i have been on lamictal for three weeks now, ramping up the dosage. so far my dx has been cyclothymia or some form of bipolar (my pdoc hasn't placed much importance on the exact diagnosis, just so long as we find the right meds for me). i have been on abilify to control the highs, and just started the lamictal for the lows.
so, ever since starting the lamictal i have felt A LOT more calm and level-headed...and the anxiety i used to have nearly all the time, about pretty much everything, and the paranoia i used to have that people were talking behind my back i am generally not liked...well, that has all seemed to disappear almost instantly. it's really strange because i used to think, "well, i guess i'm just a nervous, paranoid person and that's just the way it is"...and now i am starting to wonder if i have had some kind of other disorder all my life as well. all i know for sure is that i feel fantastic. not a hypomanic, dangerous fantastic, just a real, grounded, happy fantastic...i'm able to keep a clear head and solve problems ALL THE TIME, instead of it just being spotty.
anyway, just wanted to see if anyone knew anything about lamictal being used for anxiety disorders, and also if what i described sounds like any kind of anxiety disorder or anything else. i don't see my pdoc for another couple of weeks so i wanted to feel this out with the board in the meantime.
I don't know about anxiety disorders with Lamictal, but I have been able to drop an SSRI since I am on the Lamictal at a good dosage (225) and am working on getting off Wellbutrin, too.
Lamictal has agitated me a bit, that's getting better with time. It has really worked for depression...like you I was just misdiagnosed until very recently, and I am 61. Until the Lamictal, I went through all the antidepressants, tranqs, you name it, they tried me on it.
I'm glad you're getting results. I've also found that it cleared up my thinking a lot and despite the physical agitation, has calmed my mind a lot, too.
I notice the agitation. Whether I am up or down I notice it. When I am down it moves me to anger faster. When I am up it keeps me going non-stop to keep from shaking. Last night, I had not taken my Ativan on time, and I was shaking so bad I could hardly hold a glass of milk. I had always had a bit of anxiety before the Lamictal, but after starting it I actually started having panic attacks. My pdoc added the Ativan and it does help. He just added Abilify too, hoping to make the ups less of a problem. The energy I get is not so much euphoria in any way as much as a very agitated state. Although, my mom pointed out in our conversation the other day I mentioned that I am the smartest person in the world about 10 times. LOL. I guess maybe a bit grandiose, but not too over the top, right?
Sorry, I am already a bit agitated todat, so I may be rambling with my typing just to keep my fingers moving.
Many people with bipolar disorder have comorbid anxiety disorders, and the anxiety may be highly associated with the (hypo)manic, depressive, and/or mixed states. Thus, when the person is experiencing a euthymic period, their anxiety symptoms may not be present or may be present in lesser degrees. Individuals who have a more severe case of anxiety may find that their anxiety disorder symptoms are present no matter what mood state they are experiencing, and they will need to have the anxiety disorder treated separately from their bipolar disorder.
Lamictal is not meant to treat anxiety disorders in individuals who aren't bipolar. For example, I am not bipolar, but I am on 100 mg Lamictal. I have Asperger's Syndrome, OCD, and panic attacks (not panic disorder, though), and I take the Lamictal for the mood swings/outbursts associated with my Asperger's. The Lamictal has helped immensely with my Asperger's mood swings, but it does absolutely nothing for my AS anxiety, panic attacks, or OCD. (I have yet to find a medication that works for my anxiety, which is quite severe.)
The paranoia you described, cyclomaniac, is not common in anxiety disorders, but it is quite common in bipolar mood states. From what I've read about anxiety that is seen in bipolar mood states (but is not a comorbid anxiety disorder) is that the anxiety seems to be more defined by visceral feelings than cognitive symptoms. Panic attacks are common, as is a "wired" and restless feeling. Anxiety is very, very common in mixed episodes, where individuals describe having a "tired but wired" feeling. If experiencing psychotic mania or psychotic depression, delusions and hallucinations may cause intense anxiety, depending on the type of delusion and hallucination.
However, I have not read about the cognitive thoughts that are typical in OCD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), or other anxiety disorders as being a part of bipolar anxiety. (Cognitive ruminations are often seen in depression, however, both unipolar and bipolar, and these can take on an OCD-ish feel, where you "overthink" something and feel incredibly guilty about it.) If you are having constant worries go throughout your mind, in addition to physical feelings of anxiety, especially if you are having these during a euthymic period, you may want to ask your doctor if you have a comorbid anxiety disorder. Hope this helped, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask!
"Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.'"
thank you everyone who responded. gatsby, your post was particularly interesting. i have been doing some searching about lamictal and anxiety and it looks like some people have had it prescribed for GAD. i looked up information on GAD and i kind of wonder if i have that because i have a few of the required symptoms for a diagnosis...of course, these are also symptoms shared with bp.
i'll ask my dr. at my next appointment and follow up here, in case anyone else is wondering this same thing. i'm not about to look a gift horse in the mouth, though...whether i am diagnosed with something extra or not, or whether or not lamictal is known to treat or not treat any type of anxiety, i'm just glad the anxiety is gone. it is an anxiety i have known all my life and it has suddenly disappeared! i feel as if a big block wall that was holding me back has been broken down!
Just saw your post and thought I'd put my 2 cents in since I actually felt human today. My pdoc just put me on Lamictal yesterday, to try again for the second time, because he says it can be great for BP Depression and agitation/anxiety. He did warn that for the first 1 to 3 weeks it can be very "activating" meaning it will probably cause more agitation and anxiety, which is what it did to me the first time., but I was also trying to go off Zoloft at the same time, so we're not sure which actually caused which...so we just have to try and work through that. I also take Seroquel 450mg, Zoloft and Topomax, and Ambien CR and Sonata at night for sleep. I'm BPII/BP Depression w/suicidal tendencies and severe insomniac.