sobbed, then decided to call the crisis hotline. They talked me through it for about an hour and I went to see my mom (she is medicated for major depression). With the help of a few key friends I made it through the month and saw the doctor four days ago.
I was so happy and suprised by the whole experience. I qualify for %100 reimbursement on seeing the doctor, so as long as I don't need any bloodwork or anything serious done I pay only $20 per visit. This made me think "Oh boy, this doctor is going to be blunt, burnt out, and unwilling to work with me.". Not the case at all. I spent a whole 90 minutes with her, and she obviously cares deeply about what she does and who she does it for.
The initial diagnoses is rapid cycling bi-polar and ADD. I was given three drugs, 50-100mg Trazadone for sleep, .1-.2 mg clonidine to try for sleep as well or in combination, and 25mg (target dose 200mg) lamotrigine for bi-polar to be taken in the morning. 
The first night I took 50 mg Trazadone, an hour and a half later I was not drowsy, and still very jittery. I took one clonidine and got back in bed. It calmed my jitteryness a little, but I was still restless, so I took another one. An hour later (about 2:30am) I was asleep. At 6:30 I awoke with a start (this only happens to me rarely). My leg was shaking really hard, my thoughts were racing, and for no reason I was very very angry. I had really horrible thoughts and violence and hopelessness running through my head. I got up and paced, I hit the wall a few times, I'm sure I woke up the roommates. I was very overwhelemed and didn't know what to do so I took another clonidine (doc said sometimes she prescribes it for anxiety, but it makes most people too drowzy for regular daytime use) and curled up in a feotus position. After half an hour I was a little calmer and managed to sleep another few hours. I called the doc and was told to discontinue trazadone and to cut down on lamotrigine to 12.5 mg if I felt it made me uncomfortable.
The clonidine is working okay for sleep, and I did not think at the time I was having an adverse reaction to the lamotrigine, but all day yesterday and today I felt very strange. It's almost like a little foggy, but very hyper, twitchy, speedtalking, concentration even worse than normal. last night I took two clonidine and still couldn't fall asleep for four hours. I didn't get much sleep and have been very up and down today. My swings are always very frequent (lasting hours or days, not weeks or months), but today so far has been minutes or hours, with severe agitation persisting through both ups and downs. I don't really know what to do, and realize most of you won't make it all the way through this thread, sorry. I don't want to bother the doc again, she has other people to worry about, but I am really not comfortable taking my Lamotrigine anymore. I felt better on average a week ago than I did yesterday or today. On top of it I am all stuffed up with clear mucus, my face and throat feal like they are swelling and stiff around my jaw, I have some body pain that could be due to sleep positions, but I'm not sure, etc.
My big qustion is this: Is it unreasonable for me to want to try treatments for anxiety and insomnia along with counseling and lifestyle changes before going on a mood stabilizer? I am worried that if I refuse treatment on a mood stabilizer, doc will be reluctant to give me anything for sleep.
Okay, I better be done now, sorry for the huge post.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 3/12/2010 6:51 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi tainted,

Welcome to HealingWell! Glad to have you here.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to bipolar treatment. Go with what you are comfortable with and trust your doc to listen. Everyone is so different. A few things to think about though: 1. It can take a week or two for side effects to diminish, but usually they will if you stick with the drug. If they don't, or if they're severe, then call the doc back. And don't hesitate to call. That's what they're there for. 2. There are tons of drugs out there. If these don't work, no big deal, the doc will try others. It sounds like you definitely need something for agitation and anxiety.

Hope this helps. Keep writing and tell us how you're doing.

Co-Moderator, Bipolar and Depression Forums
Bipolar II

"Bipolar disorder can be a great teacher. It's a challenge, but it can set you up to be able to do almost anything else in your life." - CARRIE FISHER

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 89
   Posted 3/13/2010 8:30 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Tainted, I am very impressed with your post and glad you have joined a network of people who can understand your delimia. Ask to try Lithium it is an awesome drug and works very fast. No it is not uncommon to try to counseling before taking mood stabalizers. I feel it helps so much more to medicate first you can actually take in what other people are telling you. Often without medication we do not have an open mind about the issues we are dealing with. Always Always talk with your doctor if a drug is effecting you badly. Doctors are trained in this aspect and need to be clear on bad reactions to medication. You really don't want to flip out in a way you do not understand because your not open about your reactions. There are tons of treatments and once you get it straight you will live a more fulfilling life with great happiness. I wish you lots of luck keep us posted.
Bi-polar, Adhd, Anxiety disorder, PTSD with a child with ADHD BIPOLAR Anxiety

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 672
   Posted 3/13/2010 8:33 AM (GMT -7)   
welcome to the board
hugs, caren

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 99
   Posted 3/13/2010 6:07 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks guys :)

So the last about 36 hours has been pretty crazy, but I am still taking my lamotrigine in hopes the effects wear off. Plus I see a definite possibility that this isn't related to the lamotrigine. It could just be that I am a little more hypomanic than normal, or that getting better sleep is causing my hyperactivity related to ADD to worsen, or could it even be possible that my little freak out on Trazadone was more than just a brief episode I am still on that induced mania?

I was journaling yesterday and had some thoughts about appetite I wanted to bring up to my doctor. I put up a heading of "appetite" and then totally spaced out. 20 seconds later I decided to write "Side Note: I just stared at this paper for 20 seconds...." bla bla bla. Then I remembered what I was going to say and made a new heading "appetite". Blank again. Lame. All of a sudden I had a realization and crossed out the second heading and wrote in big letters, "All of my ADD symptoms have been much worse since last night."

It struck me as really hilarious and I laughed for about a minute. It's true though, all of the symptoms I associate with ADD are coming on real strong. I'm not saying the ADD is actually getting worse with meds, but it was interesting to me.

Basically I feel the same old hypomania I used to feel but it's much more pronounced. I'm saying and thinking some crazy things (nothing too ridiculous, more random), I'm shaking and jittering and moving a TON (I used to shake a leg for a minute and stop, maybe shake the other one and then stop, then be fine for a while. Now it is both legs, a hand, maybe a head bob here and there, but something is moving rapidly all the time from the moment I wake up.), I fluctuate between happy, nervous and angry/agitated. I haven't felt depressed in the same way I used to but a few times I have had very very brief (less than five minutes) moments of a horrible, devastating depression and cry for no reason. My memory is really bad, it always was but it is much worse, and when I write I seem to write faster than I think. Also with writing, I cross my "I"'s and "r"'s and dot my "T's".

I don't really want to drop the lamotrigine, so I'm gonna keep on it til the one week mark and then call the doc if nothing has changed. All in all I am tolerating these things better today, though I wouldn't say they have diminished, I'm just not so worried about them.

Thanks again, you guys are great!

happy bill
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 1132
   Posted 3/13/2010 7:17 PM (GMT -7)   


  Oh yes, leg shaking. Ive had that puppy for years and it has driven my wife and family crazy. When you weigh in at 225 and start shaking a leg others around you can really feel it. LOL LOL LOL

   And laughter is really the best medicine. You will not get better overnight, but having the ability to laugh will help you bunches. Heck i laugh at myself all the time,  it relaly relieves the stress better than any drug ever made.

   If your hypomanias are controled they can be a source of great happiness and joy in your life. Mine are controlled now with the help of medication and having them really does improve my quality of life. 

   Just give it time. You didnt get out of control over night and your path back to health again wont happen overnight. But taking each day as its given and trying to just make a small step every day has worked well for me. And if you have a day when you lose a couple of steps, just remember, this is a marathon not a sprint. At the end of a month, a year, a decade you will have many more good days than bad.


Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 72
   Posted 3/13/2010 7:27 PM (GMT -7)   
Welcome to the board. Tainted.

Sounds like you are on meds that give you too many side effects. Ask the doctor
to rethink them and try again. You will get it better eventually. We all went through
medication changes alot. I am allergic to a whole bunch. So keep trying.

Take care,

Bipolar/borderline personality disorder (don't quite understand that, the BPD)
On Haldol, clonazepam, benzotropine, valproic acid.
High Blood pressure (recent May 2009)
Other health issues too.

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